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Friday, September 28, 2012

Why is a bankrupt MP in Parliament?

Labuan MP Yussof Mahal, a court-declared bankrupt, is still in Parliament despite a 'clear' clause in the Federal Constitution.
LABUAN: What is a court-declared bankcrupt Member of Parliament doing, speaking on improving financial integrity organised by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)?
And why hasn’t Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia taken a decision against Labuan MP Yussof Mahal who was declared a bankrupt by the Labuan High Court on Aug 7.
Posing these questions, an exasperated Labuan DAP chief Lau Seng Kiat, said Pandikar had been notified by the Insolvency Department about Yussof’s bankruptcy status but is yet to act.
Todate, all Amin had reportedly said was that he would decide whether to allow Yussof to attend the current Dewan Rakyat sitting, which began on Sept 24.
“But the budget session has already begun and Yussof is in Parliament. This is most unusual. The Speaker should not delay his decision as the matter was urgent and of public interest.
“After all it was not a difficult decision to make since the Federal Constitution is very clear on the matter,” said Lau in a statement.
Lau said under Article 48 of the Federal Constitution it is stated clearly that a person is disqualified from being a member of either houses (senate and parliament) if he is an undischarged bankrupt.
He further cited Part II Disqualifications and Disabilities of bankrupts under the Bankruptcy Act 1967.
Lau said under this law where a debtor is adjudged a bankrupt, he shall be disqualified for being nominated or elected to holding or exercising the office of councilor of a local authority.
Such disqualification shall be removed and cease if and when the adjudication of bankruptcy against him is annulled or he obtains from the court his discharge with a certificate to the effect that his bankruptcy was caused by misfortune without misconduct on his part. The court may grant or withhold such certificate as it thinks fit.
“Yussuf by his own admission has stated that he is still in the midst of resolving his bankruptcy issue.
“I hope there will be no double-standard. I’m quite sure that if the bankruptcy issue involved an opposition MP, the MP would had been expeditiously disqualified, ” he said.
He also pointed out the irony of Yussof’s continued presence as the chairman of  Labuan Corporation and the federal government’s dependence on his views of situations in Labuan.
Lau also regretted the decision of the Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing for having no initiative to decide on the post
He said the Minister erred on the matter, as Yussof’s post in LC had nothing to do with his position in parliament.
He drew Raja Nong’s attention to Labuan Corporation’s own laws on bankruptcy.
He said the Perbadanan Labuan Act 2001 Act 609 under First Schedule (Subsection 5(5)) stated that the office of a member of Perbadanan is vacated if he becomes a bankrupt.

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