KUCHING, July 13: A war of words erupted between Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar in the august House this afternoon, ending with Chong later asking Asfia to resign.
Their argument was over the ruling of the Court of Appeal this morning. The appellate court dismissed the appeal of Asfia, Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and two others to strip Dr Ting Tiong Choon (DAP-Pujut) of his DUN membership.
In a split decision, the three-judge bench decided that the DUN had exceeded its power in denouncing Dr Ting’s DUN membership on the basis of his dual citizenship, which Dr Ting had given up before being nominated as a candidate for Pujut.
The verbal spat erupted when Chong was debating on the Head of State’s address. Among others, Chong urged all the appellants not to bring Dr Ting’s case to the apex court.
Below is the transcript of the squabble:
Chong: Decision of the High Court in holding that the resolution of this House was bad in law, the disqualification of Honourable Member of Pujut by this House and the ministerial motion was bad and, therefore, set aside. Mr Speaker, the whole episode about disqualifying Honourable Member for Pujut and, therefore, the High Court ruling against this House’s decision and the appeal following that, this is nothing but to satisfy the ego of the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) and now Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government of the state.
Also, it is nothing but the perverted intention of the state government of the day to deprive the voices of the people of Pujut of their rightful elected representative in this House. Therefore, I will submit, Mr Speaker, enough is enough. Too much time, energy and effort is wasted on such a meaningless exercise in the political persecution against Pujut. Therefore, I call upon Mr Speaker not to appeal further to the Federal Court. Let us respect the decision of the people and voters of Pujut when they cast their vote to elect Dr Ting Tiong Choon as their representative for Pujut.
Asfia: You want me not to appeal? I am the first appellant. The second appellant is Honourable Minister for Finance 2 and Honourable Member for Bawang Assan (Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh). The third appellant is this august House. You want all the three?
Chong: All the three.
Asfia: How do you prevent the DUN from appealing? You tell me.
Chong: Mr Speaker, Sir, this is my call upon all of you to respect the decision and wishes of the voters in Pujut. They have already rightfully elected Dr Ting as their representative, and you should not resort to such political persecution.
Asfia: What is the apex court in this country? Is the apex court in this country the Court of Appeal or the High Court?
Chong: Mr Speaker, I will not engage in further …
Asfia: Then you should not touch on this in this way. Is the Court of Appeal the apex court or not?
Chong: I said, such an exercise is nothing but political persecution against Dr Ting, and it is meaningless, and is a disregard of the wishes of the people of Pujut.
Asfia: Let the court decide. The apex court.
Chong: Mr Speaker, I proceed on. I will not argue with you.
Asfia: You should not touch it like this. You are insulting the House.
Chong: I am not insulting the house. You are the one who put this House into disrepute.
Asfia: You are insulting the House by talking about this like this. Now you are insulting the House, are you not?
Chong: I am not.
Asfia: You are.
Chong: Mr Speaker …
Asfia: Don’t shout.
Chong: You are shouting.
Asfia: You are not shouting?
Chong: I am not. I have been speaking like this …
Asfia: I stop you from talking. Another honourable member wanna speak? You should not exploit and abuse your position to speak because once we appeal it will be subjudice.
Chong then exited the august House and went to the DUN Media Centre to hold a press conference on the issue.
At the press conference, he called upon Asfia to resign as DUN Speaker for bringing disrepute and shame to the DUN and in preventing him from speaking further.
“That is a mere statement to call upon. Obviously, the Speaker acted like an injured animal. His injured ego, he cannot take it, while I maintained the level of my voice like all this while, That is the decibel that I have spoken with.
“He has shouted, obviously he is out of his head, and I see the legal action (Dr Ting’s case) as meaningless because there is nothing to gain but just to satisfy the ego of the Speaker and also the perverted intention of the BN to deprive Pujut people of their rightful elected representative.”
Chong said given the manner in which Asfia reacted, Chong believed Asfia was not fit to be Speaker of the august House.
“He ought to resign as Speaker of the House. The High Court has ruled that he has misled the Dewan by his own interpretation of the Constitution and the Standing Order. Now the Court of Appeal has upheld the ruling of the High Court,” said Chong. — DayakDaily