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PM and DPM should revert the issue of whether Mohd Said had committed breach of privilege to be determined by  the Committee of Privileges as this  is a distinct and separate issue from that of Barisan Nasional discipline

Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

Penang, Sunday) : In an interview with New Sunday Times, Jasin Member of Parliament Datuk Mohd Said Yusof  yesterday  accused the director-general of the Customs Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Abldul Hamid of “taking revenge” on him because the latter was “hurt” by his criticisms against the top officer  in the Customs Department. This is a valid charge.

Similarly, it would be an equally valid allegation that Mohd Said was “taking revenge” on the Customs director-general when he delivered a blistering attack in Parliament on May 2 accusing Abdul Rahman of being a “publicity hound” because of  the “hurt” felt by the Jasin MP that his intervention on behalf of his own company  asking the Customs Department to “close  an eye” about the illegal import of sawn timber from Indonesia had been rejected.

However, the validity or otherwise of both allegations concerning motivation  by both parties are completely irrelevant to the  two central issues  of integrity, firstly, whether Mohd Said had abused parliamentary privilege in asking the Malacca Customs and Excise Department to “close an eye” concerning the illegal import of sawn timber by his company; and secondly, whether Mohd Said was guilty of conflict-of-interests and therefore corrupt practices  in his intervention with the Customs Department in his capacity as MP.

The first question can only be answered by the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges while the second by the Anti-Corruption Agency and the courts.

Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional Chief Whip, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that Mohd Said would be hauled up to explain the whole episode as directed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

This, however, could only deal with the third question – whether Mohd Said had violated Barisan Nasional party discipline, which are distinct and separate issues from the first two public-interest questions  of whether the Jasin MP had breached parliamentary privileges and guilty of corrupt practices.

When the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister meets specificially over the Mohd Said issue, they should allow the issue of whether a grave breach of parliamentary privilege had been committed to be dealt with by the Committee of Privileges as it is most improper for the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to hijack this issue from the Committee of Privileges.

For this reason, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister should revert the issue of whether Mohd Said had committed breach of privilege to be determined by  the Committee of Privileges as this  is a separate and distinct issue from that of  Barisan Nasional discipline


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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