KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — An MCA deputy minister found himself the target of criticism from angry Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers in Parliament today when he declared that the Selangor government has not built a single low-cost home in the state since it took over in 2008.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim made the claim when praising the federal administration for being considerate of the needs of the country’s lower-income group.
Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) immediately stood up to demand that Lim (picture) correct his statement, accusing the Selangor MCA chairman of lying to the House.
Other PR MPs rapped on their tables to support Pua, with several standing to record their disapproval of Lim’s remarks.
But Lim ignored the protests and told Pua to sit down, even calling the DAP publicity secretary and other PR lawmakers “uneducated”.
When the House resumed committee stage debates on Budget 2013, Pua rose from his seat again to cite Standing Order 36(12) against Lim for allegedly misleading the House with an incorrect statement.
Standing Order 36(12) stipulates: “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.”
“I refer to the deputy minister’s answer to the House where he said that Selangor never built any low-cost housing for Selangor folk.
“I request that he correct this statement because Selangor has built 23,637 low-cost housing units, including reviving 9,176 units of homes from abandoned housing projects,” he told the House, to loud table thumps from his fellow PR MPs.
But Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee refused to entertain Pua’s request, saying that he does not agree that Lim had violated the Standing Orders.
Interjecting, Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) said that Lim had not only violated the Standing Orders but had deliberately issued a statement to mislead the Dewan Rakyat.
He pointed out that as a deputy minister, Lim would have full access to information to ensure that all his replies in the House are accurate.
“This is the reality. I urge the Speaker to giver serious consideration to this issue so that we can make sure that all future replies in the House are issued responsibly,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference late, Pua pointed out that apart from Selangor, the PR-led government in Penang has also built some 12,000 low-cost homes and allocated RM500 million for the construction of another 18,000 units.
Claiming that this is the largest allocation in the country, Pua stressed that the responsibility of providing low-cost homes to the poor lies with the federal government and not the state.