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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 14th March 2009: 

Double jeopardy - Motion to suspend Gobind for one year without pay against parliamentary Standing Orders

The motion to be moved by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to suspend DAP MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo for a year without parliamentary pay and privileges is against the parliamentary Standing Orders.

Gobind had already been punished by the Deputy Speaker, Datuk Ronald Kiandee with a one-day suspension for what transpired in the House on Thursday, and it goes against all the rudiments of common sense, fair play and justice to invoke the Umno/Barisan Nasional parliamentary majority to subject Gobind to double jeopardy with a very harsh second punishment over the same parliamentary incident.

The Deputy Speaker had taken action against Gobind under Section 44 of the Parliamentary Standing Orders which, among others, provide:

Parliament Standing Order

44. (1) The Chair, after having called the attention order in the of the House, or of the Committee, to the conduct of a member who persists in irrelevance, or in tedious repetition either of his own arguments or of the arguments used by other members in debate, may direct him to discontinue his speech.

(2) The Chair shall order any member whose conduct is disorderly or whose acts are in contempt of the House or who continues to disregard the authority of the Chair to withdraw from the House for a period not exceeding ten days and such member shall immediately withdraw from the House. If the meeting adjourns before the end of such period, the remainder of the period shall be brought to the next meeting, unless Parliament is earlier dissolved, if the Chair does not determine the period for the member to withdraw, such period shall be deemed to be two days inclusive of the day of the incident.

(3) If the Chair deems that the power under paragraphs (1) and (2) is inadequate, he may commence the procedure to suspend the member from the service of the House by naming the member as follows:

“I hereby name the Honorable Mr . . . ”

A Minister shall thereafter rise and propose, and another Minister second, a motion as follows:

“That the House hereby resolves that Mr . . . be suspended from the service of the House until (date ).”

The Chair shall put the motion to be decided by the House without any amendment, adjournment or debate.

(4) An action may be taken under this Order notwithstanding that the disorderly conduct, the act of contempt or the continued disregard of the authority of the Chair has taken place in a Committee of the House.

(5) If a member has been suspended from the service of the House, he shall be ordered to withdraw from the meeting and disallowed to participate in the meeting until the expiration of the suspension period. If the meeting which is in progress ends before the expiration of the suspension period, the remainder of the suspension period shall be brought to the next meeting, unless Parliament is earlier prorogued or dissolved.

The motion is also against all parliamentary tradition, convention and practices as matters of privilege arising from what happened in Parliament should be referred to the Committee of Privileges instead by way of summary motion not based on who is right or wrong, but who has got the parliamentary majority to impose its will on the House!

The right and proper occasion to invoke the summary powers of Parliament, the Umno/BN-controlled Parliament is not prepared to do so. But UMNO/BN MPs have no hesitation to invoke the summary powers of Parliament when it is clearly wrong and a gross abuse of power for the sake of their own political agenda.

I reiterate what I blogged yesterday:

“It is most shocking that Parliament refused to invoke its powers to deal summarily with violations of parliamentary privileges like the obstruction and menacing by UMNO Youth goons of DAP MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh from carrying out his parliamentary duties in the parliamentary precincts last month (Feb. 26), when this is very clearly provided for under the Act 347 - Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, especially when such an offence is punishable with a seven-year jail sentence under Section 124 of the Penal Code.”

Is Parliament a court of justice or a House of Iniquity?

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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