[UPDATED] DUN: Padungan rep suspended for 12 months

Wong speaking in DUN today (April 30, 2019) in this photo of the DUN in-house broadcast feed.

Editor’s note: Updated with details.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, April 30: Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei was suspended from attending the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting for 12 months with immediate effect after he was found guilty of breaching of parliamentary privileges, today.

Wong was alleged to have said the august House was less democratic, and its current speaker, Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar as the stumbling block to its reform.

He was referred to the Committee of Privileges on Feb 18 following his speech during the DUN sitting last Nov 12 where he asked that Asfia be removed from office in order to make the DUN a more democratic institution.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala made the decision after 64 lawmakers voted in favour of the Committee of Privileges’ recommendation of 12-month suspension under Section 14(1) of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance 2007, while nine voted against it.

The motion was moved by Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman and seconded by Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

Under Standing Order 23(1)(a), Abdul Karim said the august House decided on Nov 12 last year that Wong be referred to Committee of Privileges for breach of parliamentary privileges.

The Committee of Privileges met on Feb 18 this year and investigated Wong’s remarks, who made the accusations when he was debating the Supply Bill (2019) 2018, as recorded on page 64 of the Hansard for Nov 9, 2018.

The committee then found Wong guilty of breach of parliamentary privileges and Abdul Karim also moved that Wong be suspended for 12 months.

“It was the responsibility of all elected representatives to protect and uphold the dignity of the House and, therefore, Wong had to be referred to the Committee of Privileges because he uttered unparliamentary words,” Abdul Karim said in his speech when tabling the motion.

Meanwhile, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the suspension showed how undemocratic the Sarawak DUN was.

“Today, a motion was tabled by the state to suspend Wong for 12 months just because in the previous sitting, during his debate, he gave constructive criticism on proper reforms to the DUN to make it more democratic, including allowing opposition’s motions to be debated, especially if it involves public interest.

Dr Kelvin Yii

“Instead of taking it as constructive feedback, the state government banned him from DUN for a total of 12 months, which is highly excessive, to me,” Dr Yii said.

If the state election is called earlier, Dr Yii said today might even be Wong’s last DUN sitting.

He added that the government must further enforce the need for reforms to make sure all voices are heard in the Honorable Chamber, including those from the opposition. — DayakDaily