KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun (pic) denies allegations that he rejected a motion to debate the ongoing flood situation on the last day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting on Monday (Dec 20).
Azhar explained that for urgent matters and those that needed to be discussed immediately, a motion under Standing Orders 18 (1) needed to be submitted a day in advance before the sitting takes place.
“Regarding the flood situation, MPs can send a notice to me via WhatsApp and so on before the sitting (on Dec 20). In fact, a written motion can be submitted on the morning of Dec 20. However, no one did that,” he said in a statement Wednesday (Dec 22).
He said on Monday, the tabling of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2021 was the only agenda listed.
However, the tabling could not be carried out because the engagement process between Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and the Opposition was still ongoing apart from several issues that needed to be resolved.
Azhar said motions needed to be submitted to enable him to allow debates on issues at the Dewan Rakyat so that relevant ministers can respond to the questions posed as well as to enable them to make preparations to explain matters raised during the debate.
He said motions were also required for issues to be debated in a proper and orderly manner to prevent MPs from discussing matters that were not related to the issue stated in the motion.
“I do not want to restrict the rights of MPs from debating current issues that are important and need to be expedited, but the Dewan Rakyat should not be degraded to a coffee shop by discussing just any issue without adhering to the Standing Orders of the House.
“There is no Parliament in the Commonwealth countries that debates any issue picked at will and out of thin air without following the rules and regulations of the sitting,” he said.
Azhar said he was committed to having open discussions on problems faced by the people and had even established 10 select committees and created a secretariat for the first time in the history of the Malaysian Parliament to enhance the check and balance process.
Therefore, he said the allegations against him were politically motivated and he would not get involved in politics. – Bernama