Wan Saiful referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee over allegedly misleading statements

KUALA LUMPUR: Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan has been referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee to determine whether his statements in February and March were misleading to the Dewan Rakyat.

The motion stated that Wan Saiful’s remarks on matters currently under court consideration “could be construed as detrimental to the interests of the parties in the case.”

The motion, agreed upon with a bloc vote, was proposed by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform), Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, and presented before the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Johari Abdul.

The session became chaotic when all opposition MPs walked out during the voice vote, which resulted in a majority agreement on the motion. The Speaker then adjourned the sitting for lunch.

The motion centres around Wan Saiful’s claims that the court charges brought against him could be dropped if he declared support for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Wan Saiful, a member of the Bersatu Supreme Council, has been charged with money laundering and corruption related to the Jana Wibawa scheme.

Before the decision was made, Johari allowed Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee (PN-Beluran) and Syahredzan Johan (PH-Bangi) to debate.

Ronald Kiandee questioned which standing order the House was referring to, suggesting that if it was Standing Order 36(12), it must meet three criteria: first, that the statement is misleading or likely to mislead; second, that it was known at the time that the statement was incorrect; and third, that there was intent to mislead.

He said that the tabled motion mentioned that MP Tasek Gelugor had discussed matters currently under the court's consideration that could be deemed prejudicial to the parties involved.

"The motion's wording is sub judice, as it refers to matters under court consideration. Why are you (the Speaker) allowing this? You are the Speaker; you must uphold the standing order. Do not insult us here."

"Our role as opposition members is to uphold the integrity of this parliamentary procedure, and the Malaysian Constitution should not be challenged," he added.

Meanwhile, Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan further explained that this motion is not intended to punish MP Tasek Gelugor but is a process to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee.

He emphasised that the committee comprises both government and opposition members of Parliament and that they are following due process. "This is the process. And we must follow due process. I believe if what Tasik Gelugor (Wan Saiful) said is true, he will have no problem defending himself," he added.

Later, during a press conference, Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin expressed their disappointment over the decision made in the House earlier.

"The Speaker should respect the explanations made by the Opposition. He even has the power to extend time or postpone the motion, but instead, he 'bulldozed' the decision."

"This is an unreasonable and illegal move," he told reporters.

Opposition whip Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan later added that the bloc will consider whether to refer the Speaker to the rights and privileges committee.

"Based on the Standing Orders, the Speaker is also a member of the House, and any member can be referred to the committee. However, remember that the Speaker is the committee's chairman," he said.

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