Press Statement (2) by Karpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 14th November 2008:

Nazri should apologise to the Dewan

On Monday, in the Dewan Rakyat, I had called upon Deputy Speaker, Datuk Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, to refer Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri Abdul Aziz, to the Committee of Privileges for having misled the Dewan in the previous week that Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman Pawan Teh and Datuk George Seah had not been sacked, but had been asked to retire.

Yesterday, in the lobby of the House, Nazri admitted that he had made a mistake saying, “I regret that my statement was misinformed and had caused some misrepresentation. There was no intention to do so”. But when asked if he would apologise for the erroneous statement, Nazri said, “I will not”.

It was wrong for Nazri to have clarified the position in the lobby, and not in the Dewan. He should have permission of the Speaker to make a Ministrial statement in the Dewan under Standing Order 14(1)(i) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan so that Memners of Parliament could have the opportunity of questioning him. Nazri has chosen the coward’s way out of his predicament he had placed himself in by having misled the House.

In any event, Deputy Speaker, Wan Junaidi, does not have to wait any longer to give his ruling on my request to refer Nazri to the Committee of Privileges for having misled the House pursuant to Standing Order 36 (12) which states, “Any member who imputes statements that mislead the House is deemed to be in contempt of the House and the member may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the offence”.

Wan Junaidi should make his ruling on Monday and I hope Nazri will be present in the House when and the ruling is made.

Since Nazri is being obstinate and stubborn in having openly stated that he will not aplogise, I have no alternative but to press for him to be referred to Committee of Privileges. Misleading the House is a very serious matter.

In 2004, the Barisan Nasional with its brute majority in the Dewan referred me to Committee of Privileges for merely saying during the swearing-in ceremony of Members of Parliament that they we required to raise their right hand when taking their oath of office. What I had stated was right and in keeping with the circular sent out by the Speaker about a month previously that all Members of Parliament during the oath taking ceremony, were required to raise their right hand. Despite this, I was referred to the Committee of Privileges which, without even giving me an opportunity to be heard, recommended that I be suspended for six months without any pay and other privileges. As expected, the Barisan Nasional’s brute majority had me suspended as recommended by the Committee of Privileges.

There should be no discrimination in Nazri’s case. His position as Minister makes no difference. The Deputy Speaker, Wan Junaidi, should ensure that his ruling does not contravene the provisions of Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution which state, “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”.

* Karpal Singh, DAP National Chairman & MP for Bukit Gelugor