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Friday, July 28, 2017

'Pandikar’s excuses to reject 1MDB questions doesn’t stand up to scrutiny'

MP SPEAKS | Three days after the furore of rejecting more than 30 questions in relation to 1MDB, the Parliament Speaker, Pandikar Amin finally broke his silence.
He argued that Parliament questions are “subject to rules and procedures”.
"If the questions are accusations, assumptions, offensive, or made up, of course, I will throw it out," the speaker said.
He also argued that questions in the House can't be sub judice and affect court cases, such as the civil forfeiture suits brought on by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
Unfortunately, while the reasons he gave may have sounded reasonable at the first instance, they do not stand up to any scrutiny when you conduct any objective evaluation of some of the questions posed.
I had a record 5 questions rejected – more than anyone else, and the most I’ve had rejected in any parliamentary sitting over the past eight to nine years.
None of my questions were rejected because they were “sub-judice”. I was careful to avoid my questions being canned for the above reason, invalid as it might be, when drafting my parliamentary questions.
They were all rejected because of presumably questionable assumptions (“sangkaan”) or that they were a figment of my imagination (“buah fikiran”).
In a question, I had asked what is the current value of 1MDB’s investment in “units” previously valued at US$2.3 billion and who is the current “custodian bank”.
This isn’t the first time I had asked the above question. Although the replies given by the finance minister were never satisfactory, at least the question was never rejected in the past. Why is it rejected now?
Worse, both the finance minister(s) and 1MDB had released official statements with regards to 1MDB’s investment in these “units”, which were previously held by BSI Bank as the “custodian bank”. Neither of these facts was “sangkaan” or “buah fikiran” on my part.
Therefore, the basis of rejecting the question is outrageous and an abuse of the speaker’s powers. 
In addition, my question on whether the attorney-general (AG) had investigated the claims made in the latest United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) suit to seize up to US$1.7 billion worth of laundered assets from 1MDB funds, was similarly rejected because it was deemed a “sangkaan”.
I did not ask about the contents of the suit, nor did I presume the veracity of the facts raised by the US DOJ suit.
All I had asked was whether the AG had investigated the serious allegations which had damaged the reputation and honour of Najib Abdul Razak and the Malaysian government.
After all, Apandi Ali himself has openly stated in the media that the suit filed by the US DOJ was “politically motivated”. The question I had raised merely presented the opportunity for the AG to state his case.
Why was it really rejected? 
We call upon the speaker to re-evaluate the rejection of the above and other questions presented by the Members of Parliament.

Pandikar had asked, even if it was in jest, journalists to be fair to him and to put him in a good light. I am absolutely certain that if he acts impartially, all journalists will write good things about him.
However, if he acts like he was covering up for 1MDB, the largest financial scandal which has afflicted the country, any impartial journalist would have nothing good to say about both the speaker and the Parliament.

TONY PUA is DAP national publicity secretary and Petaling Jaya Utara MP. - Mkini

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