Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Opposition’s bid to debate motion shot down again

The Opposition’s bid to debate yesterday’s motion on MP safety moved by the Home Minister in Parliament was shot down for the second time, drawing another round of protests and heckling in the House.

Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) attempted to move a motion of privilege under Standing Orders 26 (1)(p) urging the House to allow the MPs, who had the intention to debate it yesterday, to be allowed to do so today.

“I would like to draw to the attention of the House that the motion brought on the name of the Home Minister yesterday on ordering the Inspector-General of Police to ensure the free movement of MPs to and from the House, was passed without allowing any debate although there were MPs who wanted to do so.

“This is an infringement of the meeting rules and the precedents set in the House prior to this. This same motion was debated twice before — on Nov 6, 1974 by Batu MP Dr Tan Chee Khoon and on March 13, 1984, by myself,” said Lim.

He added that the rights and privileges of the MPs were stripped away when the Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee approved the motion yesterday without allowing debate.

Ronald had said that this was because the motion was tabled by convention and was never debated in the past.

“The House should take the stand to correct this serious violation of the rights and privileges of these MPs by allowing those who wished to debate yesterday, to do so today,” he said.

Lim’s motion was, however, rejected by today’s presiding Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who said that just because similar motions were debated twice in the past, did not make it a convention.

His statement drew loud shouts and protests from the Opposition bench.

“If you disagree with this decision, you have the right under Standing Orders 43 to move a motion calling for a review of my decision,” he said.

Lim later told reporters at the Parliament lobby that he would not invoke Standing Order 43 for he had no confidence that such a motion would be approved.

“This will just be a dead letter that will disappear in the bottomless pit of hell. It will never see the light of day and they will never allow it to be debated.

“In other countries, in a healthy Parliamentary democracy, such a motion to review the decision of a Speaker will automatically be given time to debate,” he said.

The DAP adviser said that it was the Pakatan Rakyat’s view that there should be a total revamp of the Parliament’s Standing Orders in order to give space to MPs to play more meaningful roles.

Lim also lambasted the Barisan Nasional backbenchers for backing the decision of the House on the issue, saying that it was clear that they were merely opposing for the sake of going against the Opposition.

“In a matter like this, it is for the good of all parties that the MPs are given their right to debate any motion. For the good of the MPs and for the sake of Parliament, they should take a common stand together with us on this,” he said.

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