Speaker Pandikar should correct his grave error and misjudgment in embargoing the final Election Commission Report on constituency redelineation from the public as it is a public document when tabled in Parliament for MPs to get public feedback
I went to Parliament yesterday before noon and left the Dewan Rakyat Chambers for the Dewan Rakyat media centre for a noon media conference.
Half way from the Chambers to the media centre on the ground floor, a parliamentary attendant ran after me saying that I was not allowed to remove the Election Comission’s Final Report on Constituency Redelineation from the Chambers.
I ignored the parliamentary attendant because it was unprecedented and never happened in the history of parliamentary democracy since Merdeka in 1957 that a Member of Parliament is not allowed to take away a report or document officially tabled in Parliament.
Furthermore, there is nothing in the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders to allow for such a ludicrous ruling to be made.
It was after the media conference in Parliament that l learnt of the episode in the Dewan, reducing Parliament almost to a circus, on whether MPs could touch, open and read the Election Commission’s final report on constituency redelineation proposals.
The Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia should immediately correct his grave error and misjudgement in embargoing the final Election Commission Report on constituency redelineation from the public as the Election Commission Final Report becomes a public document once it is tabled in Parliament for MPs to get public feedback.
This was what happened with past reports of the Election Commission on its constituency redelineation proposals tabled in Parlaiment and there is no reason or authority for any change of parliamentary practices and procedures which set the clock back on accountability, transparency and parliamentary good governance.
In 1994, the Election Commission’s final redelineation report and the Prime Minister’s motion appeared on the Order Paper on the same day, on 14th April 1994. The motion was debated on 25th and 26th April in Dewan Rakyat and adopted. It is noteworthy that redelineation reports of both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah were tabled and passed together.
In 2003, the Election Commission’s final redelineation report was tabled on 3rd April 2003. The Prime Minister’s motion appeared on the Order Paper of 7th April 2003. On 8th April, the Prime Minister’s motion adopting the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation Report was debated and passed. Similar to the previous exercise in 1994, it consisted of two reports and two motions, one for Peninsula and the other for Sabah.
The Election Commission’s Final Report for the latest constituency redelineation was tabled yesterday, but not the Prime Minister’s motion to adopt the Election Commission’s proposals.
I had suggested the formation of an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee to study the Election Commission’s final redelineation proposals, which would be impossible under the Speaker’s ruling embargoing the Election Commision’s final Report from public knowledge and discussion until the debate on the Prime Minister’s motion to adotp the proposals.
The Speaker has made a most unprecedented ruling going against the principles of transparent and parliamentary good governance.
The legal suit on behalf of over 10,000 voters in Selangor from 17 State Assembly constituencies and 11 parliamentary constituencies in a class action by 107 individuals for a judicial review challenging the Election Commission’s redelineation recommendations is no excuse nor justification for the Speaker’s unprecedented ruling embargoing the Election Commision’s final redelineation proposals from public knowledge and discussion by MPs.
In fact, the Speaker should take notice of the legal action by the over 10,000 voters in Selangor as well as the Federal Court challenge by the Penang Government against the Election Commission’s final proposals and await the outcome of these legal proceedings before a date is fixed for the debate and passage of the Prime Minister’s motion to adopt the Election Commission’s Final Report on constituency redelineation proposals.
Instead, the Speaker has prematurely announced that the Prime Minister’s motion to adopt the Election Commission’s Final Report, which has not yet appeared on the Order Paper, would be debated and passed on Wednesday, March 28.
Why such indecent haste before the judiciary had made a final decision on the various legal suits on the Election Commisison’s redelineation exercise, which would fully in conformity with the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary?
Is next Wednesday’s motion by the Prime Minister designed to enable the Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament for the holding of the 14th General Election, after the Election Commission’s constituency redelineation proposals have been adopted by Parliament?