by Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, Oct, 22 1985:
The rejection of the PAC’s report on the 197 Federal Government Accounts by Dewan Rakyat yesterday is the second parliamentary farce in two weeks
The rejection of the PAC’s report on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday is the second farce in two weeks. Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs seem very determined to destroy all public respect, confidence and respect in Parliament by acting more and more irresponsibly.
I could not think of a more irresponsible Parliamentary action in recent years than the rejection of my motion which had proposed acceptance of the PAC report on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts.
It is true that my motion also contained sections which the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs may find objectionable, namely, expressing regret that the full report of the PAC on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts was only table on 15th Oct. 1985; and the directive to the current PAC to present all its reports to the present Parliament and not to the next Parliament after the next general election.
But what the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs should have done is to amend the motion to remove what they regard as the objectionable portions (although I do not see why they are objectionable), and accept and adopt the full report of the PAC on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts.
In rejecting my motion into, the Barisan Ministers and Mps have also rejected the PAC Report on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts. This is indeed parliamentary history, for no PAC Report had ever been rejected in Malaysia before.
I understand some Ministers and some Barisan MPs are arguing outside the House that it is only my motion which is rejected, and not the PAC report. I think even school students will know this is utter nonsense. It is not so much my motion being rejected, but the contents of my motion which is rejected. As my motion proposes the adoption of the Pac report, its rejection means the rejection of the PAC Report.
What is now the consequence of Parliament’s rejection of the PAC report on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts? This would mean that all the recommendations, proposals and instructions of the Pac on the 1977 Accounts, and all the actions by the various government departments pursuant to the Pac report, have no validity – and that the PAC Report of 1977 Accounts could in future be challenged as of no validity whatsoever.
I am sure it is not eh intention of the Government to have the PAC report on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts rejected by Parliament, but this is what has happened.
It is shocking that no Minister took part in the debate yesterday, on a subject which no one could say is irrelevant.
I would call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, at tomorrow Cabinet’s weekly meeting, to conduct a full review of the Barisan Nasional’s deplorable performance in Parliament, which resulted in two Parliamentary farces in four parliamentary sittings!
Substantive motion under S. O. 43 to review Deputy Speaker’s ruling on Wednesday’s adjournment of House
Yesterday, at the beginning of the Parliamentary sitting, the Deputy Speaker, Dr. Hamid Pawanteh, gave a ruling that last Wednesday’s parliamentary adjournment, cancelling Thursday and Friday’s parliamentary sittings, was valid and in accordance with the Standing Orders.
I am not convinced or impressed by the Deputy Speaker’s reasons for his ruling, and as I had not been given an opportunity to submit my arguments before such a ruling is made, I would be tabling a substantive motion under Standing Order 43 to review the Deputy Speaker’s ruling.
S. O. 43 reads:
“43. Tuan Yang di-Pertuan in the House or the Chairman in Committee shall be responsible for the observance of the rules of order in the House and Committee respectively, and his decision on any point of order shall not be open to appeal and hall not be reviewed by the House except upon a substantive motion moved for that purpose. Such a motion shall not require more than two days’ notice.”
In this connection, I am surprised that the Penyata Rasmi (Official Report) of Wednesday’s Parliamentary sitting did not carry in full the remarks by the Minister of Land and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Adib Adam, when moving his illegal motion. I will be writing to the Speaker to ask for an opportunity to listen to the actual tape recording concerned.
Adib’s proposal of no use to MPs
It was reported in today’s press that Daruk Seri Adib Adam would recommend to the Cabinet for a grace period of not less than two weeks before a Bill was tabled for its second reading in Parliament. Adib said this was to give the MPs time to prepare for the debate and for the printers to complete printing the Bills.
Adib’s proposal is of no use to MPs at all. I am surprised that Adib up to now does not understand the problem of the MPs.
What MPs need is two weeks’ grace from the circulation of the printed bills before it is debated for second reading, so that MPs could study and consult the interested groups about the implications concerned. MPs would get no help if they are given two weeks’ grace from the First Reading of the Bill, while the Bill is circulated one day before Second Reading.
This is because when the first reading is tabled, only the title of the Bill is announced, and MPs have no clue whatsoever what are the amendments being sought by the Government.
If Adib Adam is genuinely interested in helping MPs, then he should suggest to the Cabinet that firstly, Bills should be printed and ready for circulation on first reading (as is actually the case for many bills, except that second reading is demanded the very next day), and that MPs should be given two weeks’ grace to study a Bill between circulation of the Bill to MPs and the Second Reading.