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By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Nov 14: Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong was today fined RM2,000 for contempt of the august House for her Facebook post detailing the Speaker’s 2019 emoluments amounting to RM5.947 million.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh moved the motion to reprimand the DAP lawmaker, arguing that Yong’s post had brought disrepute to the Speaker when she suggested that Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar earned an annual salary of RM5.9 million.
Yong had uploaded a post on Tuesday (Nov 13) that stated ‘Charged Exp (expenditure) T.02 Sarawak DUN (state legislative assembly) Speaker emoluments for the year 2019 is RM5,947,000.00’.
“The posts consisted selected portions of the State Estimated Expenditure 2019 while leaving out the other relevant explanatory information of the Estimates.
“This has resulted in the public being seriously misled into thinking that the amount of RM5.947 million represents solely the personal annual emolument of the state DUN Speaker, thereby causing public outrage and ridicule towards the Speaker and the institution of this august House,” Wong said at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
He demanded that Yong apologised and retract the Facebook post, but when she declined to do so, the minister proposed that a maximum fine of RM2,000 be imposed on her.
Wong explained that the RM5.9 million sum was budgeted for the payment of salaries and allowances of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker as well as fixed allowances for the state lawmakers.
“The Facebook statement is incorrect. The Pending assemblywoman must have deliberately made the post to discredit others, and in this case, the Speaker.
“She made the statement without doing her homework or trying to understand the accounting principle. Perhaps, she is ignorant of the financial procedure or accounting principle. This could be a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the Speaker’s Office or the Speaker himself to promote her own political agenda,” he continued.
In response, Yong argued that she was only reproducing a subhead from the state budget in her Facebook post.
“My post was made in verbatim, according to the document on my personal Facebook account. The document did not provide thorough details of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s allowances, which constituted the RM5.947 million.
“The Speaker’s salary is RM30,000 per month, while the deputy is RM21,000. This totalled to RM51,000 per month or RM612,000 annually. In my Facebook (post), I didn’t say the DUN speaker’s salary is RM5.947 million. I stated emolument, which was reproduced as verbatim or word-by-word as stated in the command paper of the budget.
“I would like to make it clear that there is no malice to bring disrepute to the august House or Speaker,” she said.
Yong pointed out that the budget document should have been more specific to not misled the public as the allowances listed for the Speaker was too vague.
DUN deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala said Yong had violated Section 24 (1) of the DUN (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance, 2007.
Sixty-two lawmakers voted in favour of the motion, while eight opposed. — DayakDaily