Cabinet ‘contacting’ Speaker makes it seem Parliament under Putrajaya’s thumb, DAP MP says

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 9 — The government has no place in contacting the Speaker of Parliament to complain about federal lawmakers’ remarks in the Dewan Rakyat even if these were false or misleading, said Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh.

The former deputy law and institutional reform minister such matters were the sole purview of Parliament, which already has Standing Orders with which the Speaker could penalise offenders.

“The statement by Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil that the Cabinet will ‘contact’ the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat over purported false statements of members of parliament in the August House is ill-advised and implies that the government has a hand in the running of Parliament.

“Parliament itself has ample powers to deal with members issuing false statements in its Standing Orders and it is only proper for the Speaker to act upon a motion submitted to him for the purpose of reprimanding an errant member, and not upon being ‘contacted’ by the Cabinet,” he said in a statement today.

He said Parliament must be independent and the national unity government’s actions must reflect its commitment restore independence to the federal legislature.

“It is elementary that Parliament is independent and has the power to regulate its own procedures, subject to certain provisions of the Federal Constitution and federal laws,” he said.

Yesterday, Fahmi said the government will contact the Dewan Rakyat Speaker over allegedly misleading remarks that Opposition lawmakers have been making in Parliament.

Parliament is already seen as subordinate to the government after the repeal of the Parliamentary Services Act in 1992 during the first Mahathir Administration gave the Prime Minister’s Department control over its administration and funding.