Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 22nd April 2009:
MP Gobind’s one-year suspension without pay/privileges - will Federal Court be guilty of selective justice?
DAP MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo will initiate legal proceedings tomorrow morning to challenge his one-year suspension as Member of Parliament without parliamentary pay and privileges for his outburst against the then Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu C4 murder case.
The one-year suspension of Gobind Singh Deo on March 16, 2009 was a blatant case of abuse of Barisan Nasional majority in Parliament, subjecting Gobind to double jeopardy with a very harsh second punishment although he had earlier been punished by the Deputy Speaker, Datuk Ronald Kiandee with a one-day suspension.
The right and proper thing would have been to refer Gobind to the Committee of Privileges instead of using the UMNO/BN brute majority to summarily punish Gobind by suspending him as an MP without pay and privileges.
When Parliament should have invoked its powers to deal summarily with violations of parliamentary privileges like the obstruction and menacing by Selangor UMNO Youth goons of DAP MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh from carrying out his parliamentary duties in the parliamentary precincts on Feb. 26, 2009 when this is very clearly provided for under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, the Barisan Nasional-majority Parliament failed to do so.
Up to now, these Selangor UMNO Youth goons have got away scot-free, as none of them has been penalized, although such an offence is punishable with a seven-year jail sentence under Section 124 of the Penal Code.
Although the suspension of Gobind for one year without pay and privileges was a black-lettered day for Parliament, DAP had not earlier considered challenging the gross injustice in court, as we hold to the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, and in particular Article 63(1) of the Malaysian Constitution which stipulates: “The validity of any proceedings in either House of Parliament or any committee thereof shall not be questioned in any court.”
Imagine our shock and outrage, and those of thinking Malaysians, when the Federal Court last Thursday, 16th April 2009 overturned the doctrine of separation of powers and ruled that the Perak Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar does not have the power to suspend usurper Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir and six state executive council members from attending the assembly.
As former Court of Appeal judge, N.H.Chan had written, this was a “perverse judgment of the Federal Court” because it was made in blatant defiance of Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution which says,”The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court”.
If the Federal Court could disregard Article 72(1) on no court interference with State Assembly proceedings, how court Article 63(1) on no court interference with parliamentary proceedings stand?
The Federal Court has created a precedent which would justify the legal challenge of the unjust and oppressive one-year suspension of Gobind as MP without parliamentary pay and privileges.
Or is the Federal Court going to be guilty of selective and discriminatory justice?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor