Barred from entering Parliament, Ipoh Barat MP Kulasegaran files police complaint claiming obstruction of duty

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Federal Reserve Unit personnel are seen blocking access to the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur August 2, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Federal Reserve Unit personnel are seen blocking access to the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur August 2, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 ― Claiming to have been prevented from conducting his duty as a lawmaker, Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran lodged a police report after being blocked from entering Parliament yesterday.

Kulasegaran, who is also the former human resources minister, said the action by the police to block lawmakers from Parliament is “unwarranted, illegal” and “misguided”.

“I have lodged a police report after not being allowed into Parliament yesterday. As a member of Parliament and each time I am elected as a MP, it is my solemn duty to the people of my constituency and nation, to bring their voices to Parliament.

“At all times, as the opposition, we are the watchdog on matters done or undone by the Government. The role of Parliament is vital to a vibrant democratic nation. Not only it enacts laws but scrutinizes government policies, government expenditures and sanction new taxes as the case may be.

“Yesterday, as the nation looked in dismay and the world took notice, police blocked off the roads leading to Parliament. Yet these police officers, when asked, could not even tell us under which provision of the law they were blocking off Parliament. Clearly these instructions came from someone with a position of power.

“The fracas was shameful as Parliament had not been prorogued, which means we are entitled to go to Parliament and attend to any matters we want to.

“We have a room in Parliament and I have left books and parliamentary papers on my parliamentary table. I need to enter Parliament to retrieve these documents and books. What has been done by the police is misguided and it was wrong for them to block the entrance to parliament,’’ he said in a statement today.

Kulasegaran also questioned the alleged absence and silence of Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Harun on the incident yesterday.

“Isn’t the Speaker of the august House aware of what has been happening in the corridor of Parliament? Or he is not around to partake in this matter? Where is the Speaker, why is he silent? As the Speaker he should at least speak out so that all can hear him,’’ he said.

Kulasegaran also implored for an independent commission to be set up and to investigate yesterday’s incident in the hopes of preventing a similar situation in the future.

“I also urge the government to establish an independent commission to investigate and report back through a White Paper in Parliament as to what went wrong yesterday, why MPs were blocked from entering Parliament and proposals for future legislation to avoid this nonsense from ever happening again,’’ he said.

In the same statement, Kulasegaran also pointed to the importance of establishing the Independent Police Misconduct Complaints Commission (IPCMC) as the police should not carry out the task of investigating their own alleged misconduct.

“Although I have lodged a police report it would be prudent, reasonable and fair if the police are not tasked to investigate this case. The allegations of wrongdoing are levelled against the police thus they can’t be tasked to investigate their own abuses and mistakes. Surely they cannot be the Judge, Jury and prosecutor in this matter.

“Issues of conflict and self-interest can be arrested. IPCMC will also install a high level of confidence on the police force and bring about more independent and transparent investigations,’’ he said.

Yesterday, police set up barricades on roads leading to the Parliament main entrance after the government moved to cancel the final day of the Dewan Rakyat’s five-day special sitting that was originally scheduled for today but which has been postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19 concerns.

Opposition MPs then gathered at Merdeka Square in a symbolic protest against the authorities’ move to shut and adjourn the special Parliament sitting.

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