MPs dispute embargo on White Paper uploaded on Parliament website

Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan speaks during a press conference in Parliament April 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan speaks during a press conference in Parliament April 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has questioned whether the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) White Paper was clearly embargoed when it was uploaded onto the Parliamentary website early Tuesday morning.

He said there was no indication, such as a wording on the document’s front page, stating it was embargoed when Dewan Rakyat MPs first saw it online.

“If you wish to know whether the title or the entire document has been uploaded, you merely have to go to your laptop, right click on the file (online) and select Inspect, which will show you the forensic evidence indicating the document was uploaded on April 9,” Ahmad told a press conference with other BN MPs at the Dewan Rakyat.

He stands by his earlier claim that the entire White Paper document had been uploaded on Tuesday, and not just its title.

“The claim that only the title was uploaded on April 9 is a lie, and meant to mislead the Dewan,” Ahmad said, referring to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Parliament April 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Parliament April 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Similarly, Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the motion to bring proceedings against Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak to Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee for exposing the White Paper a day before it was to be tabled smacked of “a certain agenda”.

“The government’s intention in punishing Pekan has been clear from the beginning. Already as it was the motion yesterday proposed he be suspended for up to three months.

“This morning it was proposed the issue be referred to the Select Committee, whose outcome we can already guess,” he said.

Datuk Liew Vui Keong meets Opposition members after a press conference in Parliament April 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Liew Vui Keong meets Opposition members after a press conference in Parliament April 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Ismail added that the motion was later softened, ostensibly because the government wanted to avoid being perceived as oppressive, but meant little all the same.

“The main issue is the embargo, but it is clearly proven that upon being uploaded onto the Parliament website where anyone can access it, the embargo was therefore cancelled.

“We feel that based on this, Pekan’s actions following the document’s uploading online should not be punished nor brought before the Rights and Privileges Committee,” he said.

The former prime minister has come under fire for sharing portions of the White Paper with his followers on his Facebook page.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali filed the motion yesterday in the Dewan Rakyat, questioning why Najib broke the embargo.

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