Published on: Thursday, July 17, 2014
LIKAS Assemblyman Junz Wong was suspended for six months from the State Assembly, believed without pay, after he was found to have misled and lied to the House by the Rights and Privileges Committee.
A dejected Wong, who is a first-term assemblyman, had earlier pleaded to be given the benefit of the doubt. "I did not lie," he insisted moments before Speaker Datuk Salleh Tun Said made the ruling.
The motion to censure Wong was tabled by Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang who said Wong, who is also DAP Sabah organising secretary, had uploaded the picture of an injured woman who claimed to have been robbed and injured at the Suria shopping centre onto his Facebook page without obtaining confirmation on the authenticity of the picture.
Based on the hearings conducted by the Rights and Privileges Committee chaired by Salleh on June 15, Teo outlined several indisputable facts leading to the committee's decision that he be suspended.
He said among them was that Wong had claimed he posted the pictures because the woman had lodged a police report.
"But the police report was lodged only on Jan. 7 (2013) which was a day after the alleged incident while Wong had posted the pictures in his Facebook account on the day of the incident itself on Jan. 6.
"The Likas Assemblyman also added a comment to the uploaded picture with the words, "KK (Kota Kinabalu) is no longer safe for the public to walk around."
A few days later, the woman confessed that she had concocted the whole thing to gain attention from her parents.
The incident was reported in the newspapers and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan used the report in the Daily Express as evidence to show that Wong had lied and misled the House.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin, Christina Liew (PKR-Api Api) and Wong were given the opportunity by the Speaker to debate the motion.
However, Salleh said it seemed that Wong did not have anything new to add to his testimony that was heard by the Committee.
Lajim on the other hand after making his speech appealed for lenience from the Speaker since Wong is a new and young assemblyman.
"I agree that he should be penalised but it should not be too harsh provided he does not repeat it.
I propose that he be suspended only for one session," he said.