Parliament has final say on Tian Chua, says deputy speaker

By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar maintained today that the House has final say over PKR’s Chua Tian Chang’s status as the Batu MP.
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Wan Junaidi said, however, that the decision can only be made after the House receives the official sealed judgment from the High Court.
Additionally, he pointed out that Chua still has a 14-day window period to appeal his case, which means that the House cannot make a decision until the period expires.
“We need to take into account several things — including what the judge had in mind when he meted out the decision.
“Once we receive the judgment, a proper study will be done on the documents, perhaps we will speak with some lawyers and even the Attorney-General himself,” he told reporters in Parliament today.
He added that following that, a decision would be made on whether the matter should be brought before the House to be decided on.
“The decision that I am speaking of here is not on whether Chua is disqualified but on whether the judgment should be brought to Parliament; whether Parliament has to be informed that someone has been constitutionally disqualified and if Parliament wants to debate on it, they can go ahead,” he said.
Wan Junaidi declared that the Speaker does not have the jurisdiction to summarily declare a seat vacant without first bringing the matter up to the House to decide.
“Even in cases when the representative does not attend Parliament for six months… the Speaker has no authority to give a disqualification. It has to be brought to the House and the MPs will decide,” he said.
Wan Junaidi, however , said that all angles would first be considered in Chua’s case before the decision on whether the issue should be brought before the House is decided on.
“Do not forget that prior to the RM2,000 fine, Chua was initially fined RM3,000. That decision was reviewed.
“So we need to look at the previous judgment and the appeal judgment before we decide,” he said.
He admitted that the situation was a tricky one due to the dispute on whether the RM2,000 fine was enough to disqualify Chua from his Batu seat.
“We are not talking about RM1,999 or RM2,001 here. This is RM2,000.. . it is just there, not above or below.
“However, I suspect that the judge who decided to review the original fine did so with the excuse that he wanted to avoid a by-election,” he said.
Chua’s MP status was hotly-debated last week following the ruling after several allies from his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) bloc noted that Chua was automatically disqualified from being a federal lawmaker by virtue of the RM2,000 fine.
DAP chairman Karpal Singh, a veteran lawyer, noted Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, which states that any person sentenced to jail for not less than one year or to a fine of not less than RM2,000 and has not received a royal pardon is disqualified from being a member of Parliament.
Karpal also said his party was ready to face fresh polls in Batu. He was backed by PAS, which part of the PR alliance.
The Election Commission had initially considered calling a by-election for Batu but has since decided to wait for the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s official notice.
But Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, highlighted Article 53 of the Constitution saying the disqualification did not require an official notice from the Speaker.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said, however, that there was no need for the Parliament to decide on Chua’s status as the judge’s decision should be final.