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Friday, March 13, 2009

> Speaker should quit, says Karpal

Veteran parliamentarian Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) today called for the resignation of Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

This followed the speaker's inaction in issuing arrest warrants under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 on those who were involved in preventing Karpal from going into Parliament on Feb 26.

After the incident, Karpal had on several occasions asked the House to pass a resolution under the act to issue warrants of arrest against three Umno Youth members.

However, the speaker had turned down his request, insisting that it would be best to set up a special committee to investigate the matter under Section 80(A) of the Standing Orders.

“If the speaker does not act in calling the three people to the House for punishment, it is my view that he is a very weak speaker and ought to step down,” Karpal told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

“By his inaction, the speaker has in fact set a very dangerous precedent. I understand that the speaker together with the others on the committee had viewed the clip of the mob attack yesterday.

“Those three individuals (in the video) should be brought before the House, there is not necessity for this committee under section 80A to go about setting up an inquiry,” he said.

Karpal, who was the victim during the affray, was served a notice today to attend a meeting by the committee at 1pm next Tuesday as a witness.

Other MPs who came to Karpal's aid when he was mobbed on Feb 26 were also served notices to attend the meeting. They are Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) and Fong Kui Lun (DAP-Bukit Bintang) as well as N Gobalakrisnan (PKR-Padang Serai).

Karpal's 34-year-old personal assistant Michael Cornalius, was also called to attend the meeting.

However, Karpal asserted that DAP MPs will not cooperate by attending the meeting as they supported his call for the House to act as the court of law and issue the arrest warrants.

Asked if there would be consequence if they boycott the meeting, Karpal said: “Actually it is neither a select committee nor a privileges committee but just a committee (therefore it has no power to call witnesses)”.

“It is wrong to say it is a select committee,” said Karpal adding that it is a “dangerous precedence if I appear before this committee because the perpetrators identified themselves so defiantly”.

He added that “the speaker has got it all wrong” and “it is not too late for him to uphold the dignity of the House”.

“If each time they are going to set a committee for the purpose of inquiring if there was a disturbance in Parliament, it clearly shows that we have a very weak Parliament and a Parliament that is not prepared to take on any challenge,” said Karpal.

“As a MP, I expect the speaker to protect, not only his own dignity by acting without fear or favour, but also my dignity,” he asserted.

The first meeting took place yesterday in the Speaker’s chambers. It was attended by deputy speaker Ronald Kiandeee, as well as MPs Tiong King Sing (BN-Bintulu), Fong Chan Ong (BN-Alor Gajah), Hajah Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong), R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) and Kamaruddin Jaffar (PAS-Tumpat). Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) had opted out of the meeting - Malaysiakini.