GEORGE TOWN: A Pakatan Harapan component party leader today said the two deputy speakers in Parliament could be biased against Lim Guan Eng, going by the opposition’s view that speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was biased “by association”.
Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob had called for Ariff to recuse himself over matters related to Lim, after the speaker admitted that his son was Lim’s press secretary.
The opposition members are upset that Ariff did not censure Lim over his remarks on the GST refunds, which were later found to be incorrect.
The PH leader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon could be construed as having a conflict of interest since he was Penang’s deputy chief minister I from 2013 to 2018 when Lim was chief minister.
He said the other deputy speaker, Nga Kor Ming, is DAP’s deputy secretary-general while Lim is secretary-general.
“So, if we were to follow the opposition’s logic that Ariff’s son being Lim’s press secretary would cast doubt on his impartiality in Parliament, then Rashid and Nga could also be biased,” he said.
Lim had said the GST refunds were missing when he took office as finance minister last year, calling it a “robbery” by the past government.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed this week that no money was missing. It noted, however, a violation of the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 where the money was transferred into the Consolidated Revenue Account instead of the GST Refund Account.
Following that, Ismail asked Lim to be censured for his remarks but Ariff turned down the request. He said Ismail should submit a motion instead. This prompted a walkout by all the opposition members.
Yesterday, Ismail asked Ariff if his decision not to demand a retraction or censure Lim was due to the fact that his son was Lim’s press secretary.
Ariff said his son had no bearing on his decisions and welcomed the opposition to seek a review, which would be chaired by either of his deputies.