KUALA LUMPUR, 24 June 2009: DAP Member of Parliament (MP) Tony Pua was thrown out of the Dewan Rakyat today after an extended argument on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he decided to suspend Pua for the rest of the day because the MP for PJ Utara would not sit down even after he was instructed to do so.
“When I sit [as speaker], I do not want my word to be challenged. Protests against the speaker’s orders are wrong,” Wan Junaidi told reporters later.
“He should know the Standing Orders. If the speaker asks him to sit down, he must sit down,” Wan Junaidi added, citing Standing Order 43.
Standing Order 43 states that the speaker’s “decision on any point of order shall not be open to appeal and shall not be reviewed by the House.”
Pua However, Pua later told reporters: “I’ve got no clue why I was thrown out.”
He said he was standing up to seek clarification from Pasir Salak MP Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.
“There was no signal from Pasir Salak that he was not going to give me the floor. So I waited for him to finish, so he could give me the floor to ask questions,” Pua said.
At this point, according to Pua, Wan Junaidi began “scolding” Pua for persisting to stand up.
“I told the speaker that if he wanted me to sit, I would sit. But he shouldn’t be scolding me, because I am not in the wrong,” Pua explained.
“When I sat, the speaker made a cryptic remark about misbehaving MPs. So I stood up again to say that this was not fair to me,” Pua added.
It was at that point that Pua was asked to leave the House.
“The whole Barisan Nasional (BN) back bench was making all sorts of noise while (DAP parliamentary leader) Lim Kit Siang was speaking,” Pua said. “This happened without control from the speaker, with no punishment.”
However, Wan Junaidi explained that there was a difference between MPs bickering among themselves, and members of the House disrespecting the speaker.
“When Bintulu (MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing) was shouting, he was angry with Ipoh Timur (MP Lim Kit Siang), not because he was unhappy with the Speaker’s decisions,” Wan Junaidi said.
Tiong was seen heckling Lim when the DAP veteran raised the PKFZ scandal in the House. Lim, when he held the floor, asked for an explanation of all cabinet meetings that resulted in the project’s ballooning costs.
“You don’t play with the people!” Tiong shouted. He was also seen knocking on his microphone when Lim was speaking.
Tiong is the chief executive officer of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB), the main contractor in the PKFZ project. It was also the company that sold the Port Klang Authority (PKA) the land for the project.
Cabinet must explain
Lim’s raising of the PKFZ scandal follows Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat‘s accusation yesterday that the DAP leader was misleading the public.
Lim Ong claimed that Lim “suppressed the truth” and misled Parliament, when Lim interrupted Ong’s ministerial statement on 22 June to accuse Ong of not referring to a cabinet decision on 23 Oct 2002.
Lim had been referring to the cabinet decision to acquire the 1,000 acres earmarked for PKFZ for RM10 per square foot (psf), instead of the final RM25 psf that was paid. But Ong insisted that Lim also knew of a 6 Nov 2002 cabinet decision, which decided to revert to the RM25 psf valuation.
“I asked the Finance Ministry to confirm [the cabinet decisions],” Lim told reporters after his statements in Parliament today.
“I want to know why the cabinet flip-flopped [on this issue]. [The] cabinet has to explain,” Lim said.
Lim also asked about the four letters of support issued by previous transport ministers — one by Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, and three by Tan Sri Chang Kong Choy — that led to the issuing of bonds to finance the PKFZ.
“The Finance Ministry said that the letters were issued without approval or knowledge of the ministry, and they only came to know about them in December 2006, when they were informed by the lead arranger of these bonds,” Lim told reporters.
“How can the ministry be unaware of RM4 billion worth of bonds in the market? Were they sleeping?” Lim added.