The motion by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said to refer the PKR Vice President and MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar to the Committee of Privileges for being photographed with Jacel Kiram in Manila is a “kangaroo resolution”, making a mockery of the Committee of Privileges in expecting it to be a “kangaroo court” to mete out the sentence after conviction had been passed by a mindless majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
All over the world, the Committee of Privileges decide on whether a MP referred to it had been guilty of breach of parliamentary privilege and then decide on the proper sentence which should be adopted by Parliament commensurate with the breach, but Azalina wants the Malaysian Parliament to set a dubious world record where the Committee of Privileges is deprived of the right to decide whether Nurul is guilty of any such breach, but only to mete out the sentence concerned!
Azalina’s motion against Nurul, among other things, states:
“BAHAWA pertemuan Yang Berhormat Lembah Pantai dan Puteri Jacel Kiram tersebut menimbulkan prasangka negatif dan tidak sensitif terhadap peristiwa pencerobohan Lahad Datu yang telah mencabar kedaulatan Negara.
“BAHAWA pertemuan Yang Berhormat Lembah Pantai bersama dengan anak kepada dalang pencerobohan Negara telah dilihat bertentangan dengan angkat sumpah sebagai ahli Parlimen dan sumpah setia beliau kepada Malaysia yang telah berikrar untuk menumpahkan taat setia yang sebenar kepada Malaysia, memelihara, melindungi dan mempertahankan Perlembagaannya.
“DAN BAHAWA tindakan Yang Berhormat Lembah Pantai tersebut merupakan suatu penghinaan kepada Majlis Mesyuarat yang turut mencemarkan nama baik dan prestij Dewan Rakyat.”
Can the Committee of Privileges decide otherwise, that the whole Nurul-Jacel photograph episode had been blown out of all proportion, and that Nurul was an “innocent” party like the incident of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak being photographed having a handshake with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in the United Nations, and that she had not, like Najib, violated her oath as Member of Parliament “to bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”.
It is a dangerous precedent to set for a brute mindless majority to pass judgment on any Malaysian, what more a Member of Parliament, purely on having the numbers, to declare a person a traitor, rather than on a full investigation based on the facts and which should have been left to a court of law.
Azalina’s unique contribution as a Minister in charge of parliamentary affairs is to turn Parliament into a “Star Chamber” to declare an Opposition Member of Parliament as a “traitor”, simply based on parliamentary numbers.
This is most shocking coming from a Minister who has legal background and should have better appreciation of the importance of upholding the rule of law.
This is most disgraceful to Parliament and should never have been allowed by a Speaker who has been preaching parliamentary reforms and the virtues of upholding the independence, dignity and privileges of Parliament.
It is most regrettable that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has spoken up, in support of Azalina’s “kangaroo court” resolution.
In the eye of the national and international storm over the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals for the past few months, Najib has nothing to offer to end these two scandals which have wreaked many times more damage to Malaysia’s national and international reputation than Nurul’s visit to Manila, but Najib has been comparatively quick to pass judgment on Nurul.
I agree with PKR President and Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that Nurul had intended no slight to Sabahans or the security personnel who perished in the Lahad Datuk intrusion, and her act could not by any stretch of imagination be categorized as consorting with the nation’s enemies or as an act of disloyalty or treachery.
Azalina’s motion is a gross abuse of parliamentary process and practices.
Firstly, it does not comply with the requisite requirement of seven-day notice for Ministerial motions to be placed on the Order Paper.
Secondly, there could be no conceivable “public interest” to enable the Speaker to exempt the seven-day requirement for Ministerial motions.
Thirdly, the text of the motion is most improper and unparliamentary. 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 constitutes a conviction that Nurul is guilty of the charges made by Azalina. All that the Privileges Committee could do is to suggest the penalty.
Fourthly, 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 the facts of the case but on whether a majority vote in Parliament could be summoned in favour of the motion.
Fifthly, why was Azalina’s motion given priority over the substantive motion moved by the DAP MP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo to review the Speaker’s ruling which resulted in my six-month suspension from Parliament, when Gobind’s substantive motion only required two days’ notice under the Parliamentary Standing Orders.
If Azalina’s motion is adopted, it will be another stain and blackmark for Malaysian Parliament under Najib’s premiership.