Speaker: No contradiction

TRANSPORT Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa did not contradict each other over the national cabotage policy, says Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

He also stressed that they did not mislead the House.

Azhar was responding to Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) and Steven Sim (PH-Bukit Mertajam) in a letter dated Oct 22, after the two DAP MPs raised a motion under Standing Order 36(12) that deals with MPs misleading the House.

Azhar said that after he received the letter from Lim and Sim on Oct 11, he had requested for an explanation from Dr Wee and Annuar, which he received.

Azhar said he then scrutinised the Hansard regarding the debate on Sept 30 in Parliament as well as Annuar’s Parliamentary written reply over the issue.

“I found that the Transport Minister and the Communications and Multimedia Minister did not issue any statements that misled the House under Standing Order 36(12) when they were answering the questions,” Azhar wrote in the letter.

Standing Order 36(12) states that “Any member who imputes statements that mislead the House is deemed to be in contempt of the House and the member may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the offence”.

Azhar said the gist of Dr Wee’s explanation on Sept 30 is that the national cabotage policy only applies to repair works and not cable installation works at seabeds.

“The Communications and Multimedia Minister, meanwhile, in his answer, explained that Malaysia isn’t listed under the project due to the company’s decision and also the national cabotage policy wasn’t completed then. The cabotage policy was only decided by the Cabinet on Oct 8.

“Therefore, I found both statements neither contradictory or misleading,” he added.

A written reply by Annuar on Oct 5 had explained that countries chosen to participate in the Apricot Internet subsea cable project were based on the decision of Facebook and Google.

He added that Malaysia was not listed as one of the countries involved in the Apricot project because the cabotage policy exemption had yet to be resolved.

In the letter, Azhar also said when Lim and Sim brought up potential losses of between RM12mil and RM15mil due to the national cabotage policy, the duo had merely stated an estimation.

“The Transport Minister had chosen to disagree with it and gave his opinion about the matter.

“Therefore, on those reasons, I chose to reject your (Lim and Sim’s) motion,” he added.

Dr Wee had explained that Malaysia was not left out of any regional undersea cable projects as it was presently part of the MIST (Malaysia, India, Singapore, Thailand) project, an 8,000km subsea cable system that is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

He said MIST will eventually be connected with the Apricot project.

Dr Wee and Lim are scheduled to debate the national cabotage policy on Nov 2.

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