Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
OPPOSITION MPs are accusing the Speaker of conflict of interest following his decision to disallow a motion on Lim Guan Eng after it was revealed on social media that the Speaker’s son is the Finance Minister’s press secretary.
The issue over Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof’s impartiality arose when it was revealed on an official website that his son Muhamad Lutfi Hakim is Lim’s press secretary.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera), without going into specifics, asked Mohamad Ariff if he was aware of a viral post on social media regarding his son’s position, which could affect his integrity.
Mohamad Ariff said his son was 32 years old and free to work with whomever he wanted.
“I acted independently and was not influenced in any way,” he said.
Ismail Sabri also wanted to know the status of his application for a debate over the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund.Mohamad Ariff said the application was submitted after 6.30pm on Wednesday and deemed out of time.
“However, you are free to submit a fresh application on the motion during the next Parliamentary meeting in October,” he said.
A shouting match then ensued when Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) stood up to question Muhamad Ariff’s ruling.
Ismail asked if the Speaker would recuse himself from making a ruling on Ismail Sabri’s motion application if he filed a fresh one.
Muhamad Ariff replied that he would recuse himself when Ismail Sabri’s application was heard in the next meeting.
The PAC found that the GST refunds, which Lim said were “stolen”, were not missing but had been channelled to the Government’s Consolidated Fund.
Mohamad Ariff had on Wednesday ruled that there was no basis for Lim to retract the word “stolen”.
MCA president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the issue could be solved if Lim apologised and retracted the “stolen” accusation.“If the boss to the Speaker’s son, who is Guan Eng, wants to apologise and retract his accusation, (that would be the) end of the story.
“But Guan Eng remains arrogant,” said Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, in a Facebook posting.