MCA & triad politics - DAP rep meeting the Speaker
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw
(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): The parliamentary Standing Order 80(2) states: whenever the House is not sitting a member may bring an alleged breach of privilege to the notice of the Speaker who may, if he is satisfied that a prima facie breach of privilege has been committed, refer such matter to the (Privileges) Committee, which shall report thereon to the House.
On 16 June, 2003, the Deputy Home Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin replied on behalf of the Home Ministry to the question by Bandar Melaka MP Kerk Kim Hock on the number of police reports and the result of the investigation regarding MCA and gansterism. He said: “Setakat ini pihak polis akan meneruskan siasatan-siasatan terhadap individu-individu yang berkaitan. Dan tiada bukti yang menunjukkan bahawa adanya individu dan parti politik yang terlibat ataupun mengamalkan budaya kongsi gelap.” (Hitherto, the police authority will continue with investigations on individuals concerned. And, there is no evidence to show that there is individual or political party involved (in) or practising the culture of gangsterism.)
On 23 July, 2003, DAP National Chairman Lim Kit Siang asks (the Speaker) to invoke parliamentary standing orders to refer Zainal Abidin to Privileges Committee for gross breach of parliamentary privilege in giving a false and misleading answer in Dewan Rakyat on June 16, exonerating MCA members and top leaders from involvement in triad politics. Kit Siang has a basis.
Since entering the Dewan Rakyat in 1982, I have never brought such a case to the Speaker. This time, we require the Home Ministry to explain to the Privileges Committee why the Deputy Minister made the June 16 statement. Or, was it based on any false information supplied by the ministry?
On 17 July, 2003, the police issued a nationwide alert for the arrest of “Jacky Chan” or Ong King Ee, the reputed kingpin of “ Sio Sam Ong (Three Little Emperors) and his right-hand man, Chee Kok Loong. They were suspected to be connected with drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping and robbery in Penang and the neighbouring state. They were alleged to be involved in the gruesome killings of six people including a couple, husband and wife, in Sungai Petani, Kedah, in 1992.
In the House, a member who gives false evidence is in contempt of the privileges. The speaker can use his discretion based on precedents, learning wisdom by the follies of others. He can decide whether to refer the Deputy Minister to the committee.
When Parliament goes into recess, the Speaker has the discretionary power to convene an emergency meeting or to refer any member to the Committee of Privileges. Normally, the Government uses the pretext, ‘public interest’, to ask the speaker to convene an emergency meeting. The Speaker agrees to the request. Now, we discover that the above-mentioned statement of the Deputy Minister is different from the announcement of the police. We hope that the Speaker consider whether this constitutes a contempt.
* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong