Najib to be referred to Rights and Privileges Committee

Former prime minister Najib Razak (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak will be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for breaching the embargo on the Felda White Paper.

The motion to refer him to the committee was approved through block vote in the lower house today.

It was supported by 86 MPs while 33 voted against it.

The original motion sought to suspend Najib from the Dewan Rakyat for three months over the violation of the embargo.

It said Najib, who is Pekan MP, had breached Clause 95A of the Standing Orders.

Najib reportedly posted excerpts of the white paper on his Facebook on Tuesday despite an embargo on the document which was only lifted at 11.30am yesterday.

The excerpts were on Felda’s purchase of a 37% stake in Indonesia’s Eagle High Plantation.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong, in his winding-up speech, provided a chronology of events.

He said the Parliament secretariat had uploaded a list of three items on April 9, consisting of annual reports and financial statements.

Liew (Warisan-Batu Sapi) said the white paper was not one of them.

“There was no access to any link on April 9. On the same day, at 3am, Parliament officers distributed hard copies of the document which were placed on the tables of the MPs.

“What happened after that, based on fact, is that at 5.39pm you could see on Najib’s social media account a snapshot of the impugned document,” he said.

At 11.43am the following day, he said, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali stood up to table the white paper in the Dewan Rakyat.

“It was only at 11.51am, which is eight minutes later, that the soft copy of the white paper was uploaded on the Parliament website,” he said.

Liew also addressed the issue of a snapshot purportedly containing a link to the white paper, which was raised by Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) during the debate.

“The link, as raised by Pontian, would in no way have displayed the contents of the white paper. It only displayed a list of titles of what would be tabled.

“You could only access the link after 11.51am on April 10,” he said.

However, both Ahmad and Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) insisted that the full document could be viewed, not just the title.

Several BN MPs also cited a Bloomberg report on the government bail-out of Felda, saying the information could have been obtained from the Parliament website.

However, Liew said the issues raised by these MPs could be brought up to the committee.