DAP defends MPs over quit call to Pandikar

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says there must be freedom of speech in democracy.

GEORGE TOWN: DAP today defended three of its MPs who risk contempt of Parliament for calling on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia to resign for rejecting their questions on 1MDB, saying the trio had made the statement outside the chamber.

Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said it would have been different if the three MPs, who refused to apologise to Pandikar, had made the call in the Dewan Rakyat.

“In a democracy, there must be freedom of speech. If he does not support freedom of speech, what is the meaning of democracy and the basic rights of the people?

“DAP stands by the decision of the three MPs and agrees that they should seek an explanation from the speaker,” he said at a press conference today.

“I hope the speaker can reconsider. He should not place such demands on the MPs.”

Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping), V Sivakumar (DAP-Batu Gajah) and Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Beruas) released a joint statement last week urging Pandikar not to be an accomplice in covering up the 1MDB scandal.

They also called on him to step down after he rejected an emergency motion on the 1MDB-linked luxury yacht Equanimity and questions related to the troubled government investment fund.

Pandikar demanded that the three issue an open apology in the Dewan Rakyat for accusing him of collusion in covering up corruption scandals.

However, Lim said the trio now wished to use their powers to take action in the Dewan Rakyat, to file a new motion to seek a debate on the speaker’s decision to reject questions and motions on 1MDB.

The Bagan MP questioned the point of being an MP if they had no avenue in Parliament to speak up and debate on issues concerning the people.

“I hope the speaker does not cut off the freedom to speak, as these MPs were democratically elected by the people,” he added.

Pandikar reportedly said the MPs’ statement had insulted him and tarnished the good name of the Dewan Rakyat.

He also said failure to apologise would result in action against them.

Pandikar had also turned down an emergency motion by Gooi Hsiao Leung (PKR-Alor Setar), which urged Prime Minister Najib Razak to explain why the government did not intend to claim the Equanimity.

He also rejected two 1MDB-related questions from Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Gelang Patah) and another four questions by Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara).

In July last year, Pandikar said a total of 19 questions relating to 1MDB had been allowed to be raised in the Dewan Rakyat session.

The RM1 billion Equanimity, allegedly owned by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, was recently seized by Indonesian authorities in Bali in a joint effort with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

US authorities led by the Department of Justice are investigating assets believed to have been bought with money siphoned from 1MDB.

Told to apologise, DAP trio to file new motion on 1MDB instead