Riduan should be immediately reinstated as Dewan Rakyat secretary as his humiliating and drastic demotion is an unconstitutional punishment violating Article 65(2) of Malaysian Constitution

Riduan Rahmat is making history as having the shortest stint as the 13th Dewan Rakyat secretary, as he was appointed to the post on February 22, 2020 – less than three months!

It is an ignominious end for Riduan’s parliamentary service for 31 years, as he joined the civil service as an administrative officer at the Parliament of Malaysia on Jan 31, 1989 and has served as Dewan Negara secretary since September 8, 2014.

Riduan should be immediately reinstated as his humiliating and drastic demotion is an unconstitutional punishment which violates Article 65(2) of the Malaysian Constitution.

Article 65(2) provides that the Dewan Rakyat secretary, which is one of the top civil service posts, should be appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, and “shall hold office until he attains the age of compulsory retirement for members of the general public service unless he sooner resigns his office or is transferred to another office in the general public service”.

Riduan is not being “transferred to another office in the general public service” but is unconstitutionally punished without cause and further subject to drastic demotion as well.

The post of Dewan Rakyat Secretary is a higher post than Dewan Negara Secretary, which Riduan had held for nearly six years from 8.9.2014 to 21.2.2020, until he was promoted to be Dewan Rakyat Secretary when Datuk Roosme binti Hamzah retired after serving for over two years.

Now, he has been demoted to Dewan Negara management secretary, which is even junior to his former post as Dewan Negara secretary, and his junior has become his senior.

If Riduan has been guilty of serious dereliction of duty as Dewan Rakayt secretary, there should be an inquiry into his misconduct, as he should not be penalised and drastically demoted without cause or proper inquiry.

In fact, in view of the high position of the office of Dewan Rakyat secretary, Riduan should not be removed as Dewan Rakyat secretary “except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court”, i.e. by way of a tribunal.

Let the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, explain the reason for Riduan’s unconstitutional punishment and drastic demotion, and whether this matter had been brought to the Cabinet for approval or whether it is solely the decision of the Minister for parliamentary affairs.

Is Riduan being punished because Tun Mahathir Mohamad’s motion of no confidence for Monday’s Parliament had been accepted by the Speaker?

Is this a gross misconduct to justify the immediate, humiliating and drastic demotion of Riduan?

Let a tribunal of inquiry be established to decide on this constitutional matter.

In this connection, it must be understood that the Minister for parliamentary affairs is not the master of Parliament, who could require the Dewan Rakyat secretary to act under his directive as this will make the fundamental principle in the Malaysian Constitution on the doctrine of separation of powers a mockery.

The master of Parliament is the Speaker and the Dewan Rakyat Secretary answers to the Speaker and not to the Minister for parliamentary affairs, who is only responsible for the government’s parliamentary affairs and does not make him the King of Parliament.

MP FOR ISKANDAR PUTERI
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 16th May 2020