Taib Mahmud digging hole to bury himself with preposterous bill to silence the Opposition?

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud sounded very brave last weekend when addressing Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers in Damai Resort in a seminar with the most inappropriate topic, namely “The role of political leaders: integrity and development”.

In the Star report headlined “Taib: Use law to fight back”, the Sarawak Chief Minister was quoted as telling Sarawak Barisan Nasional State Assembly members: “Fight any smear campaign bravely.”

This has reminded everyone of Taib’s 48-hour ultimatum to Malaysiakini to remove several articles concerning accusations of corruption allegedly linked to him and his family after the Japan Times report implicating Taib in a scandal involving RM32 million in kickbacks paid by Japanese shipping companies for timber from the resource-rich state.

Seventeen days have passed since the expiry of Taib’s 48-hour ultimatum to Malaysiakini to remove the “offensive” articles or he would institute legal proceedings to clear his name and reputation.

Why hasn’t Taib instituted legal proceedings yet?

In his speech last week, Taib told Sarawak BN backbenchers:

“Don’t fear. We have to fight it out.

“I will show you how we can protect ourselves through the legal system.”

Everyone thought Taib was reassuring Sarawak BN backbenchers that he would be instituting legal proceedings against Malaysiakini and others to clear his name when he spoke about using the legal system to “fight back” but everyone was wrong.

It is now clear that what Taib meant was the misuse and abuse of the tyranny of the BN majority in the Sarawak State Assembly to enact laws to hamper, impede and obstruct the freedom of speech and action of Opposition representatives in the Sarawak State Assembly.

New Sunday Times yesterday under its story “Throwing a dare in the House will land you a fine” reported a new bill, Dewan Undangan Negeri (Privileges and Powers) Bill 2007 which will be tabled in the Sarawak State Assembly in its meeting from May 14-23.

Under the Bill, a member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly will be fined up to RM2,000 on the spot if he challenges another member to a fight or issues a threatening letter while the assembly is in session.

If the member does not pay the fine immediately, he or she will be sent to prison until the fine is paid or until the state assembly is dissolved.

A member will also be fined if he or she creates or joins in any disturbance inside the House or in its vicinity where any proceedings are or are likely to be interrupted.

The Bill also creates other offences, including:

  • assaulting, obstructing or insulting any member coming to or going from the House or on account of his conduct in the assembly or endeavouring to compel any member by force, insult, or menace to declare himself in favour of or against any proposition;
  • tampering with, deterring, threatening, beguiling, or in any way unduly influencing any witness in regard to evidence to be given by him before the House or any committee;
  • presenting to the House or to any committee any false, untrue, fabricated or falsified document with intent to deceive the House or any committee;
  • the publication of any false or scandalous libel on any member touching on his conduct as a member; and
  • the publication of any report of a committee of the House or of any evidence given or any document presented to such committee or extracts from such documents, before such committee has presented its report to the House.

The bill also seeks to give power to the speaker of the state legislative assembly to order the arrest of any person for causing disturbance during the sitting of the House.

The person, after being arrested, might be sent to jail according to the tenor of the warrant.

These new proposals to hamper, obstruct and impede the freedom of speech and action of Sarawak State Assembly members are most undemocratic, preposterous and obnoxious, demonstrating the fear of the Sarawak Chief Minister and the State Cabinet in being engaged by the six DAP State Assembly members in the Sarawak State Assembly in a open and no-holds-barred debate in the past year.

Clearly, Taib wants to use the brute majority of the Sarawak BN in the State Assembly to enact laws with punitive sanctions including jail sentences to silence the Opposition.

What Taib is proposing in the new bill is a major step backwards for the development of parliamentary democracy and makes a total mockery of the country’s claim that it is committed to the system of parliamentary democracy, particularly when the country is celebrating its 50th Merdeka anniversary which coincides with the 43rd Malaysia Day marking Sarawak and Sabah’s entry and creation of the Malaysian federation.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should advise the Sarawak Chief Minister to drop the ludicrous bill to hamper, impede and obstruct freedom of speech and action of State Assembly representatives, as it will make Malaysia a laughing stock in the world with regard to our retrograde parliamentary practices.

Alternatively, Taib Mahmud should agree to refer the Bill to an all-party Select Committee of the State Assembly, which could hold public hearings and consultations to seek public views and inputs.

I am attracted by another provision in the new bill, which seeks to compel any member to disclose his direct pecuniary interests before he takes part in any discussion in the House or any of its committees. He faces a fine of RM2,000 if he fails to disclose his interests and if the fine is not paid immediately, he will be sent to jail until it is settled.

Is Taib Mahmud digging a hole to bury himself, for he and his family have such extensive interests in business and economic interests in the state that he would have to first reveal his pecuniary interests not only every time he speaks, but probably a dozen times in a major speech, if he is to comply with this new rule.

Will Taib be fined or sent to prison if he fails to disclose his pecuniary interests when he takes part in any discussion in the State Assembly or its committees?

  1. #1 by Rocky on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 9:57 am

    This is BN Govt, Cemerlang, Gemilang and Terbilang. They are taking away rights of all Malaysians. I almost puked when Chan Kong Choy said the govt does what the people want! Ha ha! We wand the ACA under the parliament as pointed out by a survey. Bolehkah?

    we want our rights that is protected by the constitution instead of being steam rolled by the BN govt and the civil service? Bolehkah?

    BN govt temberang!!!

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 11:09 am

    Taib is a dinasaur that has to be removed before he does further permanent damage to the government of Sarawak. What he is doing, to protect his interest, is to destroy and semblance of check that could be severely abused by even weaker leaders after him.

    Taib is dangerous person, no less in the tradition of the likes of Castro, Chavez and cult-dicatators and tribal warlords.

  3. #3 by Godfather on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 11:18 am

    I really pity the people of Sarawak. To have this clown as the Chief Minister for so long, and for him to continue talking nonsense is such a tragedy.

  4. #4 by dawsheng on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 11:20 am

    Taib Mahmud might as well declares himself as the new Rajah of Sarawak if he gets his way on the new bill. Sarawakians better be prepared for the worst case scenario that Sarawak will soon become desert under their new king. When Sarawak perished Taib will act senile just like Suharto, Sarawakians only have themselves to blame for their ill-fated tragedy of their own choice.

  5. #5 by negarawan on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 11:47 am

    Why has gangsterism thrived under Taib’s rule? Why hasn’t he done anything to curb gangsterism activities in the state? Taib is a failure and has caused immeasurable damage to Sarawak in the process of enriching his own family. This is what BN is all about.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 11:47 am

    The question is whether Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud could use his parliamentary majority in Sarawak legislative assembly to push through the new bill, Dewan Undangan Negeri (Privileges and Powers) Bill 2007 (which will be tabled in the Sarawak State Assembly in its meeting from May 14-23) the effect of which is to silence Opposition members raising allegations of corruption by threats and grounds of libel/defamation.

    Would this be constitutional?

    I thought Parliament and state legislative assemblies serve as the forum for criticism and the focus of public opinion on national affairs. Through debates in Parliament, and state legislative assemblies, the policies and actions of the Federal and state government are kept attuned to the state of public opinion.

    To enable Parliament to undertake fully and effectively the responsibilities entrusted to it, the Constitution confers certain rights and legal immunities designated as “Parliamentary Privileges”. These “privileges” are enjoyed by each House as a whole and by individual Member of Parliament. I assume that these privileges are available to Legislative assemblies as well. Am I wrong on this?

    If I were otherwise right, then that bill, proposed by Taib Mahmud should be invalid to the extent that it conflicts and is inconsistent with parliamentary privileges protected by our Constitution.

  7. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 12:24 pm

    Taib is a dying politician clutching at straws.

    So long, farewell, Taib. And be sure to turn in your grave!

    What a shame leaving so much shit behind just before you go. What an end! What a disgrace! What a Humpty-Dumpty! And what a fall!

    And, oh, Taib, what a hypocrite! All that religion on your sleeve. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Now enjoy the whirlwinds from sowing your wild oats. Ta, ta.

  8. #8 by Libra2 on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 12:29 pm

    This is meant for the opposition members. BN members will somehow escape punishment.

  9. #9 by pwcheng on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 1:13 pm

    Marcos had rose from the grave and migrated to Sarawak. Hope the people of Sarawak will also rise like the Philippinoes with the People Power to drive out this corrupted Marcos before Sarawak before Sarawak becomes another Philippines.
    BN is rotten to the core and YB Kit why are you stressing so much on the country celebrating its 50th Merdeka anniversary. It serves no purpose as it makes no difference whether it is 50 years or 100 years. We will definitely be worst than Somalia if we have to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Merdeka under the BN.
    Looking at things I think I cannot very much be wrong. The signal is already is already there. It has started with the ceiling, next will be the roof and then the walls before the whole building collapse. We can only hope that it will happen during weekend or holiday so that nobody get killed or injured.

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 1:28 pm

    God help Sarawakians.

  11. #11 by smeagroo on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 1:33 pm

    legal action? As always they talk more than showing us that they can act appropriately. USe force la u thug!

  12. #12 by Jonny on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 1:55 pm

    In this country, there are two sets of rules for the categories:
    1. Muslims & non-Muslims
    2. Govt & Opposition
    3. Rich, Well-connected & The Poor, Commoner.

    And we are the stupidest of all who vote them back again and again into power. Very sadomasochism.

  13. #13 by democrate on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 2:02 pm

    Tai Mahmud is another Marcos otherwise Suharto will do too!
    Anyway he is old and sick now it seems, he is not going to carry his wealth when he dies. Datang ke dunia dgn bogel balik ke sana pun bogel lah, he is not enjoying with all the dirty money. God bless him!

  14. #14 by hasilox on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 2:28 pm

    Desperate time calls for desperate measures. Is he so desperate that he has to turn sarawak into a communist state to cover his failures and wrongdoings?

  15. #15 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 3:19 pm

    I think the opposition has so many different channels to voice out. The State Assembly is not the only place to do so. I urge the opposition to voice out more often, and don’t hold it until the time of election. The mentality of the people has changed over the years and they need to see some very fast reactions from the opposition on any big subjects.

    The media has reported that a deputy federal minister, an existing state minister and an ex-MP were involved in harboring the gangsters in Sarawak. It seems like Sibu is going to change. Shall there be a by election due to the arrest of these VIPs, the opposition should win this time.

  16. #16 by haroldz on Monday, 7 May 2007 - 4:10 pm

    I read d article in borneo post.
    Tain clearly endorsed cronism.
    He will stay s swak CM s long s it take a Tun-ship.
    Then he can bcome TYT of sarawak.

  17. #17 by accountability on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 5:12 am

    very common nowadays to hear corrupt govt officials trying to abuse the law by trying to implement biased & self-serving rules to silence those who have proof of their crimes

  18. #18 by greenacre on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 10:39 am

    The haze may come back and someone with his family may go missing or pissing in a cozy backyard.

  19. #19 by goldenscreen on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:50 pm

    Taib or taib, you can forget about the Chinese support in the next election – what with the crap on the land lease status, monopoly of business by your cronies and family, corruption throughout the Sarawak government and its component parties, the fostering of close ties to gangsters, treating the Chinese as a mosquito to be ruled by the thumb of PBB, you can go to hell and don’t dream of being pardoned ever in your life. Our very own little Suharto.

    Anybody know when the police is going to arrest the 3 VIP politicians in Sibu? Then can have another buy-election…only this time I don’t think it will quite work out for the BN.

  20. #20 by SadSarawakian on Friday, 6 July 2007 - 11:13 am

    i am one of the sad sarawakians, who can do nothing but watch helplessly, as this man continues to wreck havoc on the state, its resources, and the future. I am proud to be a Sarawakian, but this man has brought so much shame and dishonour to our state.

    Outside people must think that Sarawakians must be morons to allow him to continue his tyranny and grandiose schemes to further pursue this endless need for greed.


  21. #21 by kevin on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:26 pm

    fxxk the bill
    its enough for him to earn 32 million ringgit,but he cnt stop our freedom of speech!

    sarawak will be not the same after merdeka,before that u must get out,old man!sarawak need a change!

  22. #22 by do_fair on Sunday, 30 September 2007 - 4:26 pm

    KUCHING CITY face a big problem. The rubbish collection price very high. what is going on? some thing must going wrong!!! Where the money going?? it was award to a company. Hope ACA N DAP can take action on it.. have a check.


    Sebaik bangun dari tidur, tatkala mata memandang tong sampah kita sudah melihat kerakusan Taib kerana pengurusan sampah di bawah Dewan Bandaraya Kuching Utara hanya memerlukan RM1 juta setahun sebaik diurus syarikat milik juak-juak Taib kosnya meningkat RM3 juta setahun.

    Tidak lama lagi sistem pelupusan najis yang dijangka menelan belanja RM6 bilion setahun bagi bandaraya Kuching sudah semestinya menjadi milik Taib.

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