The UMNO/BN coalition should stop abusing its simple majority in Parliament and withdraw the privileges motion against Nurul Izzah Anwar unless it could accept an amendment to also refer the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the Committee of Privileges for the photograph which appeared in the social media last month of Najib’s handshake with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the United Nations.
Clearly, after suspending me from Parliament for six months, the UMNO/BN coalition is now targetting a second victim for eviction from Parliament – the PKR Vice President and Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah.
Why did the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia agree with the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said and gave her special exemption of not having to give seven days’ notice for her privileges motion against Nurul?
This is against all parliamentary tradition, convention and practices – as well as violate Standing Order 27 (3) which states:
“Except as provided in Standing Order 43 and in paragraph (5) of Standing Order 86 and 26(1), not less than fourteen days’ notice of any motion shall be given unless it is in the name of a Minister, in which case seven days’ notice or, if Tuan Yang di-Pertua is satisfied upon representation to him by a Minister that the public interest requires that a motion should be debated as soon as possible, one day’s notice shall be sufficient.”
Azalina’s motion clearly requires the requisite seven days’ notice stipulated for motions in the name of a Minister.
Can the Speaker Pandikar explain what is the “public interest” that Azalina had pleaded to justify her motion being exempted from the requisite seven-day notice for Ministerial motions or is it just Pandikar’s quid pro quo to Azalina, agreeing to Azalina’s privileges motion against Nurul Izzah in return for Azalina’s earlier agreement as Minister in PM’s Office to the Speaker’s proposal to suspend me from Parliament for six months?
If so, then it is a very sad day for parliamentary democracy in Malaysia and highlights the uphill battle that must be waged before Parliament is stripped of all its undemocratic, unjust and cronyistic abuses and practices.
Azalina’s motion against Nurul is most spiteful and a gross abuse of parliamentary majority which will open the floodgates of majoritarian oppression of the minority in Parliament – a major regression of Parliamentary practices in Malaysia at a time when even the Speaker is himself talking the language of parliamentary reforms.
Azalina has not been able to respond to the two major objections to such a motion:
Firstly, although couched in the form of a reference of Nurul to the Committee of Privileges, the motion denies freedom of inquiry and finding by the Committee of Privileges as it essentially constitutes a sentence of conviction that Nurul is guilty of the outrageous charges made by Azalina.
Secondly, it is an oppressive and dangerous precedent to condemn an MP for violating the oath of office as a Member of Parliament “to bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” on the flimsiest of grounds, not based on any finding of fact but solely on whether a majority vote in Parliament could be summoned in favour of the motion.
I hope good sense will prevail at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow and that Azalina will be instructed to withdraw her privileges motion against Nurul unless the Cabinet agrees to an amendment to also refer Najib to the Committee of Privileges for the photograph in the social media last month of Najib’s handshake with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the United Nations.
(Speech after “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” walkabout at the Pasar Koboi/Pasar Telok Wanjah in Derga constituency in Alor Setar on Thursday, 26th November 2015 at 10 am)