The Pakatan Rakyat state government does not practise what it preaches when it comes to freedom of information and open discussion as the decision by the rights and privileges committee of the Selangor legislative assembly shows the administration is bent on silencing critics, former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo said today.
Commenting on his impending suspension together with four fellow Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen the Sungai Panjang state assemblyman, he said the move also reeked of revenge.
"We regret the Speaker (Teng Chang Khim) has resorted to this cruel act of muzzling assemblymen who give constructive criticism," Mohd Khir told the media at his office in Glenmarie.
"I can take it if they want to suspend me for one year for not attending the select committee on competency, accountability and transparency (Selcat) hearing but suspending the four other assemblyman for suggesting that the hearing should be held behind closed doors and not be made a political game is not right.
"What they have done goes against all they have been proclaiming about freedom of information." he said, adding that this will not stop BN assemblymen from speaking up.
Mohd Khir faces up to a year’s suspension and also stands to lose his allowance of more than RM4,000 a month and other perks such as claims for office phone, driver, entertainment and special allowances. In addition, he faces a six-month suspension for each of three insulting statement he made about the Selcat in his blog and the media, as well as loss of allowance and perks.
His colleagues Datuk Warno Dogol (Sabak), Mohd Isa Abu Kasim (Batang Kali), Datuk Marsum Paing (Dengkil) and Datuk Mohamed Idris Abdu Bakar (Hulu Bernam) each face a six-month suspension and loss of allowances and perks for making statements that defamed the assembly.
The Selcat hearing was held to scrutinise the excesses of the now defunct wives of Selangor BN parliamentarians and state assemblymen welfare organization (Balkis) which was headed by Mohd Khir’s wife Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik before it was dissolved following the fall of BN in Selangor during 2008 general election.
"If Selcat is really serious about upholding transparency and accountability they should check on several matters in the state government," Mohd Khir said, citing, among others, the awarding of tenders, profits from sand mining, the involvement of state executive councillor Liu in stopping Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) officers from carrying out their duties, the appointment of contractors in the local authorities and the Klang bus station fiasco.