Federal lawmakers may freely discuss matters related to the US Department of Justice lawsuit on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) anywhere outside Parliament, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said today.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said MPs must respect the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s decision to declare the topic off limits in the House.
“Let me tell you something about DOJ, who is going to stop them from talking about it?” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here, referring to Opposition MPs whom he panned for harping on the issue.
“Of course you can talk about it outside, go on ahead. Outside, there is no restriction to talk about DOJ. But, when you go to the Parliament, there are specific rules and regulations,” he added.
The Kota Belud MP pointed out that the Speaker had ruled that discussions on the DOJ’s contents would amount to sub judice in Parliament as the case was ongoing in the US courts.
“When Speaker said content is sub judice, we have to respect it. But that doesn’t mean cannot speak outside,” he reiterated.
Abdul Rahman who is also the Barisan Nasional strategic communications director noted that former Umno leaders who are now with the Opposition have been continuously speaking about the issue outside the Dewan Rakyat, referring to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
He also expressed sympathy for Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, whom he said had a tough job to ensure the smooth running of debates in the House, but was frequently interrupted by ungentlemanly MPs, notably from the Opposition.
“I really pity Pandikar. He is there to ensure the running of the debates happen justly. The Speaker’s duty is to make sure that debates go according to protocol.
“When you are not being a gentleman, make noise and do not follow the Standing Orders, the Speaker will deal with you, it is as simple as that,” he said.
Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Shafie held a meeting with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail other top leaders from the Pakatan Harapan pact at Parliament earlier today.
They criticised Pandikar’s management of the Dewan Rakyat and claimed the loss of parliamentary immunity after several MPs, including Muhyiddin and Shafie, are being investigated for their remarks in the House.
Abdul Rahman dismissed the meeting, adding that the inclusion of Dr Mahathir who was prime minister for 22 years would not have any effect on parliamentary proceedings.
“It is immaterial whether Tun Mahathir comes. We are already immune to his antics,” the Umno supreme council member said.
Source : KAMLES KUMAR@The Malay Mail Online