'Not allowing debate on Act 355 is an assault on Parliament'

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MP SPEAKS | It's been a few days now since the first Parliament sitting ended, but the last two days of the proceedings stick out like pointy edges, nudging me to write down my thoughts.

The developments leading to the parliamentary debate on the Syariah Act amendments (Act 355) will go down as the lowest point in the institutional life of the highest law-making body in the country.

The assault on Parliament hints at a cleverly prepared and coordinated exercise between the government and the Parliament Speaker's Office.

Yes, you read that right: between the executive and legislator. This violates the notion of separation of powers and brings forth the pivotal question of what more the Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, would do to stay the top man in the country.

Scheming to debate Act 355

The day before Parliament ended, debate on important bills were furiously rushed, with five bills inexplicably postponed for the July sitting.

Lawmakers were forced to debate bills up to 5am the day before, just to accommodate the debate on the syariah law amendment bill, which seeks to give power to state legislation to increase punishment for syariah offences.

The bill was sneakily fast-tracked from item Number 12 of the parliamentary Order Paper to be debated on Thursday last week. In fact, the entire parliamentary sitting on that day was dedicated to the debate on the bill introduced by the Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang, who is also the president of the Islamic party, PAS.

And we are still waiting for the speaker of the august House to explain why a private member's bill took precedence over government bills.

The mockery of Parliament didn't stop there. The Islamic party was given about two hours to make its case and Parliament was adjourned abruptly, without giving Pakatan Harapan an opportunity to respond, which is normally the case...

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