Ooops…Minister don’t know what goes on in Government matters?
Posted November 25, 2008on:
|Nazri escapes privileges committee|
|Praba Ganesan & Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Nov 25, 08 12:32pm|
|The Parliament today decided not to refer Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Nazri Aziz to a parliamentary disciplinary committee for making a false statement in Dewan Rakyat.
The decision by Deputy Speaker Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (left) was objected to vehemently by Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong), who was then suspended for two days for challenging the ruling.
Wan Junaidi explained that he adjudicated the matter based on three factors:
According to Wan Junaidi, although Nazri’s statement was misleading, he was not cognisant that it was misleading, and therefore had no intention to mislead the House.
The deputy speaker said Nazri had not violated all three conditions and therefore need not be referred to the parliamentary rights and privileges committee for further action to be taken against the minister.
Statement involved status of judges
He was referring to Nazri’s remarks in the House on Nov 6 that former Lord President Salleh Abas and other senior judges involved in the judicial crisis 20 years ago were not sacked but had their “services terminated early” following a recommendation by a panel.
Since then, Nazri has corrected the statement and said that all the judges involved had actually been sacked, but that their pensions have been paid on compassionate grounds.
He added that he believed the statement was true at the time and that he had no intention to mislead the House.
He had also said that he would accept any decision made by Wan Junaidi.
A ministerial statement sought
Before Wan Junaidi was able to make a ruling, Karpal interrupted and offered a way out for the minister.
“Padang Renggas (Nazri) can make a ministerial statement and therefore the deputy speaker will not have to rule on the matter,” said the DAP chairperson.
The statement can be used to clarify and apologise, he added.
Wan Junaidi responded by saying that it was not his place to determine if there was to be a ministerial statement – and that Karpal can object his decision.
The deputy speaker also reflected on how many other Commonwealth countries – Canada, Australia and New Zealand – handled similar situations and the way they determined what was ‘misleading’.
Plus, he said, he had read the private correspondence between the King and the rulers council from the period of the judicial crisis, and was able to come to a well-reasoned decision.
‘Decision is a mockery’
Karpal said that the deputy speaker had included statements made by the minister outside the House in making the decision.
“This is a mockery of this House. The decision is a mockery. The minister should apologise,” said Karpal.
By now a shouting match ensued involving both sides of the House, with the BN backbenchers shouting down Karpal on that basis that the deputy speaker has already made his decision.
It was at this point that Gobind, who is Karpal’s son, got up and accused the deputy speaker of defending the minister.
He was then ordered to sit, but he remained standing.
Gobind ordered out
“He (Nazri) makes the mistake and I pay the price,” said Gobind as he walked out.
“They are all cowards (to the shouts from the BN backbenchers). Stand up (referring to Nazri) and apologise like a man,” he added.
Wan Junaidi was not amused and told the DAP man that he risked a 10-day suspension if he kept his protests not to leave. Gobind relented and left chambers.
Later, Nazri told a press conference that he was not going to apologise.
Met later at the lobby, Gobind blasted his suspension as “ridiculous” and described the fracas as “the way the BN government run the Dewan Rakyat”.
“The minister had apologised outside of the Dewan and how did the deputy speaker without (the minister’s) explanation know what the defence was?” lambasted the Puchong MP.
“If he can explain outside then he should be able to explain inside the Dewan. I am very disappointed with the deputy speaker’s decision,” Gobind said.
Although slapped with suspension, Gobind said his action was justified and believe that “opposition MPs must not fear the consequences of standing up for their principles”.
Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) also condemned the suspension of his fellow Pakatan MP and said that the opposition coalition will not let Nazri off the hook easy.
“Nazri must apologise. He made a mistake in the House but yet he remained silent and have refused to apologise,” he told reporters outside the House.