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Early adjournment not due to politics: Pandikar

  • Pandikar Amin Mulia speaking to the media during the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Southeast Asia Regional Seminar "Women and Development: Bridging The Gap" at the Parliament. Photo courtesy: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 (Bernama) -- Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today denied that he had adjourned the debate on the Private Member's Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 2016 (RUU355) yesterday because of political agenda or pressure received from any party.

On the other hand, he had emphasized that his decision was merely to look after the welfare of the Parliament staff who had not slept the whole night.

As such, Pandikar Amin said he had exercised his power to adjourn the Parliamentary session at 4 pm instead of the normal time at 5.30 pm.

The first meeting of the fifth term of the 13th Parliament also created its own history when it sat for almost 20 hours beginning at 10 am on Wednesday until 5.05 am on Thursday.

Asked why he had allowed the sitting to go on for 20 hours, Pandikar Amin when met by reporters after delivering his keynote address at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentary South East Asia Regional Seminar at Parliament House today, said, "It was the wish of the government to end the bill which it wanted to terminate, it was not my wish...had to...my officers and I did not sleep for one

"So, at that time, it was within my power, I did not want to sit down any longer listening to debates which I had heard before, which sometimes were irrational. If they want to accuse me of being a 'bloody fool', then their debates for the last nine years which I had heard, most of them are bloody fools," he said at a media conference today.

He was commenting on criticisms by the opposition regarding his decision to end the Parliamentary sitting much earlier yesterday, before the RUU355 tabled by Marang Member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Adul Hadi Awang, could be debated.

Pandikar Amin's action in adjourning the last day of the Parliament sitting earlier than usual had drawn criticisms from various quarters especially the opposition who claimed that they were not given the opportunity to debate the RUU355.

The critics included Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Salahuddin Ayub who described the Speaker for adjourning the debate on the RUU355 yesterday as a 'bloody fool'.

Commenting further, Pandikar Amin said his task as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker was not merely to please everyone.

"If there are people considering it as a 'bloody fool', that is their own perception... I believe even PAS yesterday wanted the matter to be debated and voted.

"But I have the right to adjourn the sitting and the (Members of Parliament) can still debate in future. But when they debate, their speeches can be based merely on political agenda.

"I don't have any political agenda, I merely want every meeting to run smoothly. It's up to anyone to criticize me, I don't care, I don't care less as long as the Parliament runs smoothly," he said.

He said the move was also fair because both sides, that is, the government backbenchers and the opposition who wanted to interject and debate were not allowed to do so.

Pandikar Amin said the decision was made based on the power entrusted to him as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker. Although there were leaders who had said that the Bill (RUU355) would be tabled, but it would not be debated and voted at the Parliament sitting this time.

"That is their political mileage, they want to win the election, I don't want to win the election. What matters is what I said and what I do.

"Yesterday, we had sat until 5 am because it was the government's wish that all bills were debated under Standing Order 15 (5). That was not my wish, so when I have the power, I must enforce it, I did not want to wait for another two to three hours to listen to the debates of the Members of Parliament that were sometimes irrational to me," he said.

The Bill 355 was tabled by PAS president Abdul Hadi on the last day of the First Meeting of the Fifth Term of the 13th Parliament yesterday. The Dewan Rakyat sitting had begun on March 6.

Shortly after Abdul Hadi completed tabling the motion, it was supported by Kota Bharu Member of Parliament Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan who is also PAS secretary-general.

Pandikar Amin later decided that the bill be debated and decided at the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat.

The sitting was adjourned after the Tourism Tax Bill 2017, which was tabled by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, was passed with a majority vote.

The Dewan Rakyat sitting this time passed the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017, Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2017, Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2016, Self Employment Social Security Bill 2017, Tourism Tax Bill 2017 and Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2017.


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