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Monday, January 8, 2018

Pandikar violated MP’s freedom of speech

Pandikar violated MP’s freedom of speech, court told

  | January 8, 2018
Lawyer N Surendran cites Federal Constitution on freedom of speech in Dewan Rakyat in PJ Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian's suit against speaker for rejecting questions.
KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian told the High Court that the Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had breached freedom of speech in Parliament when he rejected questions related to 1MDB.
In the hearing before Justice Kamaluddin Md Said in chambers, Hee’s lawyer N Surendran said that Pandikar had violated Article 63(2) of the Federal Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech in the Dewan Rakyat.
“We said that several Federal Court decisions have stated that courts can inquire into the Dewan Rakyat’s decision when the Speaker had exceeded his jurisdiction.
“Everyone including the house of representatives is subordinate to the Federal Constitution,” he told reporters after the hearing.
Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing Pandikar, argued that courts cannot question any proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat.
“Any decision made by the Speaker is an integral part of the proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat.
“Two recent Federal Court decisions had affirmed the legal principles in parliamentary privileges and non-justifiability of its’ proceedings,” Shamsul said, referring to two cases related to former Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim’s decision in the state assembly.
In a recent ruling by the Federal Court on Aug 2017, it was decided that the courts cannot interfere into the proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat or state legislative assemblies.
The apex court had previously allowed Teng’s appeal to challenge two lower court decisions that did not rule in his favour.
He had declared the Port Klang state seat as vacant in 2011 after its former assemblyman, Badrul Hisham Abdullah was absent in the state assembly for six months.
Badrul later filed a lawsuit to nullify Teng’s decision.
Justice Kamaluddin had fixed Feb 19 for a decision on whether Hee’s suit should be struck out.
Pandikar had previously applied to strike out Hee’s suit on the grounds the suit had encroached into parliamentary privileges.
Hee took Pandikar and Dewan Rakyat secretary Roosme Hamzah to court last year for rejecting his questions related to 1MDB.
The PKR MP is seeking a court declaration that Pandikar’s decision to reject his questions related to 1MDB dated July 21, 2017 be made null and void.
Hee had requested to ask the government whether it had raised any objection on the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) forfeiture suit.
He also wanted to know the whereabouts of businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) as well as the status of Low as a Malaysian citizen as he was alleged to have obtained citizenship in one or more other countries.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said had said Hee’s action had tarnished the good name of the Dewan Rakyat.
“As a lawmaker, the PKR MP must be aware of what the Federal Constitution says about the rights and privileges of parliament.”

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