PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today urged the Dewan Rakyat to revoke its suspension against PKR MP N Surendran, claiming the suspension was mala fide and illegal.
“Surendran’s suspension is a mockery of our supposedly most august House which is fast losing its lustre, respect and public confidence,” said LFL adviser Eric Paulsen.
On Tuesday, Surendran was ejected from the Parliament for criticising Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia for refusing to allow a motion to debate the demolition of the Sri Muneswarar Kaliyaman Temple in Jalan P Ramlee.
The next day, Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, led by Law Minister Nancy Shukri brought in a motion to suspend Surendran from parliament for six months.
However, Pakatan Rakyat MPs defended Surendran, questioning the haste in which the motion was passed and said it was not a matter of public interest.
They also argued that there was conflict of interest involving the Speaker but the arguments were shot down. Nancy then proceeded with the motion and got the PKR MP suspended.
Concurring with Pakatan’s argument, Paulsen said that under Rule 27(3) of the Standing Order, a motion must satisfy the one day notification period.
Suspension motion riddled with errors –
“In this matter, the motion was presented to the House at 6pm on Nov 13, 2013 and tabled the next day at 11.30am, in less than 24 hours.
“And this was deemed legitimate by the Speaker. In a display of petty behaviour, he ejected Surendran from Parliament on the basis that he has yet to complete the two days suspension, defined as 48 hours even though Rule 44(2) says that such period shall be deemed to be two days inclusive of the day of incident,” said Paulsen.
He also said that Surendran’s case should have been referred to Privileges Committee under Rule 80 as there was conflict of interest involving Pandikar.
“It is an impartial avenue as the facts about the temple demolition have yet to be ascertained and there is no reason for the Speaker to accept the government’s explanation on the matter.
“Instead, Pandikar used Rule 27 to hear the matter, which is clearly erroneous as the motion is presented to the Speaker for his deliberation when he himself is the subject of the motion,” he said.
Paulsen added that it was wrong for Pandikar to deem the motion to suspend Surendran as a matter of ‘public interest’ as it was neither debated nor defined by parliamentarians.
He said that Pandikar’s action was a serious blow to democracy and served as warning to Pakatan that Parliament and government would not tolerate any criticism.
“Pandikar’s action clearly showed he had an axe to grind or had already made up his mind when he bulldozed through the suspension motion that was riddled with serious errors,” said Paulsen.
G. Vinod, Free Malaysia Today