Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Khir Toyo, BN reps suspended from Assembly - Star


SHAH ALAM: The Selangor State Assembly has suspended former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and four other Barisan Nasional assemblymen for one year and six months each respectively.

All their privileges as assemblymen have also been revoked for the suspension period.

The state assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee had recommended Dr Mohd Khir’s suspension without privileges for not attending the Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) inquiry and for allegedly making disparaging remarks against the committee in the media.

The other four Barisan assemblymen -- Datuk Warno Dogol (Sabak Bernam), Datuk Mohd Idris Abu Bakar (Hulu Bernam), Mohd Isa Abu Kassim (Batang Kali) and Datuk Marsum Paing (Dengkil) -- were also suspended for attacking Selcat in the media.

All hell broke loose at the Assembly earlier Wednesday when Dr Mohd Khir came out with guns blazing to shoot down the motion to suspend him and the other four from the House.

After a tirade against the motion during the debate, he and 18 other Barisan assemblymen then walked out and collectively announced to the media that they would be boycotting the current state assembly session.

When debating the motion to suspend him and his colleagues, Dr Mohd Khir lambasted the state government for “going against natural justice” by recommending the suspension.

He said Selcat had acted unfairly by not providing necessary documents to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for investigations to be carried out after the inquiry.

He also accused the state government of orchestrating the Selcat inquiry to “hide its inefficacy in governing the state.”

He called the Pakatan Rakyat coalition “brittle” and said it was a “sinking ship.”

“During my tenure as mentri besar, the state was never in such bad condition nor had it lost so much investment,” he claimed.

He said Selcat was “incomprehensible,” adding that was some confusion over whether the inquiry was to investigate the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) or evaluate state-owned companies.

He said he did not attend the hearing because he was not a member of Balkis and that he and his BN colleagues were slapped with suspensions because they addressed the state government’s weaknesses.

Complainant, prosecutor and judge
Dr Mohd Khir also took potshots at DAP assemblymen Ronnie Liu and Ng Suee Lim.

He said that his suspension was unfair because Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim had played the role of “complainant, prosecutor and judge.”

He said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had not participated in the suspension of Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo earlier this year, and Teng should have done the same and stayed above the fray.

Dr Mohd Khir also cited several provisions in the Standing Order, claiming that not adhering to the order of a legislative assembly committee was not tantamount to contempt of the House.

At a press conference later, Teng lambasted accused Dr Mohd Khir of misleading the public.

Accompanied by Deputy Speaker Haniza Talha, Teng said none of the Standing Order provisions cited by Dr Mohd Khir were correct or relevant.

He read out clauses from the Standing Order which stated that an act of contempt towards the legislative assembly’s committees was equivalent to contempt of the House.

Teng also said Standing Order provisions allowed him to be complainant, prosecutor and judge when the need arose.

He said this was reflected by his decision to throw Dr Mohd Khir out of the House on Monday for calling Teng biased.

“He is talking about ordinary court proceedings but this is the legislative assembly,” said Teng.

“In Gobind’s case, the MP was ordered out of the House for calling then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak names.

“The following day, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz tabled a motion to suspend him and he was suspended without being referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee.

“The Speaker did not participate because Speakers do not participate in debates and the motion was tabled by the Government,” said Teng.

He said it was a different scenario in Selangor because Dr Mohd Khir was given a chance to defend himself.

He said the former mentri besar had appeared before the legislative assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee with seven lawyers, but had refused to say anything to defend himself.

Transcripts of the proceedings were made available to the press.

On Dr Mohd Khir’s allegation that Selcat had refused to give the relevant documents to the MACC, Teng said the findings cannot be revealed before they are tabled in the House.

“They have since been tabled and the MACC can get copies of the findings now,” said Teng, adding that the MACC had been invited to attend Selcat’s public hearing but it had not sent a representative.