Johari Abdul appointed as Government Backbenchers Club Chairman. Bung Moktar fires F-word in Parliament

(07-08-2018)

Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council has appointed Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul as the chairman of Government Backbenchers Club, said its secretary chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. “The presidential council which convened on August 2, has unanimously agreed to elect Johari as the Chairman of the Government Backbenchers Club,” he said in a statement today. Johari was previously the Deputy Chief Whip of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) from 2008 to 2013 and became the Chief Whip from 2013 to 2018. Johari also held the position of Senior Government Official and was the Gurun Assemblyman.

On a separate matter, Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabantangan), who is known for his controversial remarks, launched a profanity-laden salvo at government backbenchers at the Dewan Rakyat this afternoon. The Sabah politician had interjected when Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) was debating the Goods and Services Tax (Repeal) Bill 2018. Bung then related his experience at the Selayang market where he claimed some prices were cheaper before GST was zero-rated. However, the situation took a drastic turn when Willie Mongin (Harapan-Puncak Borneo) asked Bung if he had visited a casino in an apparent reference of a viral photograph on social media. This infuriated Bung, who accused Mongin of being insolent, and demanded that he retract the question. “This is kurang ajar (rude)… What do you want, do you want to fight with me? Now is the time,” he thundered.

Coming to Mongin’s defence, Thomas Su (Harapan-Kampar) pointed out that the Puncak Borneo lawmaker had merely posed a question. This failed to placate Bung, who now trained his guns on Su and shouted, “F*** you!” The lewd remark went unnoticed at first due to the vociferous exchange between the government backbenchers and opposition MPs. However, Bung shouted “F*** you” once again which plunged the House into further pandemonium. Several government backbenchers then demanded that the Kinabatangan MP retract the statement. Deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon tried in vain to bring the House under control and amid the chaos, Bung could be heard shouting “kepala bapak” (your father’s head) several times. Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran), the former deputy speaker, then attempted to intervene and cited Standing Order 36(9). “In any debate, the personal conduct and character of a person cannot be touched on.”

“He (Mongin) had touched on an MP’s personal conduct which is not allowed under Standing Order 36(9) and that was what caused this argument,” he pointed out. However, the MPs paid little attention to Kiandee and the shouting match continued. When Su repeated that Mongin had merely posed a question and urged Bung to calm down, the latter accused the Kampar MP of engaging the services of prostitutes. “You went to find prostitutes. I saw you bringing prostitutes,” he said. The pandemonium resulted in the sitting extending for about 10 minutes beyond the 1pm break. Seemingly unable to control the MPs, Rashid chose to adjourn the House for the delayed lunch break amid several backbenchers demanding that a ruling is made. In a Twitter posting later, Khairy remarked: “Started my speech on SST-GST. Interrupted by err… colourful language. Sambung (continue) 1430hrs.”

When the house reconvened at 2.30pm, several government backbenchers demanded that action be taken against Bung. “The parliamentary record is for all time. If we allow such words by Kinabatangan to remain, it will be recorded in our Hansard forever,” said Fahmi Fadzil (Harapan-Lembah Pantai). Rashid then asked Bung to retract the F-word, to which he concurred. However, after retracting, Bung then repeated his prostitute claim, this time against Mongin. “I retract because it was indeed rude. But Puncak Borneo’s statement… I saw him drinking with a prostitute but I didn’t…,” Bung said as the House once again plunged into chaos before he could finish his sentence. Fahmi then demanded that Bung also retract the prostitute claim, which the latter agreed to do. “How many times do I need to retract? The rope is not long enough. If I keep retracting all the way to Kinabatangan, someone would be strangled,” he said with a laugh.

Bung had also wanted Mongin to retract his “casino” statement but the latter was not in the House. Government MPs had called for tougher action, wanting Bung to be ejected from the House, but Rashid said the retraction was sufficient and that he would only eject Bung if he repeated such an offence.

Deputy Speaker Nga dissappointed with Zahid rejection to lead PAC

(07-08-2018)

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming today expressed his disappointment over the decision of opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to turn down the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman’s position. Nga said the post was “very prestigious”, adding that the PAC chairman played a vital role in ensuring a proper check and balance system for the government.

“The PAC chairman is the only position that allows its holder to call anyone to give a statement in front of the committee,” the Aulong assemblyman told a press conference on the sidelines of the Perak state legislative assembly sitting today. “This includes the Inspector-General of Police, Cabinet ministers, and even the Prime Minister. I don’t know why he declined the post. I feel disappointed; why (did) the opposition leader refused to hold this position? It plays important roles in check and balance. Let the people judge to evaluate, what is he afraid of? ” said Nga, who is also Perak DAP chairman, in a press conference after attending the 14th state legislative assembly at Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan here today. According to an August 4 report on local portal, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong confirmed that former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee will chair Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after Ahmad Zahid turned down the offer.

On a separate matter, Nga said Perak assembly Speaker Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham had been ‘too kind’ towards the opposition during today’s question-and-answer session. Nga was referring to a heated back-and-forth between former mentri besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir (BN-Pangkor) and Ngeh, over a question regarding the mentri besar’s official residence. Nga said Zambry had raised his voice and pointed his index finger rudely towards Ngeh. “It was clear that the opposition had no intention to ask proper questions. Instead they wanted to create a disruption. It took about 40 minutes, just to answer one question during the Q&A session. This also shows that they are not fulfilling their promise to be a constructive opposition,” he said. “I suggest that Datuk Ngeh be stricter from tomorrow. I feel he was too kind, and the opposition exploited his generosity. I would like to remind all assemblymen that the august house is highly regarded by the public.”

“They can choose you today and reject you tomorrow,” reminded the Deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker. Meanwhile, Nga also responded to MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong’s challenge for the Teluk Intan MP to fulfil his pledge of getting freehold land titles for Chinese new villages in the state. Nga advised Wee to ‘buy a mirror’, as BN had failed to achieve the same thing in 61 years of ruling the country. “We will try our best to deliver our promises within this term. This is something they couldn’t do and now they are asking us to do in a few months.”

Deputy Speaker Nga scored “A” in BM exams and was praised for his fluency in language

(07-08-2018)

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Nga Kor Ming has clarified that his fluency in conversing in Bahasa Malaysia is no overnight achievement, but instead a practice instilled from schooling days. Nga, who is also DAP deputy secretary-general, in an interview with Utusan Malaysia revealed that he had scored As in his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Bahasa Melayu examinations.

The Teluk Intan MP also excelled in the subject of Islamic History, where he scored an A for the subject for his STPM examinations. “I scored an A for Bahasa Melayu in my SPM, and was thankful when I scored an A for Malay Literature and another A for Islamic history, making me the first student in ACS Sitiawan’s history to obtain an A for that subject in 100 years,” he was quoted saying. The Perak DAP chief’s alma mater is the Methodist Secondary School (ACS) before furthering his studies in law at University Malaya. Nga has recently commanded attention when on duty in the Dewan Rakyat, mostly for his professional approach in handling the debates, and for his unmistakable fluency in Bahasa Malaysia. His ability in handling the debate sessions well had even gained attention from the Opposition block, with Umno president and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also praising him for his conduct.

Nga had also talked about his good relationship with the Malay community where he lives, including that his house is situated next to a Mosque where he hears the Azan call to prayers daily. “During the fasting month, I also made it a point to visit and sponsor the break fast sessions, and contribute to the mosques and suraus, as I believe DAP is a party that is for all the children of Malaysian,” he said in the interview. Nga had previously failed to be appointed to any ministerial post, believed to be for his racially-charged comments in the past. It it just last month when DAP’s Nga Kor Ming’s impartiality in handling the proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat on his first day as a deputy speaker earned praises from opposition leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Zahid praised Nga after the latter reprimanded a Pakatan Harapan MP. Nga took RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) to task for disobeying the standing orders after Rayer interrupted Zahid, who was debating the King’s speech, without seeking permission. “Jelutong, if you want to interject you need to ask for permission. I will be fair to both sides, but now it is the turn of the opposition to speak,” he told Rayer after the DAP politician interrupted Zahid on several occasions. Rayer’s dissatisfaction with Zahid’s speech stemmed from the latter’s use of the word “munafik” (hypocrite) which Rayer felt was not only rude but was directed at Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Rayer demanded Zahid retract the word which he had used when criticising the PH government over its alleged failure to honour its manifesto pledges.

Zahid had said that “munafik” were those who did not keep their promises or lied. But when MPs from both sides of the divided got into a war of words, Nga instructed Zahid to explain his comments. Zahid then explained that the term was directed at those who lied and not to anyone in particular. But Rayer got up again to protest, insisting it was aimed at Mahathir. Nga, however, sided with Zahid, saying it was used in general. This earned him praise from Zahid, who said Nga was fair. “I’m not saying this because we are neighbours, but because this is an example of a fair deputy speaker,” he said, referring to Nga’s constituency. Nga is the MP for Teluk Intan, while Zahid is an elected representative for Bagan Datuk, both of which are in Perak.

TPM : Perbelanjaan RM50juta untuk perolehan aset hadapi banjir

(06-08-2018)

Sejumlah RM50 juta telah dibelanjakan untuk perolehan aset bagi menghadapi musim tengkujuh tahun ini, kata Timbalan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Beliau berkata ia merangkumi pembelian antaranya bot amfibia, bot penyelamat pelbagai saiz, pacuan empat roda, lori lima dan tujuh tan serta ‘cubicle tent’. Katanya kerajaan juga melaksanakan program pembinaan keupayaan melalui latih amal dan bengkel melibatkan pegawai daerah serta ketua polis daerah bagi mengendalikan pusat kawalan operasi bencana dan pusat kawalan tempat kejadian.

“Sesi latih amal turut diadakan kepada masyarakat dan setakat ini melibatkan 6,000 penyertaan di 12 lokasi selain libat urus bersama badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan swasta bagi memastikan urusan bantuan di lokasi bencana lebih terselaras,” kata Timbalan Perdana Menteri di Dewan Rakyat, hari ini. Beliau menjawab soalan Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) mengenai langkah diambil untuk menghadapi kemungkinan bencana banjir musim tengkujuh pada hujung tahun ini. Menjawab soalan tambahan Tan mengenai langkah jangka pendek dan panjang kerajaan dalam mengurangkan kesan buruk bencana banjir, Dr Wan Azizah berkata penting bagi negara mempunyai sistem ramalan yang lebih baik serta tepat bagi mengurangkan risiko bencana. Dr Wan Azizah juga berkata kerajaan, bagaimanapun sedang dalam proses melakukan pemodenan Pusat Arahan Bencana Kebangsaan melalui pembangunan sistem ‘Disaster Recovery Centre’ yang dijangka siap sebelum September 2019.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri juga berkata ia adalah antara penambahbaikan dilakukan Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA) dalam menghadapi bencana di negara ini khususnya banjir. Katanya ‘Science & Technology Expert Panel (STEP)’ juga dilantik sebagai badan penasihat kepada NADMA bagi memperkasa dan mengarusperdanakan pengurusan risiko bencana Negara. Selain itu, pelaksanaan program pembinaan kapasiti melalui program MySMART Hero dengan meningkatkan tahap kesediaan menghadapi bencana dalam kalangan guru dan murid tadika. Sementara itu, timbalan perdana menteri berkata kerajaan juga akan berusaha melakukan penyelarasan bantuan yang lebih baik dengan NGO bagi memastikan penyaluran bantuan dapat sampai kepada mangsa yang memerlukan. “Kadang-kadang NGO ini berniat baik tetapi dilonggokkan (bantuan) dan tidak ada yang menyalurkan kepada mangsa. Kadangkala pula menjadi bahan politik, dilonggokkan semuanya dan disampaikan oleh ahli politik yang turun dan mengambil gambar (bagi publisiti),” kata beliau.

Manakala mengenai isu penjimatan, Jabatan Perdana Menteri (JPM) memaklumkan akan hanya memerlukan RM4.9 bilion daripada RM12.3 bilion perbelanjaan pembangunan yang diperuntukkan tahun ini susulan penstrukturan semula agensi-agensi jabatan berkenaan. Manakala, perbelanjaan operasi akan dikurangkan dua peratus atau RM100 juta daripada RM5.2 bilion yang diperuntukkan. Penjimatan itu adalah selepas pemansuhan Majlis Profesor Kebangsaan dan penamatan khidmat beberapa penasihat dan diplomat kerajaan. “Bagaimanapun, penjimatan atau pengurangan dalam peruntukan kerajaan tahun ini hanya boleh dimuktamadkan selepas penstrukturan JPM diselesaikan,” kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Liew Vui Keong. Liew berkata demikian dalam jawapan bertulis kepada Anggota Parlimen Johor Bahru Akmal Nasir yang bertanya jumlah penjimatan Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Pentadbiran Datuk Seri Najib Razak sebelum ini disifatkan sebagai terlalu bertumpu pada JPM. Najib memperuntukkan RM18 bilion bagi jabatan itu pada 2018, atau 6.1 peratus daripada keseluruhan belanjawan. Sebaliknya, peruntukan bagi Kementerian Kesihatan adalah RM27 bilion untuk tahun ini.

Perbelanjaan JPM pertama kali melebihi RM10 bilion pada 2010 selepas Najib mengambil alih. Ia mencecah RM20 bilion pada 2016. Purata peruntukan bagi JPM dari tahun 2010 hingga 2018 adalah RM16.5 bilion.

‘Equanimity’ to arrive Port Klang and attempt to sell to highest bidder

(06-08-2018)

Luxury yacht ‘Equanimity’, linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, is on its way from Indonesia to Port Klang. The vessel, which is being escorted by Malaysian police, is expected to dock in Port Klang at 3pm on Tuesday. It is learnt that several senior officers from the Marine Police are also on the vessel after it was handed over by Indonesian authorities in water off the Singapore Straits.

Sources said the vessel, which has been linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue, is also being escorted by three Marine Police patrol boats all the way to Port Klang. The Indonesian government handed over the yacht to the Malaysian authorities following a request by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, made during his visit to the republic in June. Dr Mahathir, in a statement via his Facebook account on Monday, had thanked his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo and the Indonesian authorities for handing over the vessel. “I wish to thank Indonesia for their close cooperation with Malaysia and for resolving one of our problems. We believe that this vessel is owned by Malaysia as it was bought by certain quarters using stolen Malaysian funds. If anyone wishes to claim that the yacht is theirs, they are free to provide evidence stating thus. We (the government) would like to know how they received that much money to buy such an expensive vessel,” he said via a video posting.

He said if the owner can prove that the vessel was purchased using their own money, the government would then return the yacht to the rightful owner. He said based on reports and preliminary investigations by the United States’ Department of Justice (DoJ), the yacht was bought using funds stolen from 1MDB. “I am truly grateful to the Indonesian government and President Jokowi for solving a problem faced by Malaysia,” he said. The vessel was seized by Indonesian authorities in February following a request by the US DoJ to facilitate a probe into the scandal surrounding 1MDB. However, in April, the Indonesian courts ruled that the seizure was unlawful, and that the vessel should be returned to its owner, Low. The yacht was once again seized in July following another official request from the US government.

The government intends to ultimately sell the superyacht Equanimity after all necessary paperwork has been done along with a possible public viewing of the luxury vessel, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. “Attorney-general (Tommy Thomas) will make sure all the papers are in order, all controls are imposed and if possible to make sure that there is a proper inventory of the assets inside. And if possible, I hope that the public can also view it. But probably not the entire ship, just a portion (of it),” he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby today. Following that, Lim said the government would attempt to sell the RM1 billion luxury vessel to the highest bidder. “As the Finance Ministry, we want to get the best value. So after it has been viewed, the yacht must be sold so the people of the country can get something. I don’t know how much (money) we can crawl back but we should try to get as much as possible,” he added.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu also welcomed the entry of the yacht into Malaysian waters and hoped to personally view it. “I am very proud that a 1MDB asset has come back to Malaysia and we hope that the police and authorities will take action (based on) Malaysian and international law. I also want to go and experience the ship because we have never seen such a luxurious ship,” he told members of the press at the Parliament lobby.