by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, Sept 15,1990:
If Ooi Ean Kwong’s interpretation is right, that the Penang Assembly had ‘forgotten’ to specify the period of suspension for Karpal Singh and myself, then he is most incompetent and totally unfit to be Speaker
Penang Assembly Speaker, Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong, is so afraid that Karpal Singh and I will appear at the next Penang Assembly meeting to question and expose him on his violation of the Penang Constitution by being unconstitutionally and unlawfully involved in business that he called a press conference yesterday to declare that both of us are still barred from the Penang Assembly.
He claimed that under Section 5(3) of the Standing Orders, our suspension will last until the Assembly determined otherwise.
Section 5(3) reads: “If a member be suspended under the provisions of this Order, his suspension shall last until determined by the Assembly.”
If Ooi Ean Kwong’s interpretation is right, then he is claiming that when the Penang Assembly suspended Karpal and I in June, the Assembly ‘forgot’ to specify the period of suspension.
If this is the case, then Ooi Ean Kwong is most incompetent and totally unfit to be Speaker of the Penang Assembly. He should have ensured that the motion of suspension was complete and in order. What he is suggesting is akin to a judge passing a jail sentence on a person, but forgetting to specify the period of hail sentence. Just as such a judge does not deserve to continue to sit on the bench, similarly, a Speaker who allows an incomplete motion of suspension to be passed without specifying the period of suspension is not fit to continue as Speaker.
What Section 5(3) means is very simple and straightforward, that the period of suspension should be determined by the Assembly, and this must be contained in the original motion of suspension itself. Otherwise, the Assembly was acting in a most irresponsible manner!
If the suspension is to be for an indefinite period, then the motion must spell it out. If the motion is silent on the period of suspension, then its implication is very clear, that it does not extend beyond the Assembly sitting, and in our case, not beyond the June meeting of the Assembly.
Penang Assembly a ‘laughing stock’ because of its ‘forgetfulness’
Out of his fear of facing Karpal and e in the next Assembly sitting, Ooi Ean Kwong prefers to make the Penang Assembly the laughing stock of the country by claiming that when the Barisan Nasional Assembly suspended us from the Assembly, they did it in a moment of forgetfulness, to the extent that they forgot to specific the period of our suspension.
It is significant that Ooi Ean Kwong has made this claim only after his illegal involvement in business was publicly exposed.
I will like to know the stand of the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, a western Chief Minister for the past 20 years. Has Chong Eu been in his post for so long that he is also suffering from bouts of forgetfulness, that he could allow a motion of suspension from be tabled by a Barisan Nasional Executive Councillor which forgot to specify the period of suspension?
The people of Penang must be getting alarmed that the Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, could make more and more of such slip-ups – especially in his most unsatisfactory handling of the case of the Penang Speaker violating the Penang Constitution by being involved in business.
Ooi Ean Kwong had responded to my challenge on Sept 1 with the immediate claim that Sun Lee & Co., the company he had operated from December 1986 to March 1989 although he was prohibited by the Constitution from being involved in business, did not have a ‘very active’ bank account.
But when I next challenged him to deny that the Sun Lee & co. had operated hundreds of cheques during that period of 27 months, there has been complete silence from Ooi Ean Kwong.
The silence of Ooi Ean Kwong, and his attempt to exclude Karpal and I from future Assembly sittings, as well as the silence by Dr. Lim Chong Eu, show that the Penang Gerakan State Government has a lot of things to hide in this case.
The people of Penang will be able to judge the real reason why Ooi Ean Kwong, with the full support of Dr. Lim Chong Eu, is trying to exclude Karpal and I from appearing in the future meetings of the Assembly.