Pandikar: 19 questions from MPs on 1MDB allowed

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KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 19 questions relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) have been allowed to be raised in the current Dewan Rakyat session, said Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

He said the accusations by opposition MPs that he arbitrarily rejected 30 questions touching on the issue was not true and deliberately made to blacken his image.

“For this session MPs submitted about 1,000 questions and I had to sift through them to ensure they did not breach the Dewan’s standing orders.

“I have to follow standing order 23(C) because there are questions which are not true, deliberately used for a political purpose. Four questions on 1MDB were allowed last Monday,” he said at a news conference in Parliament today.

Standing Order 23(C) states that a question should not contain any argument, presumption, notion, suspicion, praise or malice, religious clauses that confuse, insinuate or hurt feelings or are superficial or relating to trivial matters.

In the past few sittings of the Dewan Rakyat, opposition MPs had condemned Pandikar for allegedly scrapping questions on 1MDB, describing his action as tarnishing the dignity of the House.

Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail urged Pandikar to review his role as he had failed to carry out his responsibility as Speaker with integrity.

Pandikar said the action of the government to classify the 1MDB investigation outcome under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) also forced him to reject discussions on the issue in the Dewan Rakyat.

“When the government declared it a secret, I have to obey.

“If I allow it to be debated, I would be breaching the standing orders,” he said.

Pandikar also said the 1MDB issue was still being investigated by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) and he feared any discussions on it might adversely affect the decision of the courts there.

“The matter is before the courts and I have to consider whether questions asked in Parliament might damage the position of the parties involved.

“If I allow (the questions), I might become the laughing stock of MPs including the opposition,” he said

Under Standing Order 36(2), no matter that is before a court may be mentioned if, in the opinion of the speaker, it will infringe the interest of the parties concerned.

Pandikar said the prohibition was not restricted to within the country.

“The world has changed. With advances in technology, my decision might disrupt the investigation and the decision of the courts in the United States,” he added.