STATE Legislative Assembly (DUN) speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar has ruled that the subject matters and issues raised in the motions of See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang), Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) and Baru Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan) were ‘in pari materia’ with the statement made by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing under Standing Order 11(1)(i) read together with Standing Order 22.
Masing had earlier given a statement to the august House on Sarawak’s autonomy and devolution of powers.
Asfia explained that the Latin term ‘in pari materia’ in English means ‘in the same manner’ or on the same subject relating to the same manner.
“The subject matters and issues raised in these motions had been dealt with by the honourable Deputy Chief Minister and Member for Baleh in his statement. On this ground, I shall not proceed with the motion dated Nov 9 by honourable member for Batu Lintang, one motion dated Nov 10, 2016 by honourable member for Kota Sentosa and the motion dated Nov 10 by the honourable member for Ba Kelalan,” he said when rejecting the three motions during the DUN sitting yesterday.
See, in his motion, was seeking to resolve and affirm the state’s determination to uphold territorial integrity of Sarawak to revivify the state’s sovereign rights to all resources discerned therein and to assert state autonomy.
Baru’s motion sought for the state government to take necessary measures to restore Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to its original form in order to exert the rightful status of Sarawak as an equal partner within the Federation of Malaysia.
Chong was seeking that the state government shall within one year from the date of passing of his motion implement the two resolutions passed by the august House on May 6, 2014 and Dec 8, 2015.
Further, Asfia cited the Hansard dated Dec 8, 2015, page 16 which saw Masing’s – then Land Development Minister – motion unanimously approved by the whole august House including those from the opposition.
“With the mandate unanimously given to the state government without any time frame, the state government would proceed to negotiate with BN government on all matters raised. The state government will make ‘continuous effort to pursue’ as stated in a motion tabled by the honourable member for Semop (Abdullah Saidol) on May 6, 2014 as reported on page 30 of the May 2014 official Hansard.”
In ruling that the three motions should not proceed, he said allowing the motions to proceed would contravene Standing Order 22 which did not allow any debate on the matters explained.
With regards to the issues raised by Chong in his second motion dated Nov 10 on the 450 million cubic feet of subsidised natural gas, Asfia said the motion was premised on the fact that the 450 million standard cubic feet per day of subsidised natural gas supplied was subsidised.
“To ascertain the veracity of this statement, reference would have to be made to the agreement between the state government and Petronas signed on April 4, 2016 as stated by the Minister for Public Utilities when tabling the Distribution of Gas Bill, 2016.
“The agreement has a strict confidential clause prohibiting disclosure to the public unless with consent of both parties. This has been decided by the Federal Court in the case of Malaysian Trade Unions Congress & Ors v. Menteri Tenaga, Air dan Komunikasi & Anor  2 CLJ 525.
“There is no evidence given to show that Petronas being the other party has consented to the disclosure of information on whether the price of natural gas was subsidised as alleged in the motion.”
Chong, in his motion, sought that the government cease the operation of gas fuel power generation and the state government renegotiate with Petronas to convert the supply of 450 million standard cubic feet per day of subsidised natural gas to subsidised liquid petroleum gas of equal value to reduce the average price of liquefied petroleum gas for households and small businesses throughout Sarawak.
Asfia said the motion sought to make available subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which meant seeking a grant or charge out of public revenue, adding that there was no proof that the Minister of Finance had signified in writing his consent for the motion to precede.
Accordingly, he said the motion for the above reason ought to be rejected on the ground of non-compliance with Standing Order 23(5).
“Further, this violates Standing Order 20(2)(f) which reads: ‘every question shall not seek information about any matter which is of its nature secret, or which cannot be disclosed by reasons of the provisions of the Official Secret Act.”
Asfia noted that the august House on Nov 21 passed and approved the Distribution of Gas Bill 2016.
He pointed out that the question that this House came to a conclusion included, inter alia, a principal agreement between the state and Petronas for the supply of 450 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of natural gas for the power and non-power sectors in the state and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct a joint study for the Sarawak Petrochemical Master Plan and a new 20-year Gas Sales Agreement (GSA) between Sarawak Energy Bhd and Petronas for the supply of 100 mmscfd of natural gas for the proposed new Kidurong Combined Cycle Power Plant.
“To allow a motion to debate on this same-subject matter which was passed and approved by this august House yesterday is tantamount to re-opening and rescinding the bill passed and violates Standing Order 32(3) which reads: ‘It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the Dewan has come to a conclusion during the current session except upon a substantive motion for rescission.”
Further, Asfia said the statement made by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing under Standing Order 11(1)(i) and Standing Order 22 directly touched on the same subject matter and therefore was ‘in pari materia’.
“To allow a debate would transgress Standing Order 22. Motion is dismissed.”
Source : The Borneo Post Online