PARLIAMENT | Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has rejected the opposition’s motion to refer Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to the Rights and Privileges Committee over the latter’s remark that the previous BN government had "robbed" (rompak) from funds intended for GST refunds.
“I found that there is no prima facie element that the Bagan (MP) had misled the House,” he said.
“As such it does not fall under Clause 36(12),” he said, referring to the provision in Dewan Rakyat's Standing Orders that allows a member of the House to refer another member to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
Ariff said he had studied the contents of the Public Accounts Committee's report on GST refunds that was released earlier this week.
BN and PAS parliamentarian staged a walkout in protest against Ariff’s ruling.
KiniGuide: A primer on the 'not missing' GST refunds
Ismail Sabri said he did not dispute the PAC finding, but was instead disputing Lim’s choice of words when the latter described the funds amounting to RM19.4 billion as having been stolen.
Ariff's ruling caused an uproar among opposition lawmakers, who stood up in protest and cited the contents of PAC's report.
"What I received was an application to refer Bagan (MP) to the Rights and Privilege Committee. As the speaker, I have to make a ruling on whether there is prima facie (evidence to do so)," said Ariff.
Arguing further, he said he made the ruling after studying the relevant contents and paragraphs of the report.
"But you only cited only one particular sentence in one paragraph," said Ariff.
Ismail Sabri then asked: "I would like to ask you, if you agreed that (the use of the word) 'robbed' indeed happened? Do not create a wrongful precedent."
Ariff then said, "I would like to suggest to all lawmakers who stand up now, read the contents I pointed out just now.
"Read first, don't debate now. If it's possible, put up a motion to debate in detail the PAC's report."
The opposition lawmakers staged a mass walkout after Ariff declined to entertain them further.