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Thursday, May 27, 2004


Boleh kah, Tak Boleh

::Recently the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dato' Seri Dr. Mohamed Zahir Bin Haji Ismail struck off the motion tabled by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang on the ground that it could be sub-judice as several election petitions were still pending in courts nationwide. He did this after consulting the Attorney General. Zahir also said that no motion pertaining to the general election will be entertained before the cases pending in the election courts are dealt.
The deputy president of human rights movement Hakam in an article in Malaysiakini questioned :: Is there room for sub-judice in the House?. He argued that the sub-judice rule can be taken to levels of absurdity by by its inconsistent application. If the discussion of the conduct of the Election Commission [EC] in the recent election in the Dewan Rakyat can be considered sub-judice then in the near future when all the election petition hearings are in sessions, what happens in one court would be sub-judiced as it is related to the hearing in another one, as they can effect the judgement of the latter.
In the Dewan Rakyat, DAP deputy chairperson Karpal Singh took the Speaker to task for dismissing Lim KS motion to debate the impeachment of the EC chief. Karpal asked :: "Shall a speaker consult the Attorney-General who is a government staff?
Today, the Opposition Leader had this to say ::
The Speaker’s striking out of my impeachment motion of no confidence against the Election Commission was most arbitrary and unparliamentary, undermining the principle of parliamentary supremacy and the doctrine of separation of powers between the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary; as well as going against the rules of natural justice in failing to give me an opportunity to state my views before striking out the motion from the parliamentary order paper, after the Speaker had accepted it as fit and proper to be included in the order paper for more than a week and after there had been question-and-answer as well as debate on the 2004 general election in the first week of Parliament.

Lim has also given notice to the Dewan to move a substantive motion under Standing Order 43 to review and set aside the Speaker’s decision to strike out his impeachment motion of no confidence against the EC chief. But then again this motion might not see the light of day as government matters takes priority in Parliament.
When asked about Lim’s and Karpal’s open criticisms against his handling of the impeachment motion, the Speaker said he dealt with the issue as the speaker of the House and it was not something personal. He added, "But to criticise me is within their right. It’s alright." In the last Parliament, the same Speaker was not in such a chummy and forgiving mood when he suspended MP Fong Po Kuan for six months without allowance in 2001 after she had openly criticising the speaker for rejecting her motion to debate the scandal of the Certificate of Legal Practice. Can the Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dato' Seri Dr. Speaker be more specific, Boleh kah, tak Boleh criticise? Now that he has said boleh, can MP Fong get her back allowances?


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