Hadi’s bill: Speaker’s decision has set precedent on separation of powers

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In the next session of Parliament, any MP whose questions had been summarily dismissed on the grounds of sub judice can revisit them and raise them again, suggests Wishful Accountant.

I refer to the song and dance, the sandiwara and wayang kulit that took place in Parliament when RUU355 was tabled but without any debate on it.

It has now become a case of you said, I said, they said:

The BN said: They would not support the bill and instead leave it to the speaker to decide what to do with it

Then the bill was moved up the ladder and put on top after government business was hastily and speedily ended.

Then the bill was tabled and only the introducer was able to talk about it, for an hour and a half.

No one else was allowed to speak or debate.

Today, a media report (see page 2) quoted the MIC as saying that the BN had decided that its members would not debate the bill.

The report said the BN council had agreed that they would allow Hadi to table the bill but would not allow any debate on it.

This ‘expose’ apparently infuriated the speaker who steadfastly maintained that it was his decision and he did not care who said what.

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In the meantime, in Bolehland the fantasy continues… The season finale has been laid bare and we await the premier of the new season.

One positive thing came out of the whole drama though, and that was the ineffective court order served on the speaker of Parliament. Regardless of the effect this time around, Parliament has finally made a ruling that it is supreme in terms of law-making and each branch of the government has its own duty and responsibility.

If what is written in the press is true and not misquoted (just being careful as this seems to be a frequent occurrence now – as in just mouth off and blame the media for twisting the words after), then the speaker is spot on, as reported:

The legal rule of sub-judice cannot be cited to prevent Parliament from performing its legislative function, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said when allowing a private member’s Bill to enhance Shariah sentencing today. Rejecting allegations of abuse in his decision to admit the Bill despite an ongoing lawsuit to block this, Pandikar said each arm of the government must not interfere with the others. “If a court stops this, that means the courts become more powerful than Parliament,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today, citing parliamentary rules on sub judice.

In the past couple of years, certain quarters have claimed sub judice for anything and everything they did not wish to discuss in Parliament.

Now that the speaker has categorically ruled on the issue, this is a precedent that will be effective until something comes along and it is over-ruled or a new precedent set.

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In the next session of Parliament, any MP whose questions had been summarily dismissed on the grounds of sub judice can revisit them and raise them again.

Regardless of the circumstances, to me this was an historic day for our Parliament.

You think…

Wishful Accountant, who practises his trade, is a keen customer services and rights champion who spends his own time and resources chasing banks, utility providers, highway concessionaires and local councils on various public interest issues. Occasionally, he feels compelled to comment on political and social issues.

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