Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Parliament speaker's impartiality questioned

4:24PM Oct 8, 2013 
If Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's claim that he had a deal with the Dewan Rakyat speaker and secretary is true, then the proper functioning of the Dewan Rakyat has been perverted.

Saying this today, Padang Serai MP N Surendran said parliamentary practices dictate that the speaker and the secretary of Parliament must be "absolutely impartial" when presiding over proceedings.

NONEThus, had Zahid ensured that Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and secretary Roosme Hamzah were on his "side" during the Prevention of Crime Act (Amendments and Extension) Bill 2013 (PCA) debate last Wednesday, then the integrity of the Dewan Rakyat would be in question.

"Zahid's stunning admission massively undermines national confidence in the Dewan Rakyat as the nation's supreme law-making chamber. It is also a confession that Zahid had attempted to pervert the proper functioning of the Dewan Rakyat," Surendran (above, left) said in a press statement today.

He was referring to Zahid's speech in Malacca last Friday, during which he home minister boasted, before a room full of Umno delegates, about his role in ensuring that the PCA amendments, which he described as "my law", would be passed.

Zahid said he had spoken to Shahidan Kassim, the minister in charge of parliamentary affairs, to ensure the speaker and secretary's compliance.

An explanation is needed

The Dewan Rakyat secretary, Surendran said, is a top civil servant who should be "scrupulously impartial", since impartiality of the civil service is fundamental to any properly working democracy.

"What Zahid has admitted to is nothing short of an attempt to taint and undermine the civil service in order to achieve his narrow political objectives.

"As a result of Zahid's underhand moves, the crucial PCA amendments, which threaten fundamental rights, were bulldozed through Parliament without adequate scrutiny or debate.

"The motive was clearly to prevent a proper debate, which would have exposed to the public the dangers and the unconstitutionality of the PCA amendments," he said.

In view of this, Surendran urged Pandikar and Roosme to respond to Zahid's allegations because the Malaysian public was entitled to know what happened during the crucial debate on the PCA.

~ Malaysiakini

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