by Giam Say Khoon
KUALA LUMPUR (April 27, 2009) : Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said today he accepts the legal action by Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who was suspended by the House for a year for insulting the Speaker and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"I accept the summon and I will answer it. Other than that, I wish not to comment on anything," he told reporters after meeting the lawmakers from Australia and Korea in his office in Parliament today.
Pandikar said everyone has the right to summon another person and that "there is no need for him to comment on the issue".
He said as Speaker, he only wants to do his job to ensure a smooth Parliament sitting.
"If such order cannot even be followed by the MPs, there is no need for the parliament to sit," he said.
"I do not wish to see the repeat of such incident when the parliament sitting resumes on June 16," he added.
Asked if he agreed with DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh who said that the Federal Court’s decision two weeks ago in the suit brought against Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar had set a precedent for Gobind's suspension to be taken up to the apex court, Pandikar said since the suit was filed last week, it is now up to the court to interpret the "precedent".
Gobind was suspended on March 16 and filed a lawsuit last Thursday to seek declaration that the suspension was null, void and of no effect.
On a memorandum submitted by Wanita MCA and other non-governmental organisations proposing to the House to punish MPs who uttered sexist remarks, Pandikar said as it was a serious proposal to amend the Standing Orders so that MPs who violated the law will receive mandatory punishment.
He said the House had set up a committee to look into the feasibility of amending the Standing Orders.
On former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's seat in the chamber as he is still the Kepala Batas MP, Pandikar said the house may arrange him to sit together with veteran MPs like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (BN-Gua Musang) and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (BN-Kuala Kangsar).
Earlier, Pandikar, who had officiated the first meeting of ASEAN inter-parliamentary assembly (Aipa) caucus, said the three-day meeting saw the participation of delegates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei and Philippines except for Thailand.
In his speech, Pandikar said the caucus will provide a platform for regular interaction amongst Aipa member countries as well as special observers and also between the Aipa and ASEAN.
He said it was also mandated to monitor the implementation of Aipa resolutions especially in ensuring that the recommendations from the resolutions on further enhancing regional cooperation are conveyed to the governments of ASEAN countries.
"On the harmonisation of laws, two laws on combating the scourge of drug menace and human trafficking have been selected as a start... Admittedly this harmonisation exercise is not a simple task and it may take several caucus meetings before the areas of the laws to be harmonised can be firmed up and be presented for the consideration of ASEAN.
"Nonetheless, I am confident that the caucus will be able to find consensus on the guidelines and be successful in identifying the areas of the two selected laws that can be harmonised to facilitate regional cooperation in their enforcement," he said.
However, Pandikar said since it was the first meeting, the focus will be on the setting up of house such as to discuss and adopt the terms of reference of the caucus and to set the guidelines on the tasks assigned to the caucus.