KUALA LUMPUR – Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia chose to defer the debates on the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) because he did not want “to continue listening to illogical debates”.
He pointed out that unlike Government Bills, he had the discretion whether or not to continue with debates for a Private Member’s Bill.
“So when I was given freedom on that day I wanted to end it early. I did not want to continue listening to tidak masuk akal (illogical) debates,” he said, referring to his action at about 4pm on Thursday to defer the debates on the Bill.
He also lashed out at other opposition leaders who had resorted to calling him a “bloody fool” for not allowing a full debate on the Bill.
“They have accused me of being a bloody fool but I have listened to their arguments for the last nine years and most of them are also bloody fools,” he said.
Pandikar Amin explained that the Dewan Rakyat went on for almost 20 hours on Wednesday, ending only at 5.05am on Thursday.
It set a record as the longest Parliament session. It surpassed the old time of 4.25am.
Pandikar Amin said he had chosen to exercise his right to end proceedings and denied criticisms that the sitting was halted suddenly.
He pointed out that he left Dewan Rakyat at 3am and got to bed only at 5am on Thursday and that many of his staff including the House secretary had to sleep in their office.
He added that the Government had wanted to push through its Bills under Standing Order 15 (which states that Government business shall have precedence over private member’s business).
“That was the wish of the Government because they wanted to complete all of their Bills,” he said.
Pandikar Amin accused DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang of not knowing decorum despite being a leader of a political party for so long.
The Speaker went on to dismiss a claim that Barisan Nasional had decided to allow PAS to table Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill but not allow it to be debated.
“That’s their opinion. I don’t care what they say. What matters is what I say and what I do,” he said.
He added that the claim by certain leaders from Barisan component parties were made “for their political mileage” as they wanted to win elections unlike him.
“I don’t have a political agenda,” he said, adding that his responsibility was to ensure smooth proceedings in the House.
Pandikar Amin added that it was not his duty to please everyone and pointed out that even PAS had wanted a full debate and for the issue to be put to a vote.
He added his decision on Thursday does not mean they would be denied the right to debate the Bill in the future.