KUALA LUMPUR: Communication and Multimedia Minister Â Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek today raps an opposition Member of Parliament forÂ his shallow understanding of statehood and current issues.
Ahmad Shabery had corrected a statement by Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) whenÂ Lim asked the government to stress on National Day which is celebrated on SeptÂ 16, when submitting his supplementary question, during a question-and-answerÂ session in Dewan Rakyat here.
“I feel the honourable Member of Parliament does not understand what isÂ Independence Day and National Day. I feel sad. We have Independence DayÂ celebration and Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16.
“Until now, there are still honourable Members of Parliament who are stillÂ confused which is Independence Day and which is Malaysia Day. It reflects theÂ views and attitudes of members of the elected representatives from your party,”Â he said.
Lim, in another supplementary question, asked Ahmad Shabery whether theÂ Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be imposed on the Merdeka Day celebrationÂ nextÂ year.
The question also drew criticism from Ahmad Shabery who asked Lim on howÂ to claim GST payment from the public who wanted to take part in the celebrationÂ at Dataran Merdeka.
“I feel the honourable Member of Parliament seriously lacks understanding onÂ the issues of statehood and GST,” he said.
In his original reply, Ahmad Shabery said the cost of celebratingÂ Independence Day was RM13.9 million in 2010, RM14.1 million (2011), RM20 millionÂ (2012 and 2013) and RM17 million (2014).
He said 400,000 to 500,000 people had taken part in events held during theÂ celebration this year while private sector sponsorship was RM10 million.
He also refuted an allegation by Lim at the relatively lower expenditureÂ this year, citing the government wanted to tone down the celebration followingÂ the incidents involving two Malaysia Airline aircraft in March and July.
He explained that the allocation for Independence Day celebration this yearÂ was decided last year, with no inkling the MH370 and MH17 incidents wouldÂ happen.
He said the merriment of the celebration could be had without incurringÂ additional costs from the government, for example, via contributions and theÂ support of the private sector.
This included private theatre operators initiative since last year to playÂ the ‘Negara Ku’ for the duration of the celebration.
“I find many back this matter. But it was criticised by the honourable DAPÂ member from Kuching (Chong Chieng Jen),” he said, referring to the TwitterÂ statement of Chong on Sept 16 which criticised the initiative as an “absoluteÂ disgrace and ridiculous”.
He said the government also practiced prudent spendings in celebratingÂ important national patriotic days.
Ahmad Shabery also told the Dewan Rakyat that the government would retainÂ the tradition of celebrating several major events of Independence Day.
“For example, the parade at Dataran Merdeka, because it has its history.Â Dataran Merdeka is not where we hold demonstrations but it is a noble place forÂ celebrating independence. It is among the matters which has been set,” heÂ added.– BERNAMA