Monday, October 11, 2010

Parliament rejects questions on Utusan, Sarawak CM

Two DAP lawmakers had sought to know if allegations against Taib were being probed. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Questions on Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s wealth and the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia were among 28 questions from 17 opposition MPs rejected today.

Two DAP MPs from Sarawak, Wong Ho Leng and Chong Chieng Jen, had earlier asked the government to explain if the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has started investigating allegations on Taib’s property ownership overseas, as published on an anonymous website.

“My question is valid. I want to know if an investigation has started because of the report on the website,” said Chong when protesting the Parliament’s decision to reject the question.

“Why was the question rejected? Are we afraid of the CM?” he added.

Chong was citing reports by the anti-Taib website, Sarawak Report, which had revealed Taib’s alleged ties with companies owning multi-billion dollar properties in Canada, the US and the UK.

The website also alleged that Taib accumulated his wealth by abusing his position as the chief minister, a post he has held since 1981.

Meanwhile, Wong said the question was rejected as it was deemed a trivial matter.

“I wanted the PM to explain if the MACC will investigate the enormous amount of wealth owned by the CM in America, Britain, Australia and Canada. If the answer is no, I want to know why,” said the Sarawak DAP chairman

“I think the question is relevant and important. Are we serious in dealing with corruption?” he added.

Another MP whose question was rejected, Serdang’s Teo Nie Ching, had questioned the home ministry’s inaction against Utusan Malaysia for allegedly fanning racial sentiments.

“I want the home ministry to explain why no action has been taken against Utusan for raising racial issues and publishing false news,” said Teo, who had been accused by the Malay daily of giving religious talk at a Muslim prayer hall in her constituency.

“They have been saying zero tolerance on racial issues, but Utusan continues to raise these issues, and until today, there has been no action by the home minister. I want an explanation,” she added.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo who asked if action would be taken against Malay rights group Perkasa also found his question rejected.

“It is public knowledge that they make racist remarks, insulting other races. Why can’t the Parliament accept the questions?” asked Gobind.

In his response to the MPs, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said he would issue a guideline to assist the federal lawmakers in drafting questions.

“I look at this matter seriously and I see the questions sent by the opposition as coming from the people,” said Pandikar.

“Give me time to study the questions and I will offer tips and reasons for rejecting or accepting a question,” he added.

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