Court allows Speaker’s move to annul MP’s suit over 1MDB questions

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Surendran explains the court verdict to Hee Loy Sian (2nd from left) On the right is Tumpat MP Kamarudin Jaffar.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has allowed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia’s application to strike out a suit by Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian for rejecting questons relating to 1MDB.

Lawyer N Surendran said Justice Kamaludin Md Said did not offer any reason why the court allowed Pandikar’ application to annul the judicial review application.

“We are disappointed with the ruling as it involved an issue of public interest,” Surendran told reporters of the decision made in the judge’s chambers.

Surendran, who is also Padang Serai MP, said an appeal would be filed in the Court of Appeal.

He questioned where else could MPs ask questions and get answers if not from the legislature.

“The Speaker’s unlawful rejection of questions related to 1MDB is unconstitutional,” he added.

Hee, who took Pandikar and Dewan Rakyat secretary Roosme Hamzah to court last year, was seeking a declaration that Pandikar’s decision to reject his questions related to 1MDB dated July 21, 2017, be made null and void.

Hee had requested permission to ask the government whether it had raised any objection on the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) forfeiture suit.

He also wanted to know the whereabouts of businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) as well as the status of Low as a Malaysian citizen as he was alleged to have obtained citizenship in one or more other countries.

Pandikar then applied to strike out Hee’s suit on the grounds that the suit had encroached into parliamentary privileges.

Surendran, in his submission last month, said Pandikar breached freedom of speech in Parliament when he rejected questions related to 1MDB.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing Pandikar, argued that courts cannot question any proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat.

“Any decision made by the Speaker is an integral part of the proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat.

“Two recent Federal Court decisions had affirmed the legal principles in parliamentary privileges and non-justifiability of its’ proceedings,” Shamsul said.

Meanwhile, Kamaludin has adjourned delivering his ruling on whether to allow Pandikar’s application to strike out a lawsuit brought by former MP Tawfik Ismail who is seeking to stop the tabling of a bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 to enhance its powers.

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan said the judge needed more time to study submissions as Tawfik’s case differed from Hee’s.

The son of the late Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister from 1970 to 1973, filed his application in court in March, naming Pandikar and Roosme as defendants.

He claimed the private member’s bill proposed by Marang MP and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang did not conform with the requirements of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.

Hadi tabled a motion on April 6 last year to introduce his bill but it was not debated.

Rosli had submitted last month that Pandikar did not deny the motion was tabled without the consent of the Conference of Rulers as it touched on the religion of Islam.

In August, Pandikar and Roosme asked the court to strike out the suit as it encroached on parliamentary privileges under Articles 62 and 63 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 62 (1) states that subject to the provisions of the constitution and of federal law, each House of Parliament (Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara) shall regulate its own procedure.

Article 63 states that the validity of any proceedings in either House of Parliament, or any committee, shall not be questioned in any court.

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