Tuesday 3 April 2012

Speaker erred over minority report - Lim Kit Siang

What happened today is the most disgraceful episode and worst blot on the Malaysian Parliament in the nation's 55-year history.

It all stemmed from the mistake by speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia in rejecting an amendment motion by three Pakatan Rakyat MPs - Loke Siew Fook (Rasah), Azmin Ali (Gombak) and Dr Mohd Hatta (Kuala Krai) - on the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform, seeking to incorporate a minority report into the PSC final report.

After the PSC chairperson Maximus Ongkili moved the motion on the PSC report after Question Time today, Loke stood up to object to the speaker's rejection in chambers of the amendment motion by the three Pakatan MPs.

Pandikar quoted parliamentary precedents from New Zealand and the UK and said there is no such thing as a “minority report”.

When Pakatan MPs responded to Pandikar's invitation to quote precedents and pointed out that the speaker had been wrongly advised when he claimed that there is no such thing as “minority reports” in Commonwealth Parliaments, he refused to review his decision.

Parliament spent close to an hour before lunch recess on the speaker's refusal to allow the amendment to the motion on the PSC report to append a minority report addressing the fundamental issue of a clean and comprehensive electoral roll.

This issue continued to dominate Parliament when the House resumed proceedings after lunch with deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee in the chair.

Shortly after the post-lunch exchanges, Pandikar made a surprise entry into Parliament and took over from Kiandee and proceeded to suspend Azmin, R Sivarasa (Subang) and Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) for questioning his ruling.

This reduced the House to pandemonium with all the Pakatan MPs standing up in protest. This created a din in the House with Pakatan and BN MPs as well as the speaker shouting at the top of their voices.

Pandikar lost control of the House and hurriedly put Maximum's motion to a vote without debate, which was allegedly passed with the majority of MPs not knowing what was happening! The House was then precipitately adjourned.

Bersih demands 'not met'
A sad day indeed when many MPs had wanted to debate the PSC report on electoral reform.

Pakatan MPs from all the three parties, DAP, PKR and PAS, were prepared for a full debate on the PSC report on electoral reforms, zeroing in particularly on the Election Commission's failure to ensure a clean and comprehensive electoral roll – the prerequisite for a clean, free and fair elections in the 13th general election.

In fact, only one of the eight Bersih 2.0 demands for clean, free and fair elections is being implemented – on the use of indelible ink.

Even on the 10 recommendations of the PSC interim report, only two have been fully accepted.
The others have either been accepted only in part or rejected totally, such as the proposal for reconfirmation of the voters' roll in Sabah and establishment of a royal commission of inquiry into the serious problem of illegal immigrants becoming voters in Sabah.

Under these circumstances, can Malaysians expect the 13th general election to be clean, free and fair in keeping with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's claim that Malaysia is “the best democracy in the world”?

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