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Friday, March 20, 2009

> Emergency motion on Gobind's suspension

Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Bandar Kuching) today submitted an urgent motion requesting the Dewan Rakyat to debate Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong)’s suspension on Monday as he claimed that the latter should not be denied his rights to enjoy the benefits of an MP given by the law.

He said the motion was submitted to the Speaker’s office under Standing Order 18 as the motion passed on Monday to suspend Gobind for 12 months without allowance and benefits was illegal.

"A legislative institution is wrong to pass a motion which is against the law as Gobind, as an MP, is entitled to whatever benefits provided under the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980.

"The House had deprived him of all these facilities. The House can, at most, stop him from entering the precinct of the Dewan and it has gone beyond that," he told reporters in Parliament lobby.

Chong said the House should not take away what the law has given to Gobind.

"It is regrettable that such a motion had been passed as it will shame Parliament if Gobind commences an action in Court and it finds that the House has no power to take away his salary and allowance as an MP," he said.

Chong added that to avoid such a development, he urged the House to consider revoking the motion passed on Monday.

He also said by taking away the privileges of an MP inside and outside Parliament, the House has also deprived the voters of Puchong their rightful representation.

"I have gone through the whole Act and I cannot find anything in the Act to allow the House to deprive an elected representative his entitlement given under the Act.

"The decision is ultra vires. Unless the House has amended the Act, it cannot take away what the law has given to Gobind," he said.

Gobind was suspended after he challenged Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to answer a question he posed in the House on the murder case of Altantuya Shaariibuu and told Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee he should be ashamed of himself when Kiandee tried to stop him from asking more last week.

When pointed out that a precedent was already set when Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) was suspended without allowance for six months for challenging the Speaker’s decision in 2001, Fong, who was also present, said the precedent was wrong, illegal and bad and it should not be followed, therefore the motion submitted by Chong must be debated - theSun.