My apologies for not blogging of late as I have been held back by work and if that was not bad, I was brought down by the haze, again. Feeling much better today, the first thing I would like to address is Lim Kit Siang's suspension from Parliament.
Now this is what Liew Chin Tong has to say.
Kit Siang's battle is not over yet.
Over the course of the
last half century, numerous attempts by the ruling elite to silence Lim
Kit Siang had failed. The latest – suspending him from Parliament for
half a year – will not silence Kit Siang’s voice for the nation.
On the contrary, 50 years after he started as a political novice with a
yet-to-be-registered party then – the Democratic Action Party – Kit
Siang is not done yet. The powers-that-be still want to silence him
because they know many Malaysians listen to Kit Siang. The people trust
Kit Siang more than they do Barisan Nasional.
So, what did Kit
Siang do at the Parliament this week? He was merely doing his duty as a
Member of Parliament, i.e., to voice his opinions and to state facts. He
was commenting on Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin’s role in preventing
the Public Accounts Committee to hold its meetings after chairperson
Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed was elevated to the government’s frontbench.
The PAC was at the height of investigating the 1MDB scandal with the
troubled company’s past and present CEOs were about to appear before the
Committee. The hearings never took place.
The series of moves
by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak – sacking of Attorney-General
Tan Sri Gani Patail and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,
and a strategic cabinet reshuffle – were aimed at averting a crisis that
could possibly lead to Najib being charged in court.
Barisan Nasional MPs who sat on the PAC were promoted to the front bench
in an attempt to stall the investigations into the 1MDB scandal. They
are Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican,
Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau.
Committee has still a Deputy Chairman and nine MPs who could still form
the quorum for the Committee to carry on its investigation. At that
critical juncture, Tan Sri Pandikar prevented the PAC from meeting and
carrying out its duties.
Nur Jazlan could have resisted the offer
and continue to lead the PAC. Speaker Pandikar could have ruled in
favour of those who want to see the Parliament playing its true
check-and-balance role by not preventing the PAC to function.
Jazlan and Pandikar lack a sense of history. They could have changed the
course of history for our nation. They could have sided with the
rakyat, and not with scandal-ridden Najib. They missed their date with
Whereas Kit Siang has proven his worth. He is but one
of many casualties of the 1MDB scandal; from Gani to Muhyiddin, to Tony
Pua, MACC officers, former Special Branch Deputy Director, and many
The veteran DAP leader has said, “What I said when I sought
clarification from the MP for Sepang, Mohamed Hanipa bin Maidin who was
speaking on the debate on the appointment of the Chairman of Public
Accounts Committee was whether he agreed that the Speaker has no powers
under the Standing Orders to stop the Public Accounts Committee, in the
absence of a PAC Chairman, from continuing with its 1MDB investigations
and which was therefore an abuse of power.”
usual refrain is that MPs can move a motion against his decision “which
is ultimate”. In a Westminster Parliamentary setting in which the
Government has majority, the Opposition would not have the number to
censure the Speaker.
Even if Kit Siang were to be subjected to
this ordeal, he should be given due process through a Committee of
Privileges hearing. DAP Legal Bureau Chief Gobind Singh explained to
Parliament that it is clear that in the case of alleged contempt of
Parliament such as the case of Kit Siang, the Speaker cannot bypass the
process of an inquiry by a committee.
Standing Order 80A
“Notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 relating to the
Committee of Privileges, in any case where it appears to the House that
there has been the commission, whether by a member or by any other
person, of any acts, matters or things as are made punishable as
contempt under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers)
Ordinance 1952, the House may appoint a committee to summarily enquire
into such a case and appropriate action in accordance with the said
I told Parliament that the Speaker should reverse
terrible precedents set by this Parliament previously that a member
could be “summarily executed” through the brute force of Government
majority in the form of a motion and a vote in the House.
we forget, Opposition MPs such as Fong Po Kuan in the year 2000, Karpal
Singh (2004), Gobind Singh (2010), Anwar Ibrahim (2010) and N. Surendran
(2013) were suspended in this manner.
In the more democratic
Westminster parliaments, suspensions are generally meted out for several
days to maintain the order of the House if it is relating to the
conduct of MPs in the House. In the British parliament, suspensions are
also used against MPs who were involved in financial improprieties, not
for exercising free speech without fear or favour.
suspension is just a punitive tool to silence members of the Opposition.
But Kit Siang will not be cowed. He told Parliament that his sacrifice
would not be meaningless because it would make the people more aware of
the embarrassing 1MDB scandal.
Fifty years in politics, he is
still the man the powers-that-be feared and still the ultimate symbol of
defiance and anti-establishment. Barred from entering Parliament for
half a year, Kit Siang is on a new journey to meet Malaysians of all
walks of life.
Plans are underway to commemorate the 50th
Anniversary of DAP on 18th March 2016, as well as the 50th Anniversary
of Kit Siang’s entry into politics on 1st December 2015, and his 75th
birthday on 20th February 2016.
We shall not be moved. We shall
remember the words of Thomas Paine, an 18th century philosopher
activist, “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph”.