I am very shocked that the Government proposes to ram through its proposed Amendments to the Standing Orders as the first item of business when Parliament meets on Monday


Press Conference Statement (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Seremban on Friday, October 13, 1995 at 11.30 am

I am very shocked that the Government proposes to ram through its proposed Amendments to the Standing Orders as the first item of business when Parliament meets on Monday.

I am very shocked that the Government proposes to ram through its proposed Amendments to the Standing Orders as the first item of business when Parliament meets on Monday.

The proposed amendments to the Standing Orders, which were tabled in the Parliamentary meeting last August, were withdrawn at the last minute, giving the impression that the Standing Orders Committee would be given an Opportunity to reconsider the proposals in view of the widespread opposition from MPs, both government and Opposition.

Last week, the Opposition Member of Parliament on the Standing Orders Committee, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, told me that no meeting had been scheduled for the Committee to reconsider the proposals, and now , the Government wants to use its five-sixth majority in Parliament to ram through the amendments the first thing on Monday.

I find this very sad as there are already so many restrictions on free and untralmmelled debate in the Dewan Rakyat. When the proposed amendments to the Standing Orders are passed, Opposition MPs will be further hampered and curtailed from performing their parliamentary duties to provide a “check-and-balance” to the abuses and misuses of power in government.

The proposed amendments to the Standing Orders will radically affect three main areas: oral question; motions of urgent, definite public importance and disciplinary powers of the Speaker.

The amendments will slash the 20 oral questions which an MP can submit per meeting to five oral question (except the long budget meeting when 10 oral questions would be allowed) and effectively “kill off” Opposition motions of urgent, definite public importance.

The Speaker and Deputy Speakers will be given powers to suspend an MP for up to 10 days, when at present, they have powers to suspend an MP for only one day.

There is no justification for giving such undemocratic and draconian powers to the Speaker and Deputy Speakers, which would be open to gross abuse, as Speaker in Parliaments notorious for their fisticuffs like Taiwan and India, do not have such powers!

Malaysia is without a PM or DPM for four days

As the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, has left overseas for an official visit to Peru and to attend the Non-Aligned Movement conference in Sri Lanka, I had sent an urgent fax to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday asking for an appointment to discuss the proposed amendments to the Standing Orders.

However, I am told that Anwar Ibrahim has not returned from his overseas trip and Malaysia is without a Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister for at least four days.

This is most unsatisfactory and I hope I could reach Anwar Ibrahim before Monday to communicate to him my shock and protest at the government move to ram through the proposed amendments to the Standing Orders as the first item of parliamentary business on Monday.

The proposed amendments to the Standing Orders should be referred to an All-Party Speaker’s Conference which should consider wide-ranging reforms to Parliamentary procedures and proceedings, including the Standing Orders , which will make Parliament a more relevant and meaningful institution in the Malaysian political system.

If the Government disregards the views of the Opposition and wants to use its five-sixth parliamentary majority to ram though the amendments to the Standing Orders on Monday, then this will become the single biggest divisive issue in Parliament since the April general election , for which the Barisan Nasional Government must take full responsibility.

Loading