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Monday, May 11, 2009

Khir and four BN assemblymen may face suspension

SHAH ALAM, May 11-2009 | Malaysianinsider - By Neville Spykerman

Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is likely to pay a price for defiance when he goes before the privileges committee of the Selangor legislative assembly tomorrow.

The state opposition leader who failed to appear before a public inquiry by state government watch dog-Selcat in March could face suspension, be stripped of his allowances or both.

During the week long Selcat inquiry, witnesses testified that millions of ringgit from state subsidiaries was squandered by Balkis, a charity headed by Dr Mohd Khir’s wife while he was the mentri besar.

Dr Mohd Khir had questioned the validity of the public inquiry and through a letter delivered by his lawyers informed the committee that both he and his wife would not attend.

He faces further charges for contempt of the House for criticising Selcat or the special select committee for competency, accountability and transparency in the press.

Four other state Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers are also going before the privileges committee for criticising Selcat in the press.

They include Sabak assemblyman Datuk Warno Dogol, Hulu Bernam assemblyman Datuk Mohamed Idris Abu Bakar, Batang Kali assemblyman Mohd Isa Abu Kasim and Dengkil assemblyman Datuk Marsum Paing.

Ironically, Warno Dogol is one of two BN lawmakers in the privilege committee but he will not be allowed to exercise his right to vote in this case.

The other is Kuala Kubu Baharu assemblyman Wong Koon Mun.

The other members are speaker Teng Chang Khim, deputy speaker Haniza Mohamed Talha, Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, Rawang assemblyman Gan Peh Nei and Bangi Assemblyman Dr Shafie Abu Bakar.

Teng told The Malaysian Insider that all five BN lawmakers would be given an opportunity to explain their actions and would be allowed to have lawyers present at the inquiry.

Traditionally, the speaker abstains from voting unless there is a dead lock in the privileges committee.

Teng who himself was previously suspended for 30 months during Dr Mohd Khir’s administration said he would keep to precedent to avoid any accusation of bias.

“They risk committing a further offence of contempt if they fail to show up on Tuesday (tomorrow).” he said.

Teng added any action recommended by the committee must be endorsed by the state assembly before it can be enforced. The House is scheduled for a sitting in July.

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