KUCHING, 11 Nov 2009: Sarawak DAP Secretary Chong Chieng Jen (Kota Sentosa) was today suspended from attending the current state assembly sitting for his remarks published in two Chinese-language dailies yesterday.
Speaker Datuk Seri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar made the ruling under Section 14 and 24(1) of the State Legislative Assembly (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance 2007, after 36 assemblypersons supported the suspension. Two from the DAP voted against it.
Earlier, when tabling the notice of motion, state Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said Chong was charged with contempt under Section 24 (2)(n)(iii) of the State Legislative Assembly (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance 2007 when he committed the offence on Monday.
Wong said Chong had made the remarks outside the assembly proceeding that “80% of the development fund is controlled by one person, the minister of finance”, as published in See Hua Daily News. He also remarked on the Sarawak budgetary allocation of “80% at the disposal of one person, the minister of finance” in Sin Chiew Jit Poh.
Wong said Chong’s comments tarnished the image and affect public confidence in the assembly and the state finance minister.
He said Chong made the remarks to the media on the same day Chief Minister and state Finance Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud tabled the Supply (2010) Bill 2009.
Refuting Chong’s accusation, Wong said based on normal procedure, the allocations would be divided among the different ministries and departments, with the respective financial controlling officers handling matters as required under the Financial Procedure Act 1957.
“From the Hansard of the proceeding on 9 Nov 2009, the chief minister and finance minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Balingian, did not move a bill or motion on development expenditure whereby 80% of the allocation would be controlled by one person, that is, himself as the finance minister,” Wong said.
He said Chong’s offence was serious as it would bring into ridicule the assembly, its role under the state constitution to approve financial allocations for the government’s expenditure, and the finance minister himself.
Wong further said Chong’s remarks would also erode public confidence in the management of the financial affairs of the state.
Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Datuk Seri William Mawan, who is also Pakan assemblyperson, seconded the motion. — Bernama