Speaker’s sub judice ruling disallowing a debate on seizure of Petronas properties must be challenged as it undermines four fundamental rights - freedom of expression, Sabah sovereignty, Parliament’s role as the highest political chamber in the land and integrity of public officials

The Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun’s sub judice ruling disallowing a debate on the seizure of Petronas assets by purported heirs of the Sulu sultanate must be challenged as its undermines four fundamental rights:

  • Freedom of expression, which is enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution;
  • Sabah sovereignty;
  • Parliament’s role as the highest political chamber in the land; and
  • Integrity of public officials, as the Speaker is the brother of the Attorney-General, establishing a clear case of conflict-of-interest.

Parliament must not revert to the time of the 13th Parliament where the sub judice rule was abused to block any parliamentary examination and questioning of the 1MDB financial scandal, allowing it to balloon to “kleptocracy at its worst” in the words of a former United States Attorney-General.

The Speaker should review the ruling on his own or the Kota Belud Member of Parliament, Isnaraissah Munirah should move a motion under the Standing Orders to review the Speaker’s decision, and both the Speaker and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar must give assurance that time will be allocated for Parliament to review the Speaker’s ruling – either on Thursday this week or next Monday.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri