Opposition walks out after Guan Eng let off the hook over GST refunds

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs staged a walkout today in protest over the Dewan Rakyat speaker’s decision not to refer Lim Guan Eng to Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee in connection with his remarks over the goods and services tax (GST) refunds.

Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof had said he found no element of provocation in Lim’s claim that the previous administration had misused money meant for tax refunds.

However MPs, especially from Barisan Nasional, had wanted the issue debated.

Later at the Parliament lobby, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin questioned Ariff’s credibility, noting that he had been a Court of Appeal judge before his appointment as Dewan Rakyat speaker.

“How is it that he was a judge before?” Khairy said.

Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob meanwhile said Lim’s allegation was tantamount to a criminal charge, adding that Khairy had lodged a police report on the matter.

“We were willing to come to a compromise where we would not refer Lim to Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee on the condition that he apologise and retract his remarks.

“But the speaker rejected the motion.”

The Bera MP also accused Ariff of practising double standards.

He said when Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman reprimanded a minister, he was suspended and booted out of the Dewan Rakyat.

He added that Pengkalan Chepa MP Ahmad Marzuk Shaary was also ejected after calling Lim “pondan”.

“It looks like the Dewan Rakyat speaker is trying to defend Lim,” he said.