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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tian Chua stays an MP, says Speaker

High Court's decision on status of PKR veep must be respected, says Pandikar Amin.

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice-president Tian Chua Chang remains as Batu MP, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said today, thus avoiding a by-election in the Batu constituency.

Pandikar Amin upheld the High Court’s decision on Chua’s status, saying that it must be respected in order to uphold the doctrine of separation of powers.

“Therefore, this House will have to stand by the decision that has been made by the judiciar, which is the branch of government that interprets the law,” Pandikar Amin said.

“He (Chua) remains a parliamentarian,” he said to sounds of table-thumping in support of the decision.

He added that he had received and studied the grounds of judgment of the Kuala Lumpur High Court in relation to Chua’s case.

He cited several paragraphs of the ruling to the house, one of which was paragraph 42 concerning the much-debated fine of RM2,000 imposed on Chua.

“…a fine of RM2,000 does not automatically disqualify the appellent’s status (as an MP) as the amount to disqualify him is RM2,001,” Pandikar Amin said, reading the grounds of judgment.

Chua was slapped with a RM2,000 fine for biting a policeman in a scuffle that broke out during a protest here a few years ago.
High Court judge Justice Ghazali Cha had reduced his initial fine from RM3,000 to RM2,000 in a clear move to avoid a by-election.

‘I congratulate the Speaker’

Ghazali said that holding another by-election was a waste of taxpayers’ money. The judge adopted a 1993 Supreme Court decision in Public Prosecutor vs Leong Yin Ming that only a fine of RM2,001 or more would result in automatic disqualification.

Recently, Minister in the PM’s Department Nazri Aziz said Barisan Nasional MPs had initially wanted to submit a motion urging the House to decide on the matter immediately but hit the breaks at the last minute, saying the move was “ungentleman like.”

Meanwhile, Pasir Mas MP, Ibrahinm Ali, submitted a letter dated June 6, followed by a motion on June 16, demanding the Speaker take action against Chua over his conviction.

In an immediate reaction, Chua said that he approved of the Speaker’s decision.

“I congratulate the Speaker on the separation of powers where Parliament respects the decision of the court,” he told reporters.

He also expressed relief over the end of his “episode”, and promised to serve his Batu constituency until the end of his term.

Asked if Ibrahim would react negatively towards this decision, Chua said: “It’s his right if he wants to make noise, his right to speak on any issue that he likes… that’s his way of serving terms,
serving his constituency.”

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