Sunday, February 22, 2009

The power to suspend MP/ADUNs must be removed, and Judicial Review must be made available

It is the people, the constituents, that vote in a person as their Member of Parliament and/or State Assembly Person.

The primary forum in which these representatives are supposed to be listening, engaging in debates, deciding, and voting on behalf of their constituents is the Dewan Rakyat (Parliment) or the State Legislative Assembly.

It is absurd when some other, i.e. other than the constituents themselves, can prevent these elected representatives from attending and participating in the Dewan Rakyat and/or the State Legislative Assembly...

We may have not really considered this issue until very recently the Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker announced that 7 State Assemblypersons were suspended for 18 months for one, and 12 months for the others... (And then we recall, that similarly, Karpal Singh was also suspended for 6 months

The Perak state assembly's special privileges committee today suspended the state's newly-minted menteri besar Zambry Abdul Kadir and all his six executive councillors.


The decision was announced by Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar after the committee's inquiry proceeding in Ipoh this afternoon.

bn perak state exco 180209Zambry was slapped with an 18-month suspension while the excos have been suspended for 12 months.

The latest development plunges Perak into another crisis following BN's seizure of the state government two weeks ago.

Sivakumar, a DAP state assemblyperson, is still the Perak speaker as the BN government has yet to convene the state assembly to replace him with one of their own.

In a statement to the media, Sivakumar said the decision was reached because the seven had failed to provide an explanation for their contempt of the state assembly by declaring themselves menteri besar and excos.

"I have decided to bar Datuk Zambry with immediate effect from attending any assembly session for the next 18 months and the six exco members have also been barred for 12 months," read the four-paragraph statement.

The inquiry was convened after Wong Kah Woh (DAP-Canning) had last Thursday made an official complaint. - Malaysiakini, 18/2/2009, Crisis looms: Perak MB, 6 excos suspended

Recalling some of the previous suspensions

In 2004, This was the decision by the brute nine-tenth parliamentary majority vote suspending DAP MP for Bukit Glugor, Karpal Singh, as a Member of Parliament, depriving him of all parliamentary allowances and perks, for 10 days if he apologises or for six months if he does not apologise within three days expiring today.

What was Karpal’s offence? Was the sentence commensurate with the alleged offence? Although there is considerable media publicity in the past few days about the parliamentary debate and Karpal’s suspension, I do not think more than a handful out of 25 million Malaysians could really answer these two questions – itself an indictment of the multiple failures of accountability, transparency and good governance in Malaysia. - Lim Kit Siang's Blog,
Civil society should stand up to remove the first “good governance” black-eye under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s watch as Prime Minister and demand that Parliament review and rescind Bukit Glugor MP Karpal Singh’s six-month suspension as it is the very antithesis of accountability, transparency, justice and good governance

No one would be surprised if the unjust, unparliamentary, biased and vindictive motion suspending Karpal had taken place under Mahathir’s Parliament – as Karpal himself had been arbitrarily expelled from Parliament in 1984 and three other DAP MPs had been suspended from Parliament during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership and Zahir’s speakership, viz. DAP MP for Sandakan Fung Ket Wing in 1984, DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Poh Kuan who was suspended for six months without allowance in December 2001 and my seven-month suspension in 1992.

But for such tyranny of the majority and travesty of justice to take place under Abdullah’s Parliament is a sober reminder that the country is not completely free from the mindset, culture and clutches of high-handed, arbitrary and undemocratic governance of the Mahathir era. The arbitrary and unjust suspension of Karpal has in fact gone a long way to undo the good of the Federal Court judgment the previous Thursday acquitting Anwar Ibrahim, allowing him to walk out from the Palace of Justice as a free man – raising hopes that real change and reform is possible under the new Prime Minister. - Lim Kit Siang's
to the Suhakam Malaysian Human Rights Day 2004 Conference themed “Human Rights and Good Governance” on “Accountability and Transparency for Good Governance in the Private and Public Sectors”
And, interestingly this decision is solid - and may not even be challenged in court. I believe only the State Legislative Assembly (less the suspended ones) can overturn this decision - and let the 7 back into the State Legislative Assembly.
In a related development, the Bar Council said one legal view is that the speaker and the special privileges committee have the powers that they have exercised, another is that the matter referred to the committee must be placed before the state assembly before it can take effect.

ambiga sreenevasanHowever, its chairperson Ambiga Sreenevsan said regardless of whether the speaker or the special privileges committee had followed the correct procedure, their conduct and proceedings may nevertheless be outside the jurisdiction of the courts. - Malaysiakini, 19/2/2009, PM: They've disrespected sultan's decision
Suspendion without all parliamentary allowances, perks ...(salary?) is draconian because there are full-time dedicated MPs and/or ADUNs who do not have any business in the side for them to get extra income. These MPs/ADUNs use their salary, allowances, perks... to pay for the rental of their service centres, pay the salary of their staff, etc.. and so never should allowances, perks, salary ever be denied any MP and/or ADUN.

For me, it is time that we make the necessary changes in law and/or Parliamentary (State Legislative Assembly) Standing Orders, Procedures, etc that will prevent any more in the future the ability to suspend any ADUN/MP from the Dewan Rakyat and/or State Legislative Assembly.

If punishment need to meted out, then maybe it could be in the form of a reprimand. Maybe, at worse, it would be to ask the ADUN/MP to leave the hall for that day only. Suspension should never go beyond the next sunrise...

We really do not want the majority in the House to be able to 'bully' the minority ADUN/MPs.

We must also introduce Judicial Review to all decisions made by such Committee and/or Speaker...The courts should be given the power to review such decisions...

Now, after what happened in Perak, I believe that the BN will also be open to this suggestion of mine.

I propose that the Pakatan Rakyat States should start the ball rolling now - and do away completely with the right to 'suspend MP/ADUNs'....

No comments: