Thursday, May 21, 2009

An ignorant Deputy Speaker of Parliament

I am appalled by the statement of the Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat Malaysia, Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar, as published in the a Chinese daily, Sin Chew Jit Poh, today.

He made the statement when commenting the decision of the Privileges Committee of Selangor Legislative Assembly to recommend the suspension of Dato Seri Khir Toyo from the service of the House for a year after being found guilty of contempt of the Legislative Assembly for refusing to attend a public hearing by the Special Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat).

Wan Junaidi said that the Privileges Committee should not punish Khir and should instead try its best to compel Khir to attend the public hearing, including issuing warrant against Khir. He further criticized the Privileges Committee for disclosing its decision before tabling it to the Legislative Assembly.

While there is a provision in the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 that empowers the Speaker to issue a warrant for apprehension and imprisonment against a person, there is no such enactment or any such power to issue warrant at the Legislative Assembly level. Even at the level of Parliament, such warrant can only be issued upon resolution of the House after finding guilty of contempt.

On the disclosure of the decision of the Privileges Committee, there is no provision in the Standing Order or any other enactment that prohibits the same. The Standing Order only prohibits revelation of the evidence and documents before the committee’s report is tabled to the House.

I have no qualm if Wan Junaidi wants to defend his comrade using his status as a Deputy Speaker of Parliament. However, he should stick to the law applicable and not to mislead the public which he has obviously done.
No wonder the sitting of Parliament has always been chaotic and dubbed circus. Perhaps Wan Junaidi should make a study trip to the Selangor Legislative Assembly. I would be honored to play host to his visit.


Anonymous said...

YB Teng,

Khir Toyo deserves his punishment.

But then, what is the relevance of suspending four other opposition lawmakers who have questioned about the integrity of SELCAT?

Teng Chang Khim said...

Thank you for your response. I am unable to disclose the particulars but it is related to item 7 of the post here entitled "What is "Contempt of the House?'".