Sunday, April 13, 2014

No penalty for deputy minister’s U-turn

The Dewan Rakyat Speaker decides not to refer Abdul Rahim Bakri to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia today ruled that Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri did not confuse the House with his conflicting statements relating to MH370.
The Kudat MP escaped being referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee on the ground that he had no intention to mislead.
Pandikar Amin said: “To determine whether a statement uttered in the Dewan is misleading, the following principles can be used as guidance: is the statement misleading; when making the statement, was the deputy minister aware it was false and inaccurate; when making the statement, did the deputy minister intend to mislead the House.
“Based on those principles and the deputy minister’s explanation in his letter to me, I have decided that there was no intent to mislead the House when the statement was made.”
On March 26, Abdul Rahim gave an explanation to Parliament of the air force’s failure to probe an extraordinary blip that appeared on its radar some time in the wee hours of March 8. He said it was thought that the aircraft was not hostile and had received a directive from air traffic control in Subang to turn back.
But the next day, he released a brief statement saying his remarks represented his own assumptions and were not accurate.
Abdul Rahim’s statements prompted Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng of DAP to move a motion to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
Upon hearing Pandikar’s decision, Lim argued that stern action should be taken to prevent Cabinet members from making statements in the Dewan that conflicted with statements they made outside.
“Which is true? He said in the Dewan that it was the air force’s assumption. Outside the Dewan he said it was his own assumption,” Lim said.
“If we don’t take serious action against him, all ministers and deputy ministers will say one thing inside the Dewan and another thing outside the Dewan. I am not satisfied and hope that the Speaker will reconsider this.”
Pandikar replied: “According to him, what he mentioned in the Dewan was his own assumption, and this was made clear in the statement he made outside.
“After taking all into consideration, I do not see that he had any ill intent.”
Flight MH370 went missing during a routine flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing, carrying 239 passengers and crew.
It has been established that the jetliner deviated from its original flight path.
Many commentators have said a telephone call from the military to air traffic control could have averted the crisis.
'Rahim didn't confuse House with assumption'

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