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Barisan Nasional MPs are
tearing Abdullah’s National Integrity Plan into shreds if they refuse to
refer Mohd Said Yusuf to Committee of Privileges on two counts over
by Lim Kit Siang
New Straits Times today reported the possibility of Shahrir facing disciplinary action for supporting an Opposition motion when he spoke up in favour of my privilege motion on Thursday to refer the day’s New Straits Times and Berita Harian reports to the Committee of Privileges on the impropriety of an MP in asking the Customs and Excise Department to “close one eye” in a case involving the import of sawn timber in Malacca.
I find this turn of events most extraordinary, as the issue at stake is not so much about Shahrir’s position as BNBBC Chairman but whether the Member of Parliament for Jasin, Mohd Said Yusuf should be referred to the Committee of Privileges to uphold the dignity and integrity of Parliament now that he had publicly admitted that he was the MP referred to in the New Straits Times and Berita Harian reports on Thursday.
I also find it very saddening, for if Shahrir can be disciplined for supporting a privilege motion, which concerns the honour and dignity of Parliament and all MPs and has nothing to do with the government’s policy stands and issues, just because it was moved by an Opposition MP, Parliament is in fact telling the nation and the world that it is only giving lip-service support to the Prime Minister’s call for a “first-class mentality” and “First-World development nation”.
This is because Barisan Nasional MPs are not prepared or not allowed to set the leadership example to transform Parliament into a “First World Parliament”, without which there could be no “First-World Malaysia”.
Furthermore, Parliament’s refusal or failure to refer Mohd Said Yusuf to the Committee of Privileges to protect the dignity, honour and credibility of Parliament is also tantamount to Parliament’s repudiation of the pledge and commitment of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to uphold integrity and combat corruption. In fact, the pertinent question now is whether the National Integrity Plan launched by Abdullah two years had been torn to shreds by Parliament itself as a result of the Mohd Said Yusuf case.
Yesterday, I invited the Deputy Chairman of BNBBC, Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN – Larut) to move a motion in Parliament on Monday to refer the MP for Jasin to the Committee of Privileges. I pledged the support of Opposition MPs for such a privilege motion, that the Opposition MPs will not indulge in any irresponsible “tit-for-tat” of the puerile mentality that BN MPs cannot support Opposition motions, and its corollary that Opposition MPs cannot support BN motions, regardless of their merit and content.
I am still hoping that under the premiership of Abdullah, MPs can rise to the occasion to march boldly and purposefully towards a First World Parliament.
During the month-long debate on the Ninth Malaysia Plan, many Barisan Nasional MPs had lambasted the civil servants particularly over the poor government delivery system, with Shahrir giving the coup de grace on the last day of the debate, with his denunciation of the budaya selesa (culture of complacency) in the civil service with civil servants behaving as if they could get away with making mistakes or even without doing work.
Calling for the entire civil service to be restructured and rejuvenated, Shahrir said: “This is because the carrot has been used more than the stick. There is a feeling that they didn’t want to take action against their own kind.
“We have reached the stage where we can no longer just crack the whip. We need a sword to chop off heads.”
Shahrir is spot-on in his diagnosis of the serious cancer in the civil service, but how do Shahrir and MPs, particularly from the Barisan Nasional, expect to be respected by the civil service when they are incapable of showing a leadership example of accountability and integrity when it comes to MPs themselves?
How can Barisan Nasional MPs demand the “chopping of heads” of delinquent civil servants when they are not prepared to “chop off heads” of delinquent MPs, and in fact, not even prepared to investigate such cases involving MPs by the Committee of Privileges?
If Mohd Said Yusuf is not referred to the Committee of Privileges, then all the Barisan Nasional MPs who had leveled criticisms against the civil service whether during the debate on the Ninth Malaysia Plan or the Royal Address in the current parliamentary meeting would be shown up to be mere hypocrites!
I am giving notice that if the Barisan Nasional, whether BNBBC or the front-bench, is not prepared to take the initiative to refer Mohd Said Yusuf to the Committee of Privileges for thorough investigation and recommendation, I will move a second privilege motion on Monday, this time specifically proposing that the MP for Jasin be referred to the Committee of Privileges.
There is another ground for referring Mohd Said Yusuf to the Committee of Privileges apart from the New Straits Times and Berita Harian reports concerning his alleged impropriety and abuse of privilege asking the Customs and Excise Department to “close one eye” in a case involving the import of sawn timber in Malacca.
This is whether he had also committed second breach of privilege in violating Standing Order 35(6) of the Dewan Rakyat which states: “A member shall not speak on any matter in which he has a direct personal pecuniary interest (other than the matter of remuneration under any provision of the Constitution) without disclosing the extent of that interest. “
The nub of the second privilege charge against Mohd Said Yusuf is whether he had been guilty of conflict-of-interest because of his failure to declare his pecuniary interest as a forwarding agent for 14 years when he launched into a ferocious attack on the Director-General of the Customs and Excise Department, Datuk Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid, alleging various misdemeanours and failures during the 2005 Supplementary Estimates debate on Tuesday.
The Committee of Privileges should investigate whether Mohd Said Yusof had launched the attack against Abdul Rahman in Parliament because of his failure to get Customs and Excise officers to “close an eye” in the case involving the import of sawn timber in Malacca.
Malaysians have found it shocking and outrageous that there had been high-level defence of Mohd Said Yusof in asking Customs and Excise Department to “close an eye” – at a time when the Prime Minister had been calling on all public civil servants to “open wide both eyes” to make a success of the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the National Mission 2006-2010.
It would appear that there are not only “little Napoleons” and “big Napoleons” but also “one-eyed Napoleons”, posing great obstacles to smooth, efficient and effective implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman