Sarawak assembly suspends DAP rep a year for claiming Speaker biased

The Sarawak State Assembly has suspended DAP’s Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei for 12 months for breaching parliamentary privileges. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
The Sarawak State Assembly has suspended DAP’s Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei for 12 months for breaching parliamentary privileges. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, April 30 ― DAP’s Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei was suspended for 12 months from today by the Sarawak State Assembly for breaching parliamentary privileges by accusing the Speaker of being prejudiced against the Opposition.

Sixty-four state lawmakers from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) supported a motion tabled by Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah to suspend Wong while nine from Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposed.

“Based on the votes, this august House has decided to adopt the recommendations of the Committee of Privileges as set out in its report laid out on the table this morning,” Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala said after the motion was put to vote.

“With this, the honourable member for Padungan is hereby suspended for a period of 12 months with effect from today,” he said.

Karim, in his winding-up speech on the motion, said any member of the assembly will be referred to the Committee of Privileges for mistakes or some unparliamentary words or acts which they have uttered.

He also called the suspension lenient as it could have extended to two years, adding that he would personally support even caning for such behaviour.

When tabling the motion, Karim said the main issue was Wong’s questioning of Speaker Datuk Amar Asfia Awang Nasar’s neutrality.

He said on November 12 last year, the assembly decided that Wong be referred to the Committee of Privileges for breach of privileges by making accusations against the Speaker in his speech when debating on the Supply Bill (2019) on November 9.

He said the committee, during the hearing on February 18 this year, found Wong guilty of breaching the privileges and recommended that he be suspended for 12 months when the motion is passed by the assembly.

In his defence, Wong maintained his accusation against the Speaker of being partial and a stumbling block to reform of the state assembly.

He said it is a waste of time to table motion against him.

Wong also claimed that the motion was tabled as a warning to all state assemblymen against criticising the Speaker.

“He just wants to use me as a scapegoat to warn all of you that he is untouchable and cannot be removed,” he told GPS state lawmakers.

He said the suspension of 12 months imposed on him is unjustified as he did nothing wrong.

DAP's Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, in support of Wong, said the decision to suspend Wong may end up in court.

He said the court may have a different interpretation of Wong's suspension.

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