'Deepak' to settle egg shortage issue, Dr Wee tells Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) revealed that he received a call from an individual who identified himself as "Deepak" who claimed to represent J&E Advance Tech Sdn Bhd over an issue concerning imported eggs from India.

Dr Wee said he was told by Deepak to issue a clarification following alleged discussions with the Prime Minister’s Office.

"He alleged that he discussed with the PMO, claiming that I needed to issue a statement and the matter will be settled outside of court," said Dr Wee during his speech on the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry’s allocation on Budget 2023 in Parliament on Wednesday (March 15).

"I said 'what is this? I did not mention the name of your company and your name. Why must you do this?'" questioned Dr Wee.

"I was just a spokesperson of the rakyat. This is an issue on the egg supply," added Dr Wee.

Dr Wee did not elaborate further on the individual named Deepak.

Recently, Perikatan Nasional information chief Datuk Seri Azmin Ali had also claimed that the government awarded the project to import eggs from India to controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan.

J&E subsequently refuted claims by Azmin, saying that it was a blatant lie by the Bersatu leader.

"J&E was never awarded any direct negotiation by the government nor did J&E offer to sell the eggs imported from India to the government or GLCs," said J&E on March 13.

On Feb 28, Agriculture and Food Security Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu stated that only one company was given the permission to import eggs from India and that is J&E Advance Tech Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, Dr Wee stressed that he had no vested interest on the issue and he has ordered his lawyers to file a writ of summons in court on Tuesday (March 14).

Dr Wee also noted that Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul had issued a letter to the Ayer Hitam MP, which cited the Federal Constitution that stated that MPs had legal immunity over matters raised in the Dewan Rakyat.

"This undermines the letter by the Speaker and the Parliamentary institution. We need to cite this as a contempt of Parliamentary proceedings," he said.

Datuk R. Ramanan (PH-Sungai Buloh) interjected and said that the call by "Deepak" was a form of intimidation.

Ramanan also said it could set a bad precedent if individuals continue to abuse the Prime Minister’s or the PMO’s name for their vested interests.

"This will land us in a situation where people will be using the Speaker's name in future," said Ramanan.

Dr Wee, who spoke subsequently, noted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had visited MCA’s Chinese New Year open house on Jan 22.

Dr Wee said he conveyed his concerns regarding the egg shortage issue to Anwar during that visit.

"I think this is not an instruction by the PM. Someone was misusing the PMO’s name," added Dr Wee.

Dr Wee stressed he will not be manipulated by any company to issue statements in their interests.

"We have a principle, that as a spokesperson of the people, we cannot be threatened in any form," added Dr Wee.

Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (PN-Arau), who spoke after Dr Wee, also wanted to know whether the person mentioned by Dr Wee was given the approval to import eggs from India.

Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin (PN-Putrajaya) then interjected Shahidan, asking the ministry to clarify a picture of a minister with a businessman that went viral on social media for going on a visit to India to see eggs.

"My question is, did any of the government allocation used for the visit, and whether it was brought to the Cabinet or is it a sponsored visit?," asked Radzi.

Shahidan then asked whether the question from Radzi was an accusation or merely to clarify the situation.

To this, Radzi said it was just a question for the ministry.

Over the course of less than a week, Dr Wee had received two legal letters from J&E Advanced Tech Sdn Bhd, one on Feb 28 and another on March 2.

The issue began on Feb 22 when Dr Wee raised the issue in the Dewan Rakyat while debating the motion of thanks on the Royal Address.

During his debate, He warned that the government would face a barrage of criticism if the chicken egg shortage was not resolved as Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri approaches.

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