Pandikar refuses activist's move to pay RM1,000 fine for breaking embargo

PETALING JAYA: Shortly after breaking the embargo set over the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation report, activist Wong Chin Huat  made an appearance in Parliament to pay the RM1,000 fine.

However, the fine wasn’t accepted by Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia’s office, as a senior officer representing the Speaker said that Wong’s move to break the embargo has nothing to do with the Parliament.

“A senior officer called Mr Ali, who was very friendly, said my press conference earlier had nothing to do with parliament and therefore I don’t have to pay the fine.

“This is nothing personal. I disagree with your (Pandikar) order but I just had to do what I have to do,” he said to reporters when met outside Pandikar’s office.

Wong also expressed gratitude towards the Speaker’s decision not to accept his fine, as the redelineation report is a matter of public interest.

“I’m happy. I think this shows that Mr Ali, on Pandikar’s behalf, has been very reasonable and understands why I have to do it.”

Wong, who is a member of civil society group Engage, said that should Pandikar change his mind over the matter in future, he would gladly return to Parliament to pay the RM1,000 fine.

“In any situation if the Speaker changes his mind, I’m more than happy to pay him a courtesy visit and pay the fine.

“I chose to break the law not because I have contempt of the Parliament and the law, but because I think this is something necessary.”

Present with Wong was Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin and Miri MP Dr Teo Yu Keng.

Sim saluted Wong for offering to pay the RM1,000 fine for disclosing details of the redelineation report to public.

“I think that is what courage is about. He took responsibility and he volunteered himself to reveal this information to the public.”

Earlier on Tuesday (March 27), Wong had discussed several aspects of the redelineation report during a press conference, and said he is willing to pay the RM1,000 fine for defying the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 by revealing contents of the report before it is officially tabled in Parliament.

Lawmakers were not allowed to publish or distribute the report in any form until the embargo is lifted this Wednesday, the day where the report will be tabled for first reading.

The motion, once debated and passed with a simple majority of 111 lawmakers in Parliament, will be gazetted upon receiving the Royal Assent.
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