(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): It is most regrettable that despite repeated reminders, Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud dare not turn up in Parliament to give a full and satisfactory explanation of his mysterious trip overseas during the haze emergency in Sarawak and rebut all allegations that he had abandoned the people of Sarawak when they were faced with their worst crisis during the haze emergency last month.
It is even more regrettable that he had delegated his defence in Parliament to the Sarawak Barisan Nasional MP for Batang Lupar, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who had not only failed to clear the name and reputation of the Sarawak Chief Minister but have only raised even more questions and doubts.
For instance, according to the New Straits Times today, Wan Junaidi in his speech in Parliament yesterday denied that the Chief Minister had gone overseas during the haze emergency with his family. The NST reported:
"Wan Junaidi described the accusation that the Chief Minister was accompanied by his family as Ďa pack of liesí, adding that he met Taibís wife and son here when the Chief Minister was seeking help from haze experts in the United States."
What Wan Junaidi did not realise is that I had never made a statement, but only raised the question, as to whether Taib had left Sarawak with his family when the people of Sarawak were going through their worst environmental disaster in history.
The confirmation that Taib had left Sarawak with his family during the haze emergency had clearly been confirmed by the Chief Minister himself, as this was reported in Mondayís New Straits Times in an exclusive report where Taib specifically "hit out at DAP secretary-general Lim Kit Siang for accusing him of running away from Sarawak during the emergency."
Mondayís NST report said:
"Taib said Lim should not be hasty in hurling accusations.
"íLim was ignorant on what was being done in Sarawak because he did not trust his own men in the State.í Taib had left the State with his family.
"He said while he was overseas the job of tackling the haze problem was left in the hands of his capable deputy Datuk Dr. George Chan."
In view of this New Straits Times report on Monday that "Taib had left the State with his family", the question arises as to whether Wan Junaidi actually met Taibís wife and son when the Sarawak Chief Minister was overseas during the haze emergency.
Or is the Sarawak Chief Minister now claiming, through Wan Junaidi, that the New Straits Times had made a false news when it reported in its exclusive interview with Taib Mahmud on Monday that "Taib had left the State with his family".
If so, then the New Straits Times had committed an offence of Ďmalicious publishing false news" under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, an offence for which DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng and Tenaganita director, Irene Fernandez had been charged.
Is the Sarawak Chief Minister going to lodge a police report against New Straits Times for publishing false news when it reported that he and his family had left Sarawak during the haze emergency?
In the Information Technology era, where the Malaysian and Sarawak governments are urging the people to make the leapfrog into information society, government leaders should set the example of transparency and accountability.
Why should the Sarawak Chief Ministerís trip overseas during the haze emergency in the state be shrouded with layer after layer of secrecy and mystery, not only as to why he mysteriously disappeared from Sarawak, but who left with him. The time has come for Taib Mahmud to explain which family members went with him on his mysterious trip overseas when Sarawakians were faced with their worst crisis during the haze emergency last month, as well as the full details of the expenses and itinerary overseas as Wan Junaidiís clumsy defence of the Sarawak Chief Ministerís absence had only whetted public appetites about the truth of Taib Mahmudís disappearance from Sarawak.
In his speech in Parliament yesterday, Wan Junaidi made wild allegations and accusations, for instance that I was responsible for "surat layang" in Sarawak and was responsible for creating panic among Sarawakians.
These are very contemptible falsehoods which do not deserve attention.
It is now a season of "surat layang" in Sarawak but the DAP has absolutely nothing to do with them.
DAP is a responsible political party and will never be involved in the practice of "surat layang". DAP leaders are prepared to be fully responsible for the statements and speeches they make and have never hid behind "surat layang".