DUN Speaker rules Chong’s motion against Dr Sim out of order for being too lengthy, missing word ‘deliberately’

Asfia (left) and Chong in DUN today (May 26, 2022).

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 26: Speaker of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar dismissed a motion moved by Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen (PH-DAP) today as it exceeded 250 words and did not contain the word ‘deliberately’.

On the word number limit, Mohamad Asfia said, quoting Erskine May 25th edition paragraph 20.14 on page 437 under ‘Length of Motions’ that, “motions for debate should not generally exceed 250 words in length”.

He said the DUN secretary had counted the number of words in Chong’s motion and it totaled 373 words, exceeding 250.

Mohamad Asfia also said any statement made by any honourable member in the august House that is claimed to be misleading must be done “deliberately” for the honourable member to be held in contempt.

In this case, he said, Chong had not mentioned nor proven in his motion that Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian had deliberately or purposely made a statement which is misleading in the august House.

“Standing Order 32(12) states as follows: ‘Any member who makes any statement in the Dewan that deliberately misleads this Dewan is deemed to be out of order and to be in contempt’.

“The operative words is ‘deliberately’. Oxford Dictionary defines ‘deliberately’ as done consciously and intentionally. Black’s Law Dictionary defines ‘deliberately’ as willfully, with premeditation, intentionally, purposely.

“There is no evidence that manifestly proves that the statement (by Dr Sim) was deliberately misleading,” Mohamad Asfia said before ruling the motion to be irregular, out of order and be dismissed.

Chong had earlier proposed in his motion for Dr Sim to retract his statement in DUN yesterday (May 25) that the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government had not allocated any funds for affordable housing in Sarawak, and to apologise to the august House for his misleading statement.

Meanwhile, Chong wished to refute, but Mohamad Asfia asserted that his ruling is final and cannot be questioned under Standing Order 86 which reads: “The decision of the Speaker upon any point of interpretation of any of these Standing Orders, or upon any matter of practice, shall, subject to a substantive motion for that purpose, be final, and the Speaker may from time to time issue rulings thereon”.

After several more futile attempts to make his point, Chong’s microphone was turned off by Mohamad Asfia and the sitting proceeded with the ministerial winding-up speech by the Minister for International Trade, Industry and Investment.

Chong (top left) trying to talk over Mohamad Asfia (bottom right) in DUN today (May 26, 2022) in this screenshot taken from a live broadcast of the sitting.

Earlier, at the beginning of today’s sitting, before the Second Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan could present his first ministerial winding-up speech, Chong had stood up wanting to read his motion.

Chong was however told by Mohamad Asfia that it was not the right time to do so as “government business shall have precedence over Private Members’ business” under Standing Order 12(1). — DayakDaily