By Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, on Wednesday, 20.11.1985
Lim Kit Siang proposes to table a substantive motion challenging the decision of the Deputy Speaker, Dr Abdul Hamid Pawanteh, for breach of rules of natural justice in rejecting my motion yesterday against Wan Najib Wan Mohamed for parliamentary contempt
I propose to table a substantive motion in the House to challenge the decision of the Deputy Speaker, Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanteh, for breach of the rules of natural justice in rejecting my motion yesterday against Wan Mohamed Najib Wan Mohamed for parliamentary contempt.
I feel very sad that the rules of natural justice, namely that there should be no bias and that there should be a right to be heard before any decision is made, had not been observed in Parliament, the highest deliberative and legislative chamber in the land.
If parliament cannot be seen to be fair in its proceedings, by observing the rules of natural justice, then what justice could the people expect form parliament and Members of Parliament?
I had yesterday asked the Deputy Speaker to allow me to explain why my motion on a matter of privilege was in order for the House to debate, but the Deputy Speaker refused to let me present my arguments and went on to announce that it had to be deferred till after government business – which in effect, is to pronounce a ‘death sentence’ on the motion.
In November 22, 1984, a similar privilege motion against the DAP MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh, was moved ahead of all government business, and I was following exactly the precedent established in the parliamentary motion suspending Karpal Singh from the House.
It would be another injustice in Parliament if privilege motions against Barisan Nasional MPs would never be given time for debate in the House, while privilege motions against Oppositions would always be given priority. There cannot be two types of privilege motions – depending on whether the subject is Barisan Nasional MP or Opposition MP. There can only be one type of privilege motions, which must be treated in the same manner regardless who is the subject of the motion.
The Deputy Speaker’s decision had violated not only the rules of natural justice, but also the Standing Orders and the precedent established by the Speaker, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, on Nov. 22, 1984 in connection with the privilege motion against Sdr. Karpal Singh.