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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Will Parliament debate Hadi's motion next week?



The Dewan Rakyat will reconvene next Monday and the most anticipated item on the agenda is PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's motion to amend the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, also known as Act 355.
However, the motion was listed as the 10th item on the Order Paper, behind government matters. So the question is: Will the motion be debated this time around, or will it be postponed yet again?
Veteran Parliament researcher Ooi Heng believes that the motion should technically be at the debate stage now since it was already seconded by Kota Bahru MP Takiyuddin Hassan in November.
"Last November, Hadi was allowed to read out the motion. In April, not only was the motion read out and explained, but it was seconded.
"A seconded motion belongs to the House and whether it would be debated would be decided by the speaker," he told Malaysiakini.
Under such circumstances, the speaker, said Ooi, has the option of consulting the government on the priority of Hadi's motion.
Unprecedented scenario
Alternatively, he also has the option of relying solely on his discretion on whether to prioritise Hadi's motion ahead of government business.
This was despite Section 15 (1) of the Standing Orders stipulating that government business should take precedence over private members' business.
"Any ambiguity is decided by the speaker and not any individual member of Parliament," said Ooi, who is the executive director of Political Studies for Change (KPRU).
In a move not seen in decades, the federal government allowed Hadi to table a private motion on May 26 last year. However, Hadi requested that the tabling of his motion be postponed.
During the following Dewan Rakyat sitting in last November, Hadi again requested for a postponement.
The motion was eventually tabled on April 6. However, speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia postponed the debate and adjourned the Dewan Rakyat sine die, much to the chagrin of Pakatan Harapan MPs.
Will Hadi attend sitting?
As there has never been a case of a private member's motion being tabled yet not debated, predictions among MPs over what would happen next are mixed.
Lim Kit Siang, a veteran opposition lawmaker, said Hadi has to re-table the motion since it was not debated. However, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said that the motion had already reached the debate stage if this was allowed by the speaker.
According to Sin Chew Daily, there is a possibility that Hadi might seek leave from Parliament next week because he is still resting after a heart surgery, thus delaying the passage of the motion. Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man is currently PAS acting president.
Should the motion be debated, Hadi would have to be present during the winding-up stage of the debate, according to Ooi.

"If he cannot attend the session, then he has to seek a postponement (of the debate)," said Ooi.
According to Hadi's press secretary Abdul Malik Abdul Razak, his boss did not seek medical leave from Parliament.
On whether Hadi would attend the Dewan Rakyat sitting next week, Abdul Malik replied: "God willing."- Mkini

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