Sarawak DAP rep almost ejected from assembly for interrupting minister

Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen.

KUCHING: A DAP assemblyman almost landed in hot water with Sarawak Speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar when he tried to interrupt a minister delivering his winding-up speech during the assembly.

Asfia said Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen should not interrupt Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Sim Kui Hian.

He said he would get a minister to move a motion to suspend Chong unless he was able to point out the standing order that allowed him to interrupt.

Grabbing his chance to speak, Chong cited Standing Order 32(12) and alleged Sim had misled the house by saying there were two state assembly members in the federal Cabinet.

Asfia described the matter as “trivial”.

Chong, who is from DAP and who is deputy domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, said Sim was apparently ignorant of how the federal government works.

“Deputy ministers are not part of the federal Cabinet.”

Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian, who is also Selangau MP, is also works minister.

Chong said Sim had also misled the house by giving the impression that he supported a referendum to let the people of Sarawak choose between autonomy or independence from the peninsula.

He said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, on several occasions, had stressed that the state does not support any call for such a referendum.

“Sim’s view clearly contradicts the decision of the state government.

“Is he going to go along with the state Cabinet or is he going to quit as a minister?

“You can’t make a statement that contradicts the state government’s position.”

He said Asfia’s decision only favoured the state government.

“I think he lost his composure. The speaker was trying to take the opportunity to send me out and to suppress my right to speak,” he said.

In his winding-up speech earlier, Sim said Sarawak is fortunate to have two members from this House in the federal Cabinet.

“They should not keep quiet any more on the cuts or cancellation of federal projects for Sarawak as well as safeguard Sarawak’s interests aggressively,” he said.

Sim also urged assemblymen to listen to the voices and aspirations of the people to deliver their promises. Otherwise, the voices of the referendum would get louder by the day.