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distinguish between right and wrong – discrimination and abuse of RM2
million annual parliamentary constituency development funds denied to
Opposition MPs and hijacking of the RM6 million for the three DAP
parliamentary constituencies of Ipoh Timur, Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah by
Perak MCA State Chairman Ong Ka Chuan
by Lim Kit Siang
The moral is that the 199 Barisan Nasional MPs, elected in the April 2004 general election in the most unprecedented Barisan Nasional landslide victory as to dominate 92 per cent of Parliament, cannot and/or not allowed to distinguish between right and wrong – which must be the first lesson of any decent education system or programme such as civilisational Islam, Islam Hadhari, which is being propagated by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
It is indisputable that no incident in the 31-month premiership of Abdullah has caused greater disappointment to the Malaysian people who had vested such high hopes in the reform and integrity pledge and programme of the new Prime Minister, particularly in the April 2004 general election – and I call on the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional Government to end their denial syndrome and to fully acknowledge that they had given themselves two “big black eyes” plunging the administration to its worst-ever crisis of confidence and credibility and to be bold to institute an urgent repair operation to convince Malaysians that Barisan Nasional MPs can and are allowed to distinguish between right and wrong.
I wish to refer to two instances. New Straits Times today bannered he following question on its whole front-page with logs as the backdrop:
Its Page 4 story, headlined “Poser over firm’s name and MP”, started with the teaser: “There’s something peculiar in the name of the company on whose behalf Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said bin Yusof interceded with the Customs Department” and ended with the very damning sentence: “A senior Customs officer said yesterday that while it was the duty of an MP to help the rakyat, ‘it was not proper for them to help smugglers’".
The implication and insinuation of the NST report today is very clear – that Mohd Said’s intercession with the Malacca Customs and Excise Department was improper and had gone overboard, well beyond the performance of his legitimate parliamentary duties, raising the grave question whether there had been a serious breach of parliamentary privilege.
As the question whether Mohd Said had committed breach of privilege in his intercession with the Malacca Customs and Excise Department is a question which can only be determined by the Committee of Privileges and Parliament, the 92% BN-dominated Parliament will be grossly remiss in its duties if it refuses to address this grave issue and just want to sweep it under the carpet. This will make a total mockery of the National Integrity Plan launched by the Prime Minister last year.
It has been suggested that in view of the directive that BN MPs must oppose motions moved by the Opposition that one way to get Mohd Said referred to the Committee of Privileges is for me to formally move a motion that the MP for Jasin should not be referred to the Committee of Privileges!
This is however no joking matter, and I call on the government front-bench to be serious about its commitment on integrity which must start in Parliament, by itself moving a motion to refer Mohd Said to the Committee of Privileges before Parliament ends its current meeting tomorrow so that Mohd Said’s name could be cleared and Parliament’s reputation protected.
I come now to the second illustration of how the Barisan Nasional Government and MPs have lost the ability to distinguish between right and wrong – the continued discrimination and abuse of constituency development funds by Barisan Nasional MPs.
Beginning this year, the RM500,000 constituency development funds per parliamentary constituency has been increased to RM2 million – with Opposition MPs continue to be discriminated against in being denied this vote while abuses and even corrupt practices leading to leakages from 10% to 30% in certain allocations in Barisan Nasional constituencies have not been addressed.
In this connection, the voters of the three Kinta Valley constituencies of Ipoh Timur, Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah are entitled to know why the RM6 million constituency development funds for these three parliamentary constituencies have been hijacked by the Perak MCA Chairman, Ong Ka Chuan, for disbursement when they should be allocated to the three DAP MPs concerned for disbursement.
Ka Chuan should make public a full list of all the allocations to date from the RM6 million constituency development funds for the three DAP parliamentary constituencies to be subject to public scrutiny and audit.
Oganizations and individuals in the three DAP parliamentary constituencies should be told the criteria under which they can apply for allocations from the RM6 million constituency development funds – which should be used for the benefit of the electorate of the three constituencies and not hijacked to promote the MCA cause in Ipoh Timur, Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah and the political stocks of Ka Chuan.
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