Why have Speaker Pandikar and Minister Azalina failed to provide MPs with the opportunity to review the Speaker’s rulings which denied MPs the right to hold the Executive to account on the 1MDB scandal?
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia broke the Speaker’s gavel at a time when he was mightily displeased that his decisions are being challenged in court.
But is the Speaker aware that conscientious and hard-working Members of Parliament are mightily displeased with his many 1MDB-related decisions, such as rejecting questions on the 1MDB scandal by over 30 Members of Parliament in the current parliamentary meeting, and virtually banning 1MDB from being debated in Parliament, with no meaningful recourse to the Standing Orders to review the Speaker’s ruling?
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Deparment in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, Datuk Azalina Othman Said said Pakatan Harapan MP for PJ Selatan, Hee Loy Sien, had undermined Parliament’s independence and sullied Parliament’s good name when he sued Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Azalina cannot be more wrong.
I fully endorse Loy Sien’s legal action and the statement by the Pakatan Harapan MP for Padang Serai, N. Surendran who, together with Latheefa Koya act as Loy Sien’s lawyers, said that the suit against the Parliament Speaker was intended to uphold the dignity and role of Parliament to be the scrutineer of the actions of the Executive.
Loy Sien’s legal recourse is in fact a reflection of Azalina’s failure to uphold the parliamentary conventions in keeping with a first-world Parliament, where Parliament has not lost the powers and the independence intended by the Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
The 1MDB scandal, which turned Malaysia into global kleptocracy overnight, provides instances where Parliament has been deprived of its independence and role to demand that the Prime Minister and the Executive give full accounting of the nation’s biggest financial scandal which is even admitted by the United States Department of Justice as the largest case of kleptocracy it had handled.
The 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration settlement, which is clearly another financial scam against the people of Malaysia, is another shocking episode from the 1MDB scandal.
This was the background to the emergency motion by the Pakatan Harapan MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, who invoked Standing Order 18(1) on 1MDB’s failure to meet the deadline to pay IPIC the first payment of US$602.5 million.
But Lip Eng’s emergency motion was rejected by the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, on the ground that the Speaker “difahamkan oleh pihak Kerajaan bahawa 1MDB telah mengambil tindakan seperti yang telah di umumkan pada 1Ogos 2017 berkenaan dengan Pelan Rasionalisasi 1MDB bagi menyelesaikan isu yang dibangkitkan dalam usul” Lip Eng.
Najib had told Parliament that 1MDB was able to pay IPIC, and the failure to meet the deadline for the first payment was a “technical matter” and not a question of being able to pay IPIC.
Isn’t the IMDB-IPIC London arbitration “settlement” a financial scam, because 1MDB had claimed that it had already repaid IPIC and the second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani is on record as saying that he had studied the documents of the 1MDB-IPIC dispute and he was confident that 1MDB would win the case in going for London arbitration.
Why then did the Ministry of Finance and 1MDB ended up “surrendering” to IPIC claims in toto in reaching the 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration “settlement” where 1MDB had to pay IPIC for the same debt twice, in addition to the new problem of 1MDB unable to meet the deadline for the a first payment?
Parliament is the proper forum where Malaysians, through Members of Parliament, could demand a full accounting from the government for the latest “financial scam” by 1MDB.
Why did the Speaker become part of the financial scam by disallowing a debate on the 1MDB-IPIC London arbitration settlement?
The Speaker had rejected questions by over 30 MPs on the 1MDB scandal, and he said that MPs who are not happy with his ruling, which is final until reviewed by the House, can invoke Standing Order 43 to move a substantive motion which requires only two days’ notice to review his ruling.
DAP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo, had moved such a substantive motion to review the Speaker’s ruling rejecting questions by MPs on 1MDB, but for the whole of last week, Gobind’s motion was at the bottom the Parliamentary Order Paper, ie. Item No. 39 yesterday - never to see the light of day or coming up for debate making Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 43 a “dead letter”!
Surely, it should be the responsibility of the Speaker and Azalina as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs to ensure that there is a parliamentary convention that such a substantive motion comes up for debate after the requisite two-day notice.
The proper place for the Speaker to justify rejection of questions about the 1MDB scandal is through debate in Parliament to review the Speaker’s rulings, and not at press conferences by the Speaker.
Why are MPs denied of such opportunities in Parliament?