Lim Kit Siang warns of '1MDB monster'

Malaysian opposition veteran suspended from Parliament says he is 'the latest victim'

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian opposition veteran Lim Kit Siang has warned against the "1MDB monster" that is "stalking the land devouring critics", saying he was its latest victim when he was suspended from Parliament for six months from Thursday.

Mr Lim, 74, will have to stay out of the House for the next half-year after he was thrown out by a majority vote for allegedly insulting Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia about how the investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga were being poorly handled by a parliamentary committee.

The suspension motion, filed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said, said Mr Lim accused Tan Sri Pandikar of abusing his power and "sabotaging" investigations into 1MDB. The motion was passed after a vote of 107 ayes versus 77 nays - the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has a comfortable majority in the House.

Mr Lim, who is MP for Gelang Patah in Johor, said in a statement yesterday: "I was only the latest victim of the 1MDB monster, which had already claimed many highly placed casualties."

He said other critics of debt-laden 1MDB had been dealt with by the government, including former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and rural development minister Shafie Apdal, who were removed from their posts by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

'MANY HIGHLY PLACED CASUALTIES'

I was only the latest victim of the 1MDB monster, which had already claimed many highly placed casualties.

MR LIM KIT SIANG, on his six-month suspension from Parliament

Datuk Seri Najib also removed attorney-general Gani Patail and shuffled out BN politicians in Parliament's Public Accounts Committee who were investigating 1MDB.

Since the parliament session started following the 2013 general election, several opposition MPs have been suspended.

MP N. Surendran was twice suspended for six months each time in November 2013 and June last year, while Mr Gobind Singh Deo and Mr Lim Lip Eng were booted out of the House for two days during the start of the current parliament session on Monday.

MP Liew Chin Tong, the Democratic Action Party's chief in Johor, said Mr Lim is unbowed.

"Fifty years in politics, he is still the man the powers-that-be feared and still the ultimate symbol of defiance and anti-establishment.

"Barred from entering Parliament for half a year, Kit Siang is on a new journey to meet Malaysians from all walks of life," said Mr Liew.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Lim Kit Siang warns of '1MDB monster''. Print Edition | Subscribe