Deputy Minister cannot pass the buck to the Speaker on whether to debate RUU 355
26 July 2018
We refer to the statement today by Deputy Minister Fuziah Salleh (PKR-Kuantan) that it is up to the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat whether to allow RUU 355 to be debated, and that the government cannot interfere.
This is entirely wrong. I am surprised that this Deputy Minister in the PM’s department can make such a wrongheaded statement.
It is in fact the government which effectively decides which motions or bills are to be debated, and not the Speaker. This is by virtue of standing order 15(1), which states that government business takes precedence over private members business.
Hence, it is up to the government to bring forward any private members motion for debate. This can be done if the Minister in charge of parliamentary affairs informs the Speaker that the government desires to bring the private members motion up for debate. Otherwise, the Speaker is bound by standing order 15(1) and the usual order of business.
In short, the decision whether to debate Hadi’s RUU 355 motion, cannot be passed on to the Speaker.
Fuziah also misunderstands the application of the concept of separation of powers to parliament. In a Westminster-style parliament such as ours, the executive’s legislative agenda is prioritised.
The RUU 355 motion had been proposed and seconded in the last sitting of parliament. In accordance with standing order 49(3), the next stage is for the motion to be debated.
However RUU 355 is a blatantly unconstitutional bill, and the government is under no obligation to sacrifice legislative time to debate such a bill.
Legislative time must be used for the benefit of the people; there are many pressing laws and amendments to laws that must be passed to implement the reform agenda voted for by Malaysians in GE-14.
Lawyers for Liberty