Walk the talk, Pandikar tells Malaysian lawmakers


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian lawmakers have been harping on the need for an exemplary democratic process as one practised by the Western countries yet they themselves do not behave in a manner that would be deemed appropriate in western parliaments, said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia today.

“We always say we are a democratic country so we should emulate how other democratic countries, how the House of Commons operate. We like to quote that, but we don’t act like the lawmakers we refer to.

“In the British House of Commons, no MP has ever walked out during the tabling of a budget, never,” he told a press conference at the parliament reception room here.

His statement appeared to be directed at the Opposition lawmakers who walked out of the August House halfway through Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Budget 2017 speech last Friday.

Pandikar said he knew the Opposition was planning on walking out even before the day’s sitting. However, he was not going to accept them pinning the blame on him.

“It seemed like I told them to leave. But what I said was that if they are not interested in listening to the budget, when there are tens of millions of people watching it live, then they can leave.

“But I had already received inside information about their staged walkout. I just didn’t know when they were going to carry it out.

“So tell me, who is the disgrace to the parliament? Me, or the MPs who are always acting against the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Order?”

Pandikar was referring to a remark made by DAP Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who after a heated argument with the Speaker last Tuesday, called him a disgrace to the parliament.

“Yesterday morning I read the Hansard and saw that Beruas MP (Ngeh Koo Ham) had asked for me to be referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee (for ejecting Lim from the Special Chambers).

“Can you people enlighten me, and show me which Standing Order says a Speaker can be referred to the committee. Think before speaking. Don’t belittle parliament as if it’s just a market place.”