Opposition MPs tabled Bills before, academic tells Pua

By Yiswaree Palansamy
Tony Pua said his statement was correct as the Standing Orders were amended in 1978, where government Bills were given priority over Private Members Bills. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — An academic today rubbished DAP lawmaker Tony Pua’s accusation that private members Bills from Opposition MPs were never prioritised, and that three Bills had been tabled in 1977.

In his statement today, Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) Institute for Malaysian Political Analysis (MAPAN) director Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff also called Pua a “liar”, saying that Opposition members were previously allowed to table their Bills and have it debated and voted upon.

“In actual fact, based on the history of Malaysian Parliament, many motions and Private Member’s Bills by the Opposition were not only allowed to be tabled, but were also allowed to be debated and voted upon.

On Monday, October 24, 1977, three Private Member’s Bills were presented by two DAP Members of Parliament, namely Ngan Siong Hing (Kinta) and Lim Kit Siang (Kota Melaka).

Two of the Private Member’s Bills tabled by Ngan Siong Hing, which were also debated and put for voting on the same day were the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Trade Unions Ordinance 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967, and the Private Member’s Bill to enact the Workers Protection and Minimum Wage Act 1977.

The Private Member’s Bill tabled by Lim Kit Siang, which was also debated in the Parliament on October 24 was the Private Member’s Bill to amend the National Bureau of Investigations Act 1973. The debate and voting of this Private Member’s Bill continued on Monday 25th October 1977,” Kamarul said.

He was referring to Pua’s video last week, in which the DAP National Publicity Secretary criticised the Federal Government for allowing PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to table his controversial Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 2016 (RUU355) last Thursday, after bulldozing six Bills the day before, till wee hours of the morning.

Pua said that while Opposition members to have the right to table their Bills, such an event was typically unheard of in Malaysia. He also questioned as to why the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is ‘bending over backwards’ to allow Abdul Hadi’s Bill.

However, when contacted about Kamarul’s statement, Pua corrected his statement, saying he was referring to the years after 1977.

“Everything I said is correct after the Standing Orders were amended in 1978, where government Bills were given priority over Private Members Bills,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.