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Last Update: 14 Nov 2018
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‘No grounds to refer Masing to Committee of Privileges’
Posted on : 30 Aug 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post online
 

‘No grounds to refer Masing to Committee of Privileges’

August 30, 2018, Thursday Marilyn Ten and Jeremy Veno, reporters@theborneopost.com

 

Asfia (centre) pointing at the overall plan and work packages for the proposed second trunk road map while flanked by Ng (left) and Chai. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Speaker Datuk Amar Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar has said that Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing did not breach his privilege in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) by misleading the assembly with inconsistencies in his three speeches concerning the Second Trunk Road Project.

He was responding to Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How’s application for Leave and Notice on Aug 24 seeking to refer Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, to the Committee of Privileges.

The Notice also claimed that Masing had breached the privileges of DUN under Standing Order 73 and had made three speeches with different presentations on the project as recorded in the Hansard dated Nov 16, 2017, Hansard dated July 17, 2018 and in an interview with an online news portal on Aug 21, 2018.

“After perusing through the three speeches and studying carefully the Second Trunk Road Project, I am of the considered view that no breach of Privilege had been committed by the Deputy Chief Minister.

“The subject matter, namely, the Second Trunk Road Project and all the details mentioned in the three speeches are substantially, fundamentally and materially the same,” he told a press conference at the Media Room of DUN Building here yesterday.

Asfia pointed out that there were neither ‘recklessness’ nor ‘negligence’ committed in the two speeches and interview.

“The Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation had committed none of these and See Chee How had not proven that the Deputy Chief Minister had been reckless and/or negligent; let alone trying to mislead the Dewan.”

He explained that the statement in DUN on Nov 16, 2017 described the proposed second trunk road and initial concept and identification of preliminary line from Kuching to Sibu while the second statement on July 17, 2018 described the finalised scope of the proposed second trunk road after the value assessment lab was conducted from Feb 6 to 9, 2018.

He revealed that the Second Trunk Road Project consists of Package A stretching for 112km (Kota Samarahan to Roban); Package B at 94km (Sebuyau to Sri Aman/Betong); and Package C at 30km (Jalan Kelupu/Tanjung Genting to Lanang Road – upgrading to four-lane dual carriageway).

“The finalised scope will be utilising the existing road from Kuching to Samarahan and the existing Roban to Kelupu/Julau/Durin (KJD) junction via Pan Borneo Highway.”

On the statement published in the online news portal on August 21, 2018, Asfia said the article quoted the distance from Kota Samarahan to Sibu (235km) and not the scope of the proposed second trunk road.

“It quoted the distance from Kota Samarahan to Kuching but not the scope of the proposed second trunk road.

“All the explanations stated are consistent and there are no three different versions as to the scope of proposed second trunk road project.”

In view of this, he said that there was no inconsistency, contradiction or attempt to mislead that would constitute an offence under Standing Order 73.

“As such, the honourable Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation shall not be referred to the Committee of Privileges,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, he also explained that an elected representative of the Dewan can submit an application for leave and notice when DUN is not in session.

“This can come under Standing Order 73(b) while DUN is not sitting. Later it can be brought up when the Dewan sits in November.

“But before it comes, I must clarify that the Deputy Chief Minister had not committed recklessness and negligence because there is no inconsistencies,” he reiterated.

Also present at the press conference were Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation project coordinator Philip Ng and Public Works Department deputy state director (Infrastructure) Chai Tse Jin.