KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been referred to Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee over his alleged leaking of the Felda White Paper.
Najib, who was not present in Parliament, was referred to the committee after a motion against him was passed after two hours of heated debates.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who tabled the motion, said Najib was referred to the committee to allow him to defend himself before any finding or punishment is meted out.
Earlier, during the debates, opposition chief Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob noted that what was tabled by Liew differed from what was contained in the Order Paper.
He said the initial wording of the motion had stated that Najib would be suspended for three months but this was changed at the last minute to refer him to the committee instead.
Ismail also argued that the motion against Najib should have been withdrawn, claiming that the White Paper on Felda was uploaded on Parliament's website a day before it was tabled.
In response, Liew said the Government did not want to presume any wrongdoing by Najib as he had the right to argue his case before the committee.
Najib was said to have breached Clause 95A of the Standing Order of Dewan Rakyat with regard to disregarding an embargo placed on the Felda White Paper on Wednesday (April 10).
Najib had posted photographs of excerpts of the White Paper on his Facebook page on Tuesday (April 9) to defend Felda's action over the controversial purchase of a 37% stake in Indonesia's Eagle High Plantation.
His action came before the House lifted the embargo on the Felda document at 11.30am on Wednesday when the White Paper was tabled by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
Following this, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told reporters that action would be taken to penalise Najib over the matter.
Dr Mahathir said that this would remind Najib that no one is above House rules.