DAP's Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng may be forgiven for feeling like Paul the Octopus - he has to choose between two different replies to a similar question before Parliament.
The Home Ministry has issued a written reply to his question on the Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat (Gertak) rally, although it would not respond when party colleague and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo asked for similar information earlier.
Yesterday, Lim questioned the validity of the reply to his question on whether the Gertak rally was deemed seditious, since it was originally to have been held on May 13 - the anniversary of the country's worst racial riots in 1969. He also asked if investigations are underway. Gobind had asked the government on June 4 whether it supported the Gertak rally and if not, what kind of action could be taken against the organisers. A written reply to Gobind quoted Standing Order 23(1)(h): 'A question cannot be posed with the intent to garner opinion or settlement with regard to an outstanding legal matter which is not yet became a motion or in order to get an answer using conjecture.'
However, Lim was told that the rally was “cancelled following protests from various quarters who were confused over the date chosen for the event”. "The programme received opposition and negative feedback from several people. However, only one memorandum and two police reports were made to express grievances.” The reply further stated that the police have concluded that the rally - eventually held on June 14 in the Terengganu indoor stadium - posed no threat to public order and security. "So what is real answer - the rejection or the reply to me?" he asked.
Two cabinet ministers had caused confusion with their written parliamentary replies in recent weeks, but had blamed the error on their respective officers. This was respectively on the issuance of the sports betting licence and the purported relocation of Parliament House to Putrajaya.
Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) was told that the government would still offer the sports betting licence to Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, even after a decision had been made to call off the contentious proposal. Earlier, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz had to apologise for a misleading reply to Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka) and to clarify that the apparent relocation of Parliament House was only a proposal by the Public Works Department.