Earlier today, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said that he will investigate claims that Najib misled the Parliament with his Budget 2017 speech.
It was in response to a motion filed by DAP Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim against the Prime Minister.
Apparently Steven Sim and my favourite MP Ong Kian Ming cited an example where Najib said Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission will receive an allocation of RM1 billion to improve the quality of broadband services and expand coverage nationwide BUT the Communication and Multimedia Ministry, MCMC's parent Ministry, has a line item of RM57.5 million as “development expenditure” for a “Broadband Project”.
For transparency, here's the budget speech line that Najib said
"207. At the same time, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will provide RM1 billion to ensure the coverage and quality of broadband nationwide reaches up to 20 megabytes per second."
Here's the Federal Expenditure Document for the Communication and Multimedia Ministry which Steven and Ong Kian Ming referred to.
Zoom in to the last line:
Looks like Najib screwed up? I don't think so.
Let me make it clear here that the Budget was prepared by thousands of civil servants and combed through thoroughly by the Prime Minister, Second Finance Minister and the main man - Treasurer General. In fact, preparations begin every year as early as March.
No one, I repeat, no one, make mistakes when it comes to the Budget. Those in the due diligence line can be charged, suspended or sacked.
In this case, there are only two people who misled the August House - Steven Sim and Ong Kian Ming.
I do not have details on the Communications and Multimedia Ministry but based on my knowledge, there could be two reasons.
1. It is a staggered investment by the Government. OR
2. Here's probably why - the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund.
The USP fund was established under provision of Section 204 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. (Here's the Law, here's the latest Annual Report)
The implementation of this law started many, many years ago. It started off with a RM30 million fund by the Government in 2002.
Any telecommunications company whose weighted net revenue exceeds RM 2 million will have to contribute 6 percent of their earnings from designated services to the USP fund.
In fact, during Rais Yatim's days, it was heavily discussed in the media and by senior bloggers like Rockybru, politicians such as Wee Choo Keong.
A fair question next - what is this fund used for?
It is used primarily to provide access to communications in underserved areas and to underserved groups. In simple terms, broadband penetration and mobile network coverage.
However, the Fund has also been used for various other initiatives such as to upgrade our facilities (ie not just coverage lah, quality too).
Take for example, if you look under Suburban Broadband (SUBB) initiative, the USP fund is used to provide broadband infrastructure with speed up to 20Mbps in suburban and rural areas by upgrading the exchanges, the core network and the cabinet.
Again, in simple terms, it means that the cabling and communications tower will be able to provide better internet connections and speed.
Now, who misled the public and the Parliament?
Not too long ago in May, Ong Kian Ming actually wrote about USP here: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/339882
And not too long ago on 21 May 2015, this 20 megabits per second story was spelled out in the 11th Malaysia Plan, page 7-28.
Takkan dah lupa dan tak baca? Was it the time when you were photographed to be sleeping in Parliament?
And today you claimed that the Prime Minister misled the Parliament?
Countless times we have seen Ong Kian Ming create drama only to be embarrassed the next day. Yet, the media continue to entertain him and publish his nonsensical statements despite his poor credibility over the years. And today, even the Speaker fell into his trap.
Tan Sri Speaker, the only ones who misled the August House were both Steven Sim and Ong Kian Ming.