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Unacceptable for Dewan Rakyat Speaker to request Najib’s trial to be adjourned

Media Statement by MP for Bukit Gelugor, Ramkarpal Singh on 20 July 2020.

The request by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan @ Harun for an adjournment of the trial of Pekan MP Najib Tun Razak to the trial judge to enable the latter to debate in Parliament is totally unacceptable conduct.

Azhar has defended the move by saying that he merely made a request and never instructed the trial judge to postpone Najib’s trial.

This is besides the point as the action of Azhar in writing to the High Court judge may give rise to a perception of bias on his part towards certain members of the House, which the newly minted Speaker can ill afford, particularly in light of the controversy surrounding his appointment as Speaker only last week.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Harun| Source: Malay Mail

A former lawyer, Azhar is no country bumpkin and ought to have known better.

Tanjong Malim MP Chang Lih Kang was absolutely right in asking if Azhar was setting a new precedent where anyone on trial will be able to obtain leave and attend Parliament sittings in the future. It is certainly a valid question.

Azhar may have his own justification for doing what he did but he must, at the same time, realise that he has a duty to the public in ensuring that the image of the House is jealously protected at all times.

Najib outside the coutroom in 2019 | Source: Malay Mail

The doctrine of separation of powers, which Azhar frequently refers to, means just that – a separation of the three branches of government, namely the executive, legislature and the judiciary for the purpose of ensuring their independence.

It is not for Azhar to be concerned about the attendance of Najib in Parliament if the latter is unable to attend. As Speaker of the House, Azhar should concentrate on the business of the House and nothing else.

Dated this 20th of July, 2020.

Ramkarpal Singh,
Member of Parliament for Bukit Gelugor
DAP National Legal Bureau Chairman

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