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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

> Gobind's deprivation of allowance, unacceptable

DAP MPs have described Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia's decision to reject their emergency motion to "cancel or set aside" (DAP-Puchong) Gobind Singh's suspension and deprivation of allowance as "unreasonable" and "unacceptable".

Chong Chieng Jien (DAP-Bandar Kuching) said his motion was tabled on Thursday and today it was rejected in the Speaker's chamber and not in the House.

"The Speaker's reason for rejecting the motion in chamber was because the matter has been raised and the minister has given clarifications," he said in a press conference in Parliament lobby.

Chong said the issue of the House making an "unlawful decision" (Gobind’s suspension and allowance deprivation) was not raised.

"We tabled a motion to set aside the suspension with good intent to salvage or save this House from proceeding with an unlawful decision, which ultimately may become a great embarrassment to the House," he stressed.

M.Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) said the most important aspect of suspension which was missed out is there should have been a proper inquiry by the committee of privileges under Standing Order 18.

Standing Order states that "there shall be referred to the committee any matter which appears to affect the powers and privileges of the committee. It shall be the duty of the committee to consider any such matters."

Kulasegaran said the failure of the House to refer the matter to the committee was in itself a mistake and, worse, the whole motion was completed within one-and-a-half hours without giving many of the Opposition MPs a chance to debate.

"Today, after Bandar Kuching raised the matter, I told the Speaker 'the Malaysian Parliament is a laughing stock' and that people are asking why the accused was not given a chance to explain himself?"

Earlier in the Dewan, there was a heated exchange between DAP MPs Chong, Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) and Kulasegaran, and the Speaker when Chong said the reason for rejection was "unreasonable".

The Speaker refused to allow them to even speak about it, reiterating that the motion had been rejected in the chamber, therefore no further discussion was allowed.

Visibly unsatisfied, Fong said: "Can you by way of motion remove an MP's privileges just like that? He is not disqualified, if he is disqualified, you can remove all the privileges."

Gobind was suspended on March 16 without allowance and benefits for one year for alleging that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak was involved in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu and for contempt against the Deputy Speaker - theSun.