Speech (Part 2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Kulai DAP Branch ‘Back-To-The-People’ Dinner held in Kulai on Friday, 24th July 1992 at 8 pm
Tan Sri Mohamed Zahir has denied that he had ever said that Karpal Singh could be charged in course for possession of Vijandran pornographic videotape
The Vijandran pornographic videotape produced by DAP Deputy Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Sdr. Karpal Singh, in Parliament last Monday is a great test which will define the powers, privileges and position of Parliament in Malaysia – as to whether it is the most supreme and highest body in the land, or is subordinate to the Cabinet and must take orders from the Ministers.
I was very disturbed by various statements published in the newspapers in the past few days, particularly quoting the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, as saying that Karpal Singh could be charged in court for possession of the Vijandran pornographic videotape. Utusan Malaysia of July 22 (Malacca Edition) even quoted Tan Sri Zahir as saying that Karpal might have ‘makan diri’ with the production of the Vijandran pornographic videotape.
As I had been suspended from attending Parliament until the end of the year (over my expose of the $130 million MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal), I came out with very strong statements reminding the Speaker that he should stand up and defend the rights and privileges of all MPs from any attempt by the Executive to subvert the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.
I declared that Tan Sri Zahir had acted wrongly in musing aloud that Karpal Singh could be prosecuted for producing the Vijandran pornographic videotape in Parliament.
I received a letter from Tan Sri Zahir yesterday evening, clarifying and stating:
1. that he had never said that Karpal Singh might ‘makan diri’ for producing the Vijandran pornographic videotape;
2. that he had never said that he would contact the Attorney-General to ascertain whether the possession of the Vijandran pornographic videotape was an offence or not;
3. that he had never said that Sdr. Karpal Singh could be prosecuted in court for possession of the videotape; and
4. that the news reports quoting him saying the above were untrue and incorrect reports.
I welcome the clarification of Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, for otherwise, he would have compromised his position, independence and integrity as Speaker of Parliament.
The whole country is waiting for Tan Sri Zahir’s ruling on the Vijandran pornographic videotape presented to Parliament by Karpal Singh.
The DAP has made it very clear that the Speaker has no right or authority to follow the directive of the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to surrender the videotape to the police – especially in view of the police record of destroying eleven Vijandran pornographic videotapes, 2,000 photographs and negatives.
I know there is a contention that the Vijandran pornographic videotape was not properly presented to Parliament by Karpal Singh, as it should be by way of a motion, and not just handed to the Chair.
I do not agree, but even conceding that it is arguable as to whether Karpal Singh had presented the Vijandran pornographic videotape to Parliament in a proper manner, this question has become academic and irrelevant.
This is because the Vijandran pornographic videotape had been accepted by the Chair in the person of Deputy Speaker Ong Tee Kiat when it was presented by Karpal Singh.
If Karpal’s presentation of the Vijandran pornographic videotape was improper and irregular, then the Deputy Speaker should not have accepted it. Having accepted the Vijandran pornographic videotape, and in the process curing any irregularity that might have occured, the Speaker is estopped from arguing that the Vijandran pornographic videotape had not been properly presented to the House.
It has also been argued that as Speaker, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, could overrule Deputy Speaker Ong Tee Kiat for acting irregularly and outside his powers in accepting the Vijandran pornographic videotape.
It has always been the argument of the DAP MPs that the Speaker has the powers to overrule the Deputy Speaker where he had committed errors – as for instance in the numerous instances n the May meeting of Parliament when Ong Tee Kiat acted in a biased, unfair and perverse manner against DAP MPs leading to parliamentary pandemoniums and my suspension from Parliament.
However, Tan Sri Zahir had always rejected this argument, claiming that the Speaker has no powers to overrule Deputy Speakers.
If Tan Sri Zahir should now suddenly decide that he has the powers to overrule Deputy Speaker Ong Tee Keat and rule that the Vijandran pornographic videotape was improperly and irregularly presented to Parliament, this would be another clear case of injustice against the DAP MPs as well as to Parliament.