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The way the Deputy Speaker Lim Si Cheng stopped me from delivering my speech during the committee stage debate on Federal Territory Ministry is very un-called for and unprofessional

Press Statement
by Teresa Kok Suh Sim


(Kuala Lumpur, Friday): I am very annoyed with the way the Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat, Lim Si Cheng, stopped me from delivering my speech during the committee stage debate on the 2008 Budget for Federal Territory.

I have prepared a speech of more than two pages to be delivered during the committee stage debate of Federal Territory Ministry. When I was called by the speaker to deliver my speech, I said I have 10 issues to be raised. I then read out my prepared text at rocket speed, for I was afraid I will be stopped by the speaker.

After I finished reading the first page, Lim Si Cheng asked me to wind up (gulung) my speech, I asked him to give me another 5 minutes because I have many other issues to raise. When I continued my speech for another 3 minutes, he then asked me to stop. I told him that I still have many other issues to raise. He then asked me not to read from my laptop computer, but just speak out the points (cakap sahaja). I ignored him and he then kept interrupting my speech and asked me to stop. I was very annoyed and I asked him not to interrupt me (jangan ganggu saya). He then rebutted me by saying that my time was up. I said I still have other issues to raise, and this probably is the last sitting we have in the Parliament prior to coming general elections. I asked him to allow me to speak without interrupting me.

Lim then said I didn't respect him and asked me to sit down. I rebutted him by saying that it was he who doesn't respect me, so I refused to sit down and I wanted to speak. He switched off my mike while I challenged him and the house can only hear him scolding me and my voice cannot be heard at all.

He has asked me a few times to leave the house if I am not satisfied. I said he has obstructed me in carrying out my duty as a Member of Parliament to speak in the house. He then asked the Deputy Minister of Federal Territory to reply. I was trying to speak but he switched off my mike. The Deputy Minister then took the floor.

While I was fighting for my right to speak, my other colleagues, Chong Eng, Tan Kok Wai, Chow Kon Yeow and Fong Kui Lun stood up and were trying to persuade him to let me continue my speech, but Lim ignored all of them and kept asking the Deputy Minister to reply despite our protests. I have no choice but to sit down.

I am very angry with the Deputy Speaker Lim Si Cheng because this is not the first time he interrupted me and other MPs while we were delivering our speeches. The speaker can and should interrupt MPs if we go overboard and if our speech is out of topic, but a speaker should not overstep his authority and muzzle MPs if their speeches were in the context of the ministry, especially when we were bringing up the plights and pleas of the rakyat.

As a MP in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, we handle a lot of constituency issues. We are hands-on and work with people on the ground. There is no state assembly or local council in Kuala Lumpur, and a lot of times, we MPs at times find it near impossible to get appointments to meet with high ranking officers in DBKL. There are times when I have tried for a few months to make appointment to meet with officers of DBKL without success.

In such circumstances, the only way for me to bring up KL people's problems is through speaking up in the Dewan Rakyat, particularly when we are debating the budget for Federal Territory Ministry.

I would not be that angry with Lim Si Cheng if he stops me if I swayed from the topic or if I was 'sembang' or fooling with other MPs in the house, but I was extremely cheesed off when I was speaking up for the people and issues related to DBKL while I was debating in the Ministry of Federal Territory. I spent two hours to prepare my speech in Bahasa Malaysia before I was called to read it out. If I have not been serious in the debate in this ministry, I would not have bothered to write it out.

I am angry as this is not the first time the Deputy Speaker Lim Si Cheng interjected and stopped me from delivering my speech. Being a Member of Parliament and a Deputy Speaker, Lim Si Cheng should know it is the role and responsibility of a Member of Parliament to bring up the people's issues in the Parliament.

I am fully aware that the committee stage debate has been delayed from its schedule, but if we count the time where he and I engaged in the exchange of words when he tried to stop me from speaking, that time would have been more than enough for me to deliver the whole text of my speech.

I urge Lim Si Cheng to be more professional when he chairs future sittings. If he as a Speaker doesn't respect a Member of the House, then he will not earn the respect from fellow MPs.


*Teresa Kok Suh Sim, DAP Publicity Secretary & MP for Seputeh

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