YOURSAY | 'The speaker needs to earn the respect instead of acting like a dictator.'
Hang Babeuf: It would be helpful if, before people start swarming to the defence of speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and denouncing his critics, they would take the time to look into the history and nature of the role of speaker in parliamentary systems of government.
Where, as is usually the case, the speaker is an elected member of the House over which he/she presides, and is elected to the position by a majority of the members of that House, a measure of respect for the speaker and his/her position can be expected.
Even where, as in Australia unlike England, the speaker does not resign party membership but remains a government MP after election to that position from and by the ranks of the government majority in the House, there are limits and constraints upon the speaker's behaviour.
When a speaker becomes too partisan, abrasive and zealous in the government’s cause, their position becomes untenable. They can no longer manage the House. A recent case in point is that of speaker Bronwyn Bishop in Canberra.
If the speaker is to be respected, that speaker must be accountable in collegial parliamentary terms to all the members of the House, not just the governing majority and its directors. If this is not the case, little in the way of respect can be expected, still less demanded.
And that is Pandikar’s position and problem. This speaker of the Dewan Rakyat comes into office more like a headmaster, a district officer or a sergeant-major than as a speaker. So he has those same expectations of collegial respect.
The speaker must be obeyed. But he must earn and continually renew his right to be obeyed. But the relation of speaker to the House member is not primarily one of obedience, one defined by any notion of unconditional, obligatory obedience. It is grounded upon collegiality and consideration among parliamentary equals.
Jaycee: What kind of democracy do we have here? It is truly unbelievable how our members of the minority government are so easily insulted. What about the representatives who allegedly stole our money for personal gain?
Don't you think that is a greater insult?
Hank Marvin: Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng was just stating the facts, and that is considered as an "insult" by Umno-BN. They just can't play a fair game. They always expect a handicap.
Fairnsquare: The speaker's actions will be self-serving, to please his pride to the detriment of the rakyat's interests.
The suspension of a MP would mean depriving the rights of the rakyat in that constituency to be heard. This means punishing the rakyat.
RCZ: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said should be suspended for presenting such a motion. By the motion, it would mean democracy, debate of national issues and criticism of unfair rulings are all stifled.
Isn't this against parliamentary custom and practice? With PM Najib Razak and his band of merry men and women, Parliament has become a circus with all of them being clowns for the world to laugh at.
And the show goes on while the country rots.
P Dev Anand Pillai: This is nothing new, it is always expected of the speaker. We have never had great and able speakers like what we see in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, the model and practice of which we being a former colony follow.
A speaker's prime duty is to uphold the sovereignty of Parliament and its practices, but what we have here is a speaker who is dead set at protecting the leader of the ruling government from being questioned by other MPs.
Our speakers are appointed on a basis of favour for the years of service that they may have put into the ruling party or its coalition partners; they are not appointed based on ability.
Eagle: Thin-skinned fellows cannot be speakers or politicians. In Parliament, one must be able to take the heat. But our speaker is an ignoramus with a big ego.
He said 1MDB discussions are sub judice (to the US court case) when clearly it is not. He won't even admit it for discussion in previous parliamentary sessions.
With him around, Parliament will not be upheld with decorum but on his whims and fancies. This is the BN standard these days.
Bluemountains: How has Pandikar reformed Parliament as he claimed he wanted to do? By suspending MPs who question his impartiality and weaknesses?
This is not Parliament; this is law of the jungle.
Hearty Malaysian: The speaker needs to earn the respect of the MPs, instead of acting like a dictator to impose respect.
An elected MP has the right to remain in the Parliament to perform his or her democratic duties, including challenging ridiculous rulings dictated by the speaker.
Anonymous_1408265047: Suspended from Parliament for stating the obvious. This is a new low for what was once called a democracy.-Mkini