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Published: Wednesday May 13, 2009 MYT 8:07:00 PM

Sarawak Assembly suspends Opposition leader for a year

KUCHING: Opposition leader Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Bukit Assek) has been suspended from the Sarawak State Assembly for 12 months for a “camouflage” remark he made against a senior minister last November.

Speaker Datuk Mohamad Asfia Awang Nasar made the decision Wednesday after the matter was put to the vote and the majority of assemblymen were in favour of suspending Ho Leng under Section 14(1) of the Dewan Undangan Negeri (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance.

Ho Leng, who was given 10 minutes to speak by Asfia, protested that his suspension was procedurally wrong as Section 14(1) did not provide for any punishment to be carried forward into the assembly’s next session.

He said that under the Section, action should have been taken against him during last November’s sitting when he used the word “camouflage” in seeking clarification from Second Finance Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh on the tabling of the Supplementary Supply (2008) Bill.

Furthermore, he said the suspension could not last beyond Dec 31 this year when the current session of the State Assembly ends.

“Under the section, any suspension automatically lapses at the end of the current session,” he said.

Later, at the State Assembly’s entrance, Ho Leng said it was very unfortunate that he had been suspended.

“It’s a very sad day. Unfortunately, in the Dewan Undangan Negeri, might is right,” he said.

Last November, Soon Koh tabled a motion referring Ho Leng to the Committee of Privileges for the “camouflage” remark.

He said Ho Lengs remark had imputed that he had an improper motive to conceal or hide a RM900mil expenditure which he had sought so as to deceive the August House to approve the money.

Ho Leng appeared before the committee on Dec 12 to defend himself.

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