WEDNESDAY’S meeting of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki’s has been postponed indefinitely.

The notice was sent out to the committee by Dewan Rakyat secretary Dr Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin.

“It is hereby informed that the meeting, which is scheduled for January 19, has been postponed to a later date as there are some legal issues that need to be clarified with Parliament’s legal adviser,” said Nizam.

So, what are the several legal issues?

To my mind, there is one main issue. And it is with reference to the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders (DRSO).

The PSC for Agencies Under the Prime Minister’s Department is a Parliamentary Special Select Committee by virtue of Standing Order (SO) 81(1) which states as follow:

81. Special Select Committees

(1) A Select Committee other than the Committee of Selection, the Public Accounts Committee, the Standing Orders Committee, the House Committee and the Committee of Privileges shall be known as a Special Select Committee. It shall be appointed by order of the House and, subject thereto, shall consist of such members as may be nominated by the Committee of Selection.

SO 83, on procedure in all Select Committees, is directly relevant to the postponement issue. While SO 83(2) empowers a Select Committee to send for persons, documents or papers, and to report its opinion and observations, together with the minutes of evidence taken before it to the House, SO 83(4) requires that the deliberations of a Select Committee must be confined to the matter “referred to it by the House”.

There is thus a prerequisite to a Select Committee deliberation. The matter which is the subject of the deliberation must be referred to it by the House.

As a matter of fact, the Dewan Rakyat has not referred to the PSC for Agencies Under the Prime Minister’s Department any matter for its deliberations.

Of course, the Dewan Rakyat is mandated by the Federal Constitution to regulate its own procedure – Article 62(1). Article 63(1) further protects the validity of any proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat from being questioned in any court.

SO 99A, on “Failure to comply with Standing Orders does not nullify proceedings or decision” also states that where in making any decision there has been a failure on the part of the House or any Committee thereof to comply with any provision of the Standing Order in the proceeding leading to the decision, such failure shall be treated as an irregularity and shall not nullify the proceedings or the decision resulting therefrom.

However, in the past there has been no departure from the DRSO.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of BebasNews.


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