PETALING JAYA: The Dewan Rakyat has been consigned to being a “kangaroo sitting” by Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, says Tony Pua.
Mocking Pandikar’s desire to leave a legacy of reform that will “lead us to the heights of a first world parliament”, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said the Speaker has instead “disgraced the highest legislative institution of the land” by rejecting a “record” number of questions from MPs on the issue of 1MDB.
“Opposition MPs were in a state of shock yesterday upon taking our seats at the start of the second sitting of the Dewan Rakyat this year.
“More than 30 questions, all of which concern the single largest financial scandal ever to hit Malaysia, 1MDB were rejected by the House Speaker.
“The Guiness Book of Records of Malaysia must take note of the sheer incredible scale of rejection of parliamentary questions in a single sitting. I myself had five questions rejected – possibly an individual parliamentary record in itself,” Pua said in a statement.
What irked the DAP national publicity secretary even more was the denial later by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said, that there was a “massive parliamentary cover up” on the matter.
Azalina had described the “cover-up” allegations as “utterly baseless”.
“Azalina’s denial over the rejected 1MDB questions by the Speaker has no credibility whatsoever.
“The fact that a member of the executive, who is an interested party in the scandal, had to step forward to defend the Speaker, who is supposed to be impartial in the running of the august House speaks volumes,” Pua said
He further criticised the minister in charge of parliamentary affairs for reprimanding opposition MPs and asking them to “give precedence to issues that concern people under their respective constituencies”.
“The blinkered minister obviously doesn’t realise that my constituents voted for me overwhelmingly not because I spend my time debating about drains and potholes in my constituency – although those problems are dealt with by my office with the local council.
“They gave me a very specific mandate to not only check on the government, but also to expose all the wrongdoings of those who are in power,” Pua said.
He proceeded to give an example of how a question based on a statement given by the finance ministry previously was now being rejected for dubious reasons.
“I had asked the finance minister to state the ‘latest balance of the investment units owned by 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited, and the name of the bank or financial institution which holds such investment’.
“But the Speaker rejected the question on the pretext of presumably questionable assumption (“sangkaan”) and it being a figment of my imagination (“buah fikiran”).
“Current and former finance ministers, as well as 1MDB, itself have openly stated that the company had investments in the form of ‘units’ held with a ‘custodian bank’ previously valued at US$2.3 billion, of which a substantial portion has apparently been redeemed.
“Hence where is the ‘sangkaan’ or ‘buah fikiran’ in my question?” Pua asked, adding that it was ironic as the rejection by the Speaker yesterday and the minister’s refusal to answer which now lead to a reasonable assumption that the said ‘units’ are fraudulent, or that there is no longer any ‘custodian bank’.
In the parliament sitting last October, the finance ministry had stated that Brazen Sky Limited’s RM940 million unit funds are being managed by a fund manager.
The board of directors of Brazen Sky have reported that there is no change in status in the value of investment, the ministry said in a written reply to Pua.
He had questioned the value of the investment and whether there were any new banks acting as “custodian” of the RM940 million units owned by Brazen Sky Limited.