Call for a
total shake-up of the civil service support to the front-bench in
Parliament to end the scandal of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy
Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries making mistakes by giving wrong and
inaccurate information in their speeches and answers in Parliament which
could end up in their being referred to the Committee of Privileges like
Media Statement (2)
- at the funeral of former DAP stalwart, Peter Paul Dason, three-term MP and two-term Penang State Assemblyman
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): There has recently been a shocking drop in standards of civil service support to the front-bench in Parliament, causing the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to make mistakes in their speeches and answers in Parliament which could end up in their being referred to the Committee of Privileges like DAP MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh.
I will just give the following examples:
My first ACA report in June 1997 was how Ling Hee Leong, son of Liong Sik, could at the age of 27 embark on corporate acquisitions exceeding RM1.2 billion in a matter of months and whether there had been improper use and influence of his father’s political and Ministerial position. My second ACA report arose from Soh Chee Wen’s Malaysiakini interview in May 2002 where Soh said that Liong Sik had asked him not to “implicate” Liong Sik in the ACA investigations into my 1997 report - an offence in trying to withhold vital information in a criminal investigation.
The three versions relate to my second report. On Tuesday, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk M. Kayveas in his reply to my question said the ACA had completed its investigations and had referred its papers to the Attorney-General. The next day (Wednesday), Kayveas corrected himself and said that the matter had not been referred to the Attorney-General but was still with the Legal Division of the ACA. However, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Finance Ministry, Datuk Helmi Yahya told Parliament later the same day that both my ACA reports against Liong Sik had been resolved. Either Kayveas or Helmi had told Parliament an untruth.
Karpal has been referred to the Committee of Privileges because he had cited the wrong legislation when raising the issue as to whether Members of Parliament had to raise their right hand during the oath-taking ceremony on May 17, referring to the Statutory Declaration Act 1960 when it should be the Oaths and Affirmation Act 1949 – a mistake which Karpal had subsequently conceded.
If making a statement which is wrong or inaccurate is such a heinous parliamentary offence as to warrant reference to the Committee of Privileges, then the Prime Minister, the two Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mustapha and Nazri, Deputy Minister Kayveas and Parliamentary Secretary (Finance) Helmi should all be referred to the Committee of Privileges as the wrong and inaccurate information which they had given in Parliament are even more serious than in Karpal’s case.
DAP never suggested that the Prime Minister, Nazri, Mustapha, Kayveas and Helmi should be referred to the Committee of Privileges, as this would be a colossal waste of time. Parliamentarians, including Ministers, are not saints and can make mistakes. Similarly, there can be no reason why Karpal should be referred to the Committee of Privileges at all for a mistake which he had acknowledged for citing the wrong legislation.
What is of paramount importance is to raise parliamentary standards to ensure that the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries do not continue to give wrong and inaccurate information in their parliamentary speeches and replies. There should be an immediate and full shake-up of the civil service support system for the government in Parliament to ensure that the highest standards of professionalism is maintained – as the scandal of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries giving wrong and inaccurate information in Parliament, which was quite unheard-of in previous Parliaments, should not continue as it would reflect most adversely on the Abdullah premiership.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman