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LETTER | Don't pre-empt the Dewan Rakyat speaker

LETTER | Bersatu Youth chief and Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal was reported on Friday to have submitted an emergency motion to Dewan Rakyat speaker Johari Abdul on Thursday.

The motion called for a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat to be held so that the Attorney-General (AG) could explain Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).

Anwar was also reported on Friday to have said that Zahid’s DNAA could not be debated in a special sitting. He added that Parliament could not be transformed into a courtroom to discuss the prosecution’s decision to request a DNAA, which was granted by judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Anwar’s statement has come under the criticism of Perikatan Nasional parliamentary whip Takiyuddin Hassan, who said that the prime minister has pre-empted a decision that should be made by the Dewan Rakyat speaker.

The former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) said that it was solely within the speaker’s jurisdiction and discretion to decide whether to accept or reject a motion to debate Zahid’s DNAA.

The prime minister did not have any powers or right to determine or decide based on the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders (SO).

Takiyuddin is right.

Under SO No 18(2), it is for the speaker to refuse leave to allow the motion unless he is satisfied that the matter is definite, urgent, and of public importance.

Under SO No 18(7) the speaker may also refuse to allow any motion submitted to him if he is satisfied that: (a) the mover intends only to take the opportunity to address the Dewan Rakyat; or (b) the matter has been discussed in the current session and clarification given by the government on the said matter; or (c) any motion contravenes any of the provisions of the SOs.

That said, Takiyuddin is entitled to his view that Parliament could debate Zahid’s DNAA.

“This matter should be able to be discussed by the public, what more by members of Parliament in an official forum of public interest in the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

He added that it was increasingly necessary and pressing for Zahid’s DNAA to be debated in Parliament since it impacts not only the legal and judicial institutions but also the image and integrity of both the government and the country in the eyes of Malaysians and the international community.

But so is Anwar.

Both Takiyuddin and Anwar are entitled to their views, for and against the motion. It is for the speaker to decide, like he decided to reject the emergency motion of Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to debate the controversial littoral combat ship project.

The speaker can decide under SO No 18(2) or (7). Don’t preempt him.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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