Monday, October 20, 2008

Speaker rejects emergency motion on Hindraf

Rahmah Ghazali Oct 20, 08 12:06pm

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia today rejected an emergency motion by M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) last week to discuss the government's recent ban on Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

The speaker rejected the motion on the grounds that the matter was not urgent enough because members of parliament will still have an opportunity to discuss the ban on the ongoing budget debate session."They still can discuss the (Hindraf) issue during the budget debate session, there is an opportunity to do so. Why would we need an emergency motion for this?" asked Pandikar. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar banned the movement last Wednesday after the ministry said it was satisfied with facts and evidence showing that "Hindraf had (been) and was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality".The decision was criticised, especially by Pakatan Rakyat leaders who described it as going against the principles of democracy and rights.
Barisan Nasional component party Gerakan and the Human Rights Commission have expressed rare disapproval as well.

At a press conference in the Parliament lobby, Kulasegaran said he had been “surprised” to receive a letter this morning informing him that the motion had been rejected.The motion, moved under Standing Orders 18 to the Home Ministry, is required to meet three criteria - the matter has to be specific, urgent and of public interest.“I regret that the speaker has made the decision like this. It would have been better for him to allow this motion because it is very urgent, otherwise we would not have move it,” he said.Kulasegaran pointed out that, had the motion been allowed, the home minister would have had to issuing a reply to the House immediatelyNow there will be a delay, as the minister is only due to wind up on matters relating to his ministry in two weeks time, during the ongoing debate on Budget 2009.

The Ipoh Barat MP said he had been shocked to hear of the ban.“It is best for the minister to justify (the reason for the ban) in Parliament. I was surprised when the government decided to ban Hindraf, as (an announcement) was not made in the House.“When parliament is sitting, the minister should respect the House. This is not good for the parliamentary system.”