Sarawak rep suspended a year for challenging speaker’s impartiality

Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei.

KUCHING: A Sarawak DAP assemblyman was suspended for 12 months from the state legislative assembly for allegedly challenging Sarawak Speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar’s impartiality during last year’s assembly meeting.

Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei was suspended effective today after 64 members of the assembly voted for his suspension, with nine against.

Wong, in protesting the punishment, said Asfia had made him a “scapegoat” to show the members of the assembly that he was “untouchable”.

“What have I done to deserve a 12 month suspension? You are usurping my rights to speak in this August House. You are usurping the voice of the people in Padungan,” he said when the report by the committee of privileges against him was tabled at the state legislative assembly here, today.

He said what he had done was only to propose the reformation of the Sarawak state legislative assembly.

“I was just talking facts and he (Asfia) was unable to take it. We are all wasting our time here this morning just because Asfia wants to launch this personal attack against me,” he said.

Wong said Asfia was “over powerful” and this was seen when members of the assembly had to “beg” for his permission before being allowed to speak.

“Even this morning, none of our motions were allowed to be debated,” he said.

There was also a heated row between Wong and Deputy Speaker Gerawat Gala who was presiding over the proceeding when he (Wong) questioned him about his offence.

“Which section triggers this punishment? You are charging me for nothing, an offense created by the speaker himself,” he claimed.

However, Gerawat said Wong should be fully aware of his offences and charges as he (Wong) was present during the hearing of the committee on privileges on Feb 18 this year.

Meanwhile, Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen said the decision to suspend Wong would likely end up in court.

“You may think that you have complied with your set of rules of justice but if it goes to the court, it would be very much different from your rule of justice,” he said, adding that the Sarawak state legislative assembly should be reformed.

“Asfia has been a speaker for 19 years and what reform has he made? An impartial person should be the speaker. We have a first class infrastructure of a state legislative assembly but a third class mentality in terms of parliamentary practice,” he said.