If convicted civil servants suspended, why spare elected reps, asks Rais

M Fakhrull Halim
·2-min read
If convicted civil servants suspended, why spare elected reps, asks Rais
If convicted civil servants suspended, why spare elected reps, asks Rais

If a civil servant must be suspended if charged in court, Dewan Negara Speaker Rais Yatim today questioned why the same rule was not enforced for elected representatives.

Rais (above) said this was despite Article 8 of the Federal Constitution stating that everyone is equal under the law.

Therefore, he said, a new method must be devised to punish convicted elected representatives who are allowed to resume their duties pending a conviction or final appeal.

"Now we see a civil servant who is charged in court, all their duties are suspended.

"But for elected representatives, they can remain active even if out on bail or pending appeal," said the former de facto law minister during BN's era.

"Clearly, for elected representatives, there is a need to think of measures outside the legal system, which now we have no answer to.

"[...] (Unlike civil servants), they (elected representatives) can continue to serve and carry out their duties to the people," said Rais, who is also Jelebu Bersatu division chief, at a press conference after a book launch in Kuala Lumpur today.

The former Umno Jelebu MP, without mentioning any names, said this in stressing the importance of virtues needed in a leader.

The list of elected representatives convicted for corruption includes Pekan MP Najib Abdul Razak and Putrajaya MP Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, both remain free pending the outcome of their appeals.

Several other Umno leaders that made up its "court cluster" include Bagan Datuk MP Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan.

Meanwhile, Rais also agreed to calls for feuding politicians to observe a political ceasefire out of respect for the holy month of Ramadan.

"A large portion of this political divide, I see it among Malay politicians [...], and Malays are Muslims.

"If this (ceasefire) can be done, even our non-Malay friends will respect us because Malays are the majority in this country," he said.