KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat descended into chaos today when MPs questioned the police investigation into three former Umno ministers for raising matters related to 1MDB.
The three were Muhyiddin Yassin (PPBM-Pagoh), Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) and Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (Umno-Tambun).
Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) said there is immunity for lawmakers to speak in the Dewan Rakyat.
“We have immunity when we speak, apart from matters under the Sedition Act. Other than that, the police can’t act,” Gobind said.
M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) asked Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to respect the Dewan and take statements from former ministers after the Dewan sitting ends on Nov 25.
“Why can’t the police wait until the end of the parliamentary sitting before recording (statements)? At least respect the Dewan.”
Kulasegaran said police had created the perception that it was threatening the lawmakers and was disrespecting parliamentary privileges.
Backbencher Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh (Umno-Setiu) interjected and defended the police action to take statements from the former ministers.
He cited Article 63(4) and 63 (2) of the Federal Constitution that states privileges are not absolute and lawmakers are not liable for actions or speeches that are part of parliamentary proceedings.
“It, however, doesn’t say (police) cannot record statements.”
Gobind immediately stood up and said: “The police cannot investigate something when there is no wrongdoing.”
Zahid, who is also the home minister, replied that the police statements would be taken for possible breach of the oath of secrecy.
“Anyone who has taken the oath of secrecy or has held a public office cannot raise issues under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
“Parliamentary privilege does not extend to include matters under the OSA.”
Zahid said 15 police reports were lodged on Oct 28 against Husni, Muhyiddin and Shafie. The trio had been summoned to have their statements recorded.
He further said the attorney-general would determine if there was an offence.
Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (PKR-Bukit Katil) then asked for separation of powers, to which Zahid reiterated that police were just recording statements from the MPs, adding that there was nothing wrong in taking down a statement.
“It is not assuming there is anything wrong done, neither is it an arrest. Police are just taking down statements.
“As for Husni, the police are using their discretion to postpone recording of his statement.”
Husni was summoned by police on Oct 31 but the questioning was later postponed. This is believed to be over his speech in Parliament on 1MDB.