Motion to cut Ong's pay denied

At the Dewan RakyatReports by DALILAH IBRAHIM and IZATUN SHARI

THE House shot down a motion by an opposition MP to cut RM10 from the salary of Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, who personally replied to the points raised. 

Ong, who replied to the motion by Teresa Kok (DAP – Seputeh), at the committee stage, said DAP was only out to get publicity and gain political mileage. 

“I do not know what is the real motive behind this motion. When I see her (Kok) outside of Parliament, she is always friendly and soft spoken, but today she wants to cut my salary. 

“But I am not angry. When I learn about the motion, I want to face it,” he said to thumps of support from backbenchers. 

The stand taken by a Cabinet minister to face such a motion, a parliamentary practice used by MPs to embarrass ministers with a symbolic cut of RM10 from his or her salary, is said to be unusual. 

Previously, most ministers preferred not to participate in such debates, with most ministers sending their deputies or parliamentary secretaries to cross swords with opposition members. 

Earlier, Kok said she was tabling the motion over several issues, claiming that the House Buyers Claims Tribunal was not functioning, the building of an incinerator in Broga would affect the lives of nearby residents and the ineffectiveness of local governments. 

Chairman Tun Dr Mohamed Zahir Ismail, however, told Kok not to touch on the tribunal issue as it was pending in the Court of Appeal. 

On the incinerator issue, Ong said he had replied countless times. 

“The Government will not compromise on the people’s health,” he said, adding that incinerators had gone through technological advancements compared to 20 years ago. 

The Government conducted an extensive study by experts including environmental specialists, he said, adding: “The decision to build the incinerator was not my own. It was a collective decision by the Cabinet.” 

Ong said the problem of waste management was very serious and Malaysia was “producing 17,000 tonnes of waste a day.” 

It could no longer be a political issue for some seeking to be popular, he said. 

“It will be hard for the Government to carry out the project if the opposition keeps politicising it,” he said. 

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