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Meaning of 91% parliamentary majority – no BN front-bencher or MP could be referred to Committee of Privileges for most blatant offences of parliamentary contempt while Opposition MPs could be referred although they are totally innocent like Karpal Singh
(Parliament, Tuesday) : It is a blackmark for Parliament that the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah has rejected my urgent motion to refer the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi to the Committee of Privileges for committing parliamentary contempt – the former for misleading Parliament in his answer last Tuesday that bumiputra corporate equity on Bursa Saham last year registered 36.6 percentage and the latter for clarifying a government statement in Parliament outside the House.
What we are seeing is the real meaning of 91% parliamentary majority of the Barisan Nasional (BN) - no BN front-bencher or MP could be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the most blatant offences of parliamentary contempt while Opposition MPs could be referred although they are totally innocent like DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh.
Despite all the talk by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of eradicating the Malaysian malaise of “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality”, Parliament is not setting the example of transforming itself into a “First World Parliament” where there is a clear concept of right and wrong, regardless of party affiliation – and the question whether Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MPs should be referred to the Committee of Privileges should be based on the prima facie case as to whether parliamentary contempt had been committed and not whether they are from the Barisan Nasional or Opposition, as has been the case with the Malaysian Parliament for the past 37 years.
My motion to refer Awang Adek and Effendi to the Committee of Privileges to the Committee of Privileges reads as follows:
“That under Standing Order 26(1) (p), the House resolves
(i) to refer the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek to the Committee of Privileges under S.O. 36 (12) which states that “Any member who imputes statements that mislead the House is deemed to be in contempt of the House and that member may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the offence” in connection with his reply during question-time in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, 7th November 2006 (Question No. 2 by MP for Gua Musang, YB Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah) that bumiputeras own 36.6% of equity ownership at Bursa Saham valued at RM78.4 billion as at Dec 31 last year, as compared to 46.9 per cent or RM100.4 billion for non- bumiputeras and 16.45% or RM35.2 billion for foreigners, as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi has said that the Deputy Finance Minister had made an inaccurate and wrong statement which had clearly misled the House and nation;
(ii) to refer the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi to the Committee for Privileges for contempt of the House in purporting to correct the above-mentioned statement by the Deputy Finance Minister outside the Dewan Rakyat by issuing a statement last night that the Deputy Finance Minister’s statement was inaccurate as it should have been 21.8% on the ground of wrong methodology used, firstly, as the figure of 36.6 percent for 2005 had wrongly apportioned 45 percent of equity ownership held by nominee companies to Bumiputeras when it should be 8.3%, and secondly, it assumed that the equity held by government agencies are also owned by Bumiputeras. A clarification of any government statement made in the House should be made inside the House as otherwise it is a blatant case of contempt of Parliament, and in this case, such contempt has been doubly compounded as such clarification was timed for the Umno general assemblies instead of rectifying a misleading statement made in Parliament.”
As I told the House this morning, Malaysians and the international community will now be very wary about trusting government statistics, as in the past month, the government had rejected two recent studies on equity ownership, viz:
Now, the government has rejected the Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Awang Adek’s statement in Parliament that bumiputera equity ownership in 2005 for listed companies was 36.6 per cent.
Did Dr. Awang Adek make a mistake? If Effendi is right, how could Dr. Awang Adek make such simple but fundamental mistakes?
Dr. Awang Adek is no ordinary UMNO MP but belongs to the breed of professionals and technocrats and had been bruited as a potential for the post of Finance Minister.
This is his educational background:
(i)B.A. in Mathematics and Economics – Drew University, United States
(ii)Master of Arts in Economics – Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, United States
(iii)Ph.D in Economics – Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, United States
His career profile before entering politics included the following:
(i)Assistant Governor, Bank Negara (formerly known as Advisor to Bank Negara) 1996 – 2001
(ii)First Director-General, Labuan Offshore Securities Industry Authority (LOFSA). 1996-1998
(iii)Chairman, Exchange Committee of the Labuan International Financial Exchange (LFX) 2002-2004
(iv)Chairman, Tenaga Nasional Bhd 2002-2004
If Dr. Awang Adek, with such a professional background, can make such mistakes as claimed by Effendi, what are the implications?
Dr. Awang Adek should come out with a clear-cut statement whether he had indeed made a mistake and why he could make such a mistake, or whether he had been made a scapegoat for a statement which was clearly politically motivated as it was rushed out late last night in time for the debates in the Umno Youth and Umno Assemblies.
Effendi’s statement yesterday as well as past Economic Planning Unit (EPU) statements have raised many unanswered questions. What Effendi should do is to ensure that the Abdullah administration is truly transparent by making public all the studies which had been commissioned, including the survey conducted in March 2005 on 359 nominee companies to ascertain the status of ownership and beneficiaries of shares registered under nominees.
In the Table released yesterday, the percentage of ownership of share capital of limited companies by nominee companies had fallen sharply from 21.3% (for 325,997 companies) before 2,000 to 4.8% for 283,593 companies or 8% for 609,595 companies in 2004. It is only when all the reports and surveys on these statistics are made public for them to be checked and verified by independent researches that these official statistics can be reconciled and believed.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman