Nov 28, 2006

Lim Kit Siang branded as "unpatriotic" in parliament

Stir Over Proposed Salary Cut

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 (Bernama) -- A stir broke out in the Dewan Rakyat Monday during a debate on the Supply Bill 2007 at the Education Ministry's Committee level when Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers objected to a proposal by Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) for a salary cut.

Lim had proposed a RM10 cut in the salaries of Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, his two deputies - Datuk Hon Choon Kim and Datuk Noh Omar, and the ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Komala Devi because there was no allocation for Chinese and Tamil national-type schools in the Budget 2007 and the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP).

The backbenchers accused Lim of being unpatriotic for attempting to raise racial politics by bringing up issues on the national-type schools and chided him for making fun of the Education Minister's action in kissing a "kris" at the recent Umno general assembly.

The backbenchers were also irked with Lim for bringing up the issue on the alleged misappropriation of funds for a Chinese school as was raised by Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Ong Kee Teat some time ago.

Among those who objected to Lim's proposal for the salary cut were Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainudin Raja Omar (BN-Larut), Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin (BN-Jerai) and Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading).

Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said the government had never neglected the needs of any races, especially on education.

Meanwhile, Badruddin said various initiatives were taken by the government to develop the country's education sector.

"Facilities are provided in the urban, rural and interior areas. The government also abolishes examination fees so that all children are not deprived of proper education," he added.

He said the government's move to take action against parents who did not send their children to schools proved the government's commitment and the importance of education.

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