Malaysia

Pandikar says does not want to look ‘stupid’ by allowing pay-cut motions

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today upheld his decision to reject pay-cut motions during debates on the budget, telling opposition MPs that he did not want to be seen as “stupid” by allowing it.

He insisted that such motions should not be permitted in the budget process, pointing out that it was merely meant as a “token cut” to a minister’s salary and this was not a substantial enough reason.

“My issue is that — is this an action by leaders in my country that I should abet? I had to make a stand,” Pandikar (picture) said.

“And this motion is not substantial... I do not want to be seen as though I am stupid or I am not a good person.”

He said he does not want other parliaments in the world to observe Malaysia’s Lower House and find that “we do not know what we are doing”.

He said he agreed with Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) that there were many provisions in the Standing Orders that needed to be explained further to MPs to prevent future disagreements on which motions should be allowed.

“This is what I am doing here. So you can still send me a notice on Standing Order 66(9) but do not use it to cut a minister’s salary,” he told the Lower House today.

Pandikar was responding after Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) stood to protest yesterday’s ban on pay-cut motions, claiming the Speaker had been wrong when he said that that no other parliamentary democracies in the world allow such motions.

Pua told the House that the British Parliament had just last week debated a pay-cut motion against Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, requesting to slash the minister’s pay by £1,000 (RM5,000).

According to media reports, Mitchell was facing censure for allegedly losing his temper and using the derogatory word “plebs” on two police officers who refused to allow him to cycle through the main gates at Downing Street.

The term “pleb” is used by upper-class English to describe those below them in the social pecking order.

“Not only was this motion approved by the UK Parliament for debates, but this caused the Chief Whip to resign... and this only involved a case of him speaking roughly to the police,” Pua said.

He added that this was not the first pay-cut motion to be debated in parliaments outside Malaysia.

“There was another case in 1976 where the opposition even won the vote count.

“So I would like to put on record that this is not something that is unique to Malaysia, or something that is not practised by other countries,” he said.

But Pandikar insisted that the example given by Pua on Mitchell was inappropriate as it involved a criminal matter, which he said that Parliament has the power to punish the MP.

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