PETALING JAYA: Lawyer N Surendran has taken Azalina Othman Said to task for criticising a PKR MP who filed a suit against the Dewan Rakyat speaker over the rejection of questions related to 1MDB.
Surendran said it was “shocking and without precedent” for the minister to have lashed out at Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian, as the right of access to courts and justice is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.
“Far from undermining Parliament as alleged by Azalina, Hee’s legal action is intended to uphold the dignity and role of Parliament, which is to scrutinise the actions of the executive.
“The rejection of the 1MDB questions was unconstitutional and undermined the proper functioning of Parliament,” he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, Azalina who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said Hee’s action had tarnished the good name of the Dewan Rakyat.
She claimed Hee had shown a complete disregard for parliamentary freedom when he filed the suit against Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Azalina added that there were other ways to raise the issue, including by submitting a proposal to the speaker.
However, Surendran said the suggestion was “laughable” as Azalina knew “very well” that such motions are not allowed to be debated on the grounds that government business takes precedence.
The Padang Serai MP, who is also Hee’s lawyer, said Azalina had no business putting such pressure upon a litigant before the court.
He added that it was highly improper for Azalina, being a minister, to make comments about the merits or otherwise of a matter which is pending before the court.
“This is a fundamental principle surprisingly breached by Azalina in this case,” he said.
Stressing that the Federal Constitution is supreme in Malaysia, he said any action by the Dewan Rakyat speaker which is inconsistent with the constitution could be challenged in court.
“Under our constitution, no public institution or individual is free from judicial scrutiny, whether it is the Dewan Rakyat or the speaker or prime minister or any ordinary citizen.
“All are equal in the eyes of the law,” Surendran said.
He also called for Azalina to withdraw her remarks immediately and allow the legal process to take its due course.