KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected an emergency motion to discuss child poverty by saying the issue was not of immediate public interest.
After the end of Question Time, Klang MP Charles Santiago urged Pandikar to reconsider by insisting the matter was serious and affected many at-risk children in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Putrajaya.
However, Pandikar was resolute and added that it was his prerogative to approve such motions. He also declined to further justify his decision.
“In interpreting the Standing Orders, there is no need for the Speaker to give a reason, in any Parliament that practises a system like us. Give it a read,” Pandikar retorted.
In the letter addressed to Santiago and sighted by Malay Mail, Pandikar said steps to address the issue of child poverty were already being taken by the government.
Last month, a Unicef report found higher levels of poverty and malnutrition among children living in low-cost housing in Kuala Lumpur compared to the national average.
The study said the issue was most severe in low-cost flats, where 99.7 per cent of children were at risk of malnutrition.