Parliament session heats up into second week with Penang land sale and sub judice dominate discussions

The Dewan Rakyat session this week was more interesting compared to the previous one. — file pic
The Dewan Rakyat session this week was more interesting compared to the previous one. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — The Dewan Rakyat session this week was more interesting compared to the previous one with several issues raised in and outside the House.

Among the issues of interest was the disclosure by a Barisan Nasional (BN) Member of Parliament concerning the allegation that several lots of land in Penang, which were originally allocated for the construction of the Hardcore Poor Housing Project (PPRT), had been sold.

Datuk Shabudin Yahaya (BN-Tasek Gelugor) claimed that the land had been sold by tender for the construction of a private hospital and hotel, and there are sources saying that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had been involved directly or indirectly in the sale of the land.

As such, he urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the allegation.

Meanwhile, Shabudin also wanted the Department of Valuation and Property Development to explain whether a reevaluation had been made and urged the MACC to disclose the status of the purchase on the real estate by Lim at Jalan Pinhorn, Penang at a lower value compared to the market price.

Meanwhile, the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said that the government will no longer reply to questions on the RM2.6 billion fund in the Dewan Rakyat because it is subject to an ongoing process in court, had drawn various reactions.

She said the matter was subject to Standing Order 23 (1) (g) whereby it becomes subjudicial if it were discussed in any forum. Azalina’s statement was disputed by several parties who claimed that it was beyond her capacity to make such a decision and, on the other hand, it was the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia who should make the statement.

However, Azalina explained that the statement was made in her capacity as the minister replying to issues concerning the Prime Minister’s Office.

In addition, the issue concerning Lembaga Tabung Haji (Tithe Fund Board) also drew attention when the House informed that Tabung Haji depositors who had withdrawn their haj registration deposit together with their savings, would lose their turn to perform the haj for 70 years.

At the same time, the Dewan Rakyat also disclosed that the government did not intend to dissolve the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) for the time being as the company is a long-term project to exploit investment opportunities and international expertise to invest in projects that were innovative and had high multiplying effects.

Another topic that had drawn attention was the security issue where Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein informed that Malaysia had never been involved in any military pact led by Saudi Arabia to fight the extremist groups in Yemen and Syria. — Bernama

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