Media Comment by Lim Kit Siang Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 22nd May 2009:
Selangor State Assembly should not suspend Khir Toyo’s allowances even if it endorses the Selangor State Assembly Rights and Privileges Committee recommendations to suspend the former Selangor Mentri Besar for gross breach of privileges
The Selangor State Assembly should not suspend Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo’s state assemblyman allowances even if it endorses the Selangor State Assembly Rights and Privileges Committee recommendations to punish and suspend the former Selangor Mentri Besar from the Assembly for grave breach of privileges.
The Selangor State Assembly Rights and Privileges Committee has recommended that Khir be suspended for a year from the state assembly without state assemblyman’s allowances and privileges for not attending an inquiry conducted by the state’s Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) in March on the disbursement of state agency funds to Balis – the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation.
Khir is also found guilty of three other charges of making disparaging remarks and negative statements about Selcat in the media and on his blog, with the recommended sentence of six months’ suspension each, with all the suspensions to run concurrently.
Four other Barisan Nasional assemblymen Datuk Warno Dogol (Sabak Bernam), Datuk Mohd Idris Abu Bakar (Hulu Bernam), Mohd Isa Abu Kassim (Batang Kali) and Datuk Marsum Paing (Dengkil) have also been found guilty of attacking Selcat in the media, all to be suspended six months each without allowances and privileges.
These findings and recommendations of the Rights and Privileges Committee will be presented to the July meeting of the Selangor State Assembly for endorsement before they could take effect.
The Selangor State Assembly should not suspend Khir Toyo’s allowances – or the allowances of the other four Barisan Nasional Assemblymen - even if it endorses the recommendations of the Selangor State Assembly Rights and Privileges Committee to punish the former Selangor Mentri Besar and the other four Barisan Nasional Assemblymen for gross breach of privileges.
The Selangor State Assembly can suspend Assembly members from attending the Assembly for gross breach of privileges but it should not suspend their allowances as State Assembly members are elected by the voters to represent them at the state government level and voters should not be placed in a limbo of not having an elected Assemblyman to represent them as an intermediary with the state government even if he is suspended from State Assembly sittings.
Suspending state assembly members from the State Assembly for gross breach of privilege is appropriate punishment.
It is only recently that the Barisan Nasional embarked on the unhealthy and undemocratic practice not only in suspending members from the legislature but also their allowances.
This is a deplorable practice which Pakatan Rakyat-controlled legislatures should not follow.
There can be no dispute that Khir had been guilty of gross breach of privileges in boycotting the Selcat inquiry into the Balkis financial scandal and he has only himself to blame if he is suspended from the Selangor State Assembly for defying the Assembly’s concerns about good governance, in particular with regard to accountability and transparency in the Balkis financial scandal..
Khir’s contention that it was unfair to make him face an inquiry chaired by his political nemesis does not hold water. Is Khir prepared to face an independent public inquiry specially set up to inquire into the Balkis scandal?
If so, let Khir show his sincerity and honesty by announcing that he and his wife are prepared to attend and fully co-operate with such a separate public inquiry set up to probe into the Balkis scandal.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor