The Speaker should end his unprecedented
press exchange and threat to take action against the MP for Bukit Glugor
Karpal Singh as it is most unbefitting and unbecoming of his high office in
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Monday): The Speaker, Tun Mohamed Zahir Ismail should end his unprecedented press exchange and threat to take action against the MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh as it is most unbefitting and unbecoming of his high office in Parliament.
Malay Mail of Friday, June 4, 2004 under the headline “Reply to my letter or face the consequences, Speaker tells Karpal” quoted Mohamed Zahir as threatening Karpal with “consequences” if he does not reply to the Speaker’s letter asking for an explanation for raising the issue of the proper manner of oath-taking during the swearing-in ceremony for MPs on May 17.
The Malay Mail reported:
“Mohamed Zahir also said he did not have any motive in asking for an explanation other than in the interest of the House.
“If the Bukit Glugor member does not reply to the letter, he will have to face the consequences which Mohamed Zahir has yet to decide on.
“’I don’t know, I have to think it over,’ he said, pointing out that news reports yesterday had Karpal admitting that he had made a mistake.”
Utusan Malaysia on Saturday, 5th June, 2004, carried a report with the headline: “Karpal boleh digantung hadiri Dewan jika sengaja pertikai lafaz ikrar”.
I am surprised by the Speaker’s obsession with this minor and petty case, when his first pre-occupation at a time when Parliament is seeking to become a “First World Parliament” in response to the Prime Minister’s aspiration for Malaysia to join the ranks of nations with “First World Infrastructure, First World Mentality” is to provide ideas, leadership and example towards parliamentary reform, modernization and democratization.
Furthermore, what the Speaker is doing in pursuing a matter which happened in the Dewan outside the Chamber is against all parliamentary precedents and conventions, as well as not endorsed by the parliamentary standing orders. It is important that the Speaker should be seen as rising above the fray in the exchanges between the MPs in the House, and not to wade into such a fray himself, least of all be perceived as acting as prosecutor, judge and jury all in one.
Karpal has given his explanation and the petty matter should rest there, lest Malaysians get the impression that the 11th Parliament is incapable of rising to the challenge of turning itself into a First World Reform Parliament.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman