Friday, April 11, 2008


Pandikar Amin vows to be fair to all as Speaker


Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, has pledged to be fair to all in discharging his duties if he is chosen as the new Dewan Rakyat Speaker. Pandikar Amin, who was informed by Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman Datuk Seri Musa Aman on Tuesday that he would be nominated for the post, said there was no denying that the sitting for 12th parliamentary term would be more challenging than previously as the number of opposition members had increased to 82 as against BN’s 140, with many new faces among them. “First and foremost, it’s necessary to be fair to both sides, meaning we should listen, and listen well, to the voice of both sides,” he told Bernama here yesterday. Pandikar Amin, who obtained his law degree from Lincoln’s Inn, London, was the Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker for nearly two years between 1986 and 1987. His experience in Parliament was as a Senator in 1988, and again between 1999 and 2002 when he was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. “To me, it will be a challenging task but it should not be a problem,” said Pandikar Amin who is from Kota Belud, the Bajau heartland of Sabah. Pandikar Amin, 52, admitted that the parliamentary sessions this time around would be more lively. “We can’t avoid heated discussions in parliamentary sittings but this doesn’t mean that members of the House would all be quarreling,” said Pandikar Amin who is former state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister. The Parliament sitting this time around would also be aired live over RTM for 30 minutes from l0 am, covering the question-and-answer session. Pandikar Amin was confident that the Dewan Rakyat proceedings would go on as normal even with the live telecast because similar telecast was also being practised in other countries like India, England and Australia. “If there are members of the house who go overboard, it’s the duty of the speaker to tell the members to behave,” he said. The nomination for the Speaker’s post should be forwarded 14 days prior to the swearing-in of Members of Parliament, scheduled for April 28. Meanwhile, former Secretary to the Parliament Datuk Abdullah Abdul Wahab said apart from the criteria stipulated under the Standing Order, a Dewan Rakyat speaker must also be a respected person and accepted by both the Government and the opposition. He told Bernama that this would enable a speaker to discharge his duties effectively and ensure the smooth-running of the proceedings. “He must be respected by both sides as he will be the one who decides, in which the house must agree upon. “When a Speaker is respected by members of the House, his decision will also be respected,” said Abdullah, who held various posts in the more than two decades of service in parliament before retiring in May 2006. Abdullah said a Dewan Rakyat Speaker would also be representing the country in international fora, thus it was important for a speaker to be someone who is respected internationally, he said. “The candidate for the post should be a person of high integrity, fair and able to interpret the law,” he said. Apart from Pandikar Amin, five-term MP Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Santubong, Sarawak) and three-term MP Datuk Ronald Kiandee (Beluran, Sabah) were also said to be among those being considered for the two Deputy Speaker’s post. Wan Junaidi and Ronald had confirmed that they were told about it unofficially and expressed their willingness to fill the post.