When lawmakers are unjust

By The Malaysian Insider

You have to wonder about the sense of justice among the majority of lawmakers in the Dewan Rakyat.

You have to wonder if they have a sense of fair play especially as they represent Malaysians in the country’s top legislature. After all, they decide the laws, they pass the budget and they are supposed to question the executive on policies, programmes and plans for Malaysia.

This issue has cropped up after Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim revealed that he will not be allowed to testify over his remarks linking Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia to One Israel.

Apparently, the decision was made by the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee yesterday, said Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh, who added the powerful committee decided to rely solely on a letter from public relation consultancy APCO Worldwide and not to call other witnesses and Anwar to testify.

The decision prompted Karpal and Subang MP R. Sivarasa to leave the committee meeting.

The DAP chairman complained that APCO’s letter, which he refused to disclose, was only submitted yesterday morning to the committee is chaired by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. Karpal and Sivarasa are the only opposition MPs in the committee. The other members are Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, Muar MP Datuk Razali Ibrahim, Alor Gajah MP Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn and Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri.

Is the committee a kangaroo court then?

Can be justice be done and be seen to be done if the person or even lawmaker accused of a crime or offence is not able to defend himself or herself?

Or is the APCO letter supreme over the words of a lawmaker? Does this mean that anyone can deposit a letter with the committee and that itself an indictment of the accused?

What are the rules and regulations of this committee that can arbitrarily change its mind and decide how proceedings are conducted?

What more when most of its members are from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), which lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority in Election 2008.

If it can behave like this with just a simple majority, imagine what BN can do with a two-thirds majority in parliament?

If there is any further argument over giving BN a two-thirds majority in Parliament, nothing is better than the treatment meted out to Anwar.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak might preach a “1 Malaysia, People First. Performance Now.” mantra but his colleagues in parliament are showing an unsavoury side of a ruling government out to bully its political foes.