Monday, March 2, 2009

'State assembly secretary has no power to interpret Standing Orders' - Star

March 2, 2009 By CHRISTINA KOH

IPOH: Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar insists that the state assembly secretary does not have the power to interpret the Standing Orders.

He cited Standing Order 89 which states that subject to a substantive motion moved for that purpose, the Speaker’s interpretation of the Standing Orders is final.

A fiery Sivakumar said the secretary’s duty is to follow his instructions as provided under the rules.

“Doesn’t the Speaker have the right to call for an assembly sitting? If that right is seized from the Speaker, what democracy will we inherit in the future?

“I think the whole world is going to laugh at us if anyone prevents us from holding the state assembly,” he told a press conference here last night.

On Friday, Sivakumar called for an emergency sitting of the State Assembly on March 3 by invoking Standing Orders 8 and 11 to vote on two motions.

He insisted the emergency sitting was legal and would take place tomorrow as announced.

Sivakumar said he was shocked that secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri had released a statement to say notices sent to state assemblymen of the sitting must be accompanied with the Sultan’s proclamation summoning the assembly.

He pointed out that Standing Order 8(1) clearly said that such notice could be dispensed with in times of emergency.

Sivakumar also stressed that Sultan Azlan Shah’s royal consent was needed to summon the assembly at the start of each session.

The last session in November, he noted, was only adjourned and so the assembly could continue its sitting in an emergency session.

He admitted that as far as he knew, there has never been an emergency session in Perak’s history.

However, he questioned whether certain quarters had forced Abdullah Antong to issue his statement as copies sent to most of the media were without his name or signature.

Asked about accusations by Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir that he was making up his own rules, Sivakumar said:

“He can say whatever he likes. I still have the final say and I am not simply interpreting (the rules). I am not alone, I have constitutional lawyers advising me.”

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