Defiant Speaker says debate on DoJ suits a no-go

Pandikar-Amin

KUALA LUMPUR: A defiant Pandikar Amin Mulia has insisted that debating the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) civil suits on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) may be sub judice as the court there can cite the Parliamentary Hansard.

In arguing his point, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker quoted Standing Order 36(2) which stipulates that a case currently tried in court cannot be mentioned if the Speaker believes it can affect the interests of those under trial.

“If I allow for the case to be debated in the Dewan, the minister will reply and it will receive huge coverage,” he told a press conference in Parliament here today, adding that he did not understand why Malaysian lawmakers wanted to debate the matter here.

Pandikar added that those presiding over the case in the US, would read what was said in the Dewan and this could end up influencing their stance on the case as the US court could cite what was raised in Parliament.

He also said that despite the brickbats he received, and the differing views put forward, as the Speaker, he had the final say.

“Your opinion is your opinion, my opinion is my opinion. But I am the Speaker, I have the authority.

“(Besides) This is actually all about politics, but that is not my business. I don’t want to be involved in political matters as I am a Speaker.”

Pandikar had on Monday ruled that lawmakers will not be allowed to debate the DoJ civil suits seeking forfeiture of assets linked to 1MDB as it could be sub judice.

This prompted Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo to file a motion to review the decision under Standing Order 43.

The DoJ lawsuits claim that over USD3.5 billion (RM14.78 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB, and that it was seeking to “seize assets” involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money.