by DAP MP for Kota Melaka, Kerk Kim Hock
in Petaling Jaya
on Sunday, September 15, 2002
Rejection of motion proposed under Standing Order 54(2): DAP to move a motion to call for review of deputy Speaker's wrong decision
Immediately after the Election Offences Amendments Bill 2002 was read a second time in the Parliament on 12.9.2002, I had stood up to move a motion under Standing Order 54(2) to propose that the Bill be referred to a parliamentary Select Committee.
I had suggested that the Select Committee, which would comprise representatives from all parties, should make further studies and proposals which will ensure that the elections in the nation are free, fair and clean.
Though I had argued that under Standing Order 54(2), I had the right to make such a motion, the deputy Speaker Datuk Mohamd Abdullah had cited Standing Order 54(1) to reject motion.
As the deputy Speaker had erred in making such a decision, I will move a motion under Standing order 43 to call for a review of his decision.
The Speaker had erred as he did not seem to know that there was no conflict between Standing Orders 54 (1) and 54 (2) and that both these provisions are to deal with different situations.
Standing Order 54 (1) reads as follows:
" A Bill may be committed to a Select Committee before its second reading."
Standing Order 54 (2) reads as follows:
" When a Bill has been read a second time it shall stand committed to a Committee of the whole House unless the House on motion commits it to a Select Committee. Such motion shall not require notice, must be made immediately after the bill is read a second time; and may be proposed by any member; the question thereon shall be put forthwith and shall be decided without amendments or debate."
It is clear that 54 (1) deals with a situation before a Bill is read a second time while 54 (2) is about the situation after the Bill has been read a second time.
It was therefore clear that the deputy Speaker had committed an error when he rejected my motion citing Standing Order 54 (1) and claiming that my motion should be proposed before the Bill was read a second time.
It was most disappointing that the government MPs had decided to pass the Amendments Bill when the DAP and Opposition MPs had argued that not only the Bill did not address the many electoral abuses in the nation's electoral history; it would, with the introduction of new Clauses, make it difficult for Opposition to speak up for the people freely and effectively.
One such new restriction, which will prevent the Opposition from freely and effectively highlighting the legitimate voices, fears, hopes and aspirations of the people; is the new section 4A, which has been described as the super sedition clause.
I call on the government MPs who truly want to see free, fair and clean elections in the country to give their support to my motion to review the deputy Speaker's decision.