Too late for new no-confidence bid

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

Motion against Malaysian PM should have been filed before Parliament sitting: Speaker

KUALA LUMPUR • A new submission for a motion of no-confidence against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will not be heard at the current Parliament sitting, Parliamentary Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said yesterday.

Tan Sri Pandikar said a planned move by opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to submit the motion should be done in accordance with Standing Orders, which are required to be submitted 14 days before the start of Parliament proceedings. Dr Wan Azizah is the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) MP for Permatang Pauh.

"I want to remind Permatang Pauh (MP) if she wants to go ahead with this motion and if the motion fulfils Standing Orders 26 and 27 - even if it is accepted - will only be at the next meeting and not this meeting," The Star newspaper quoted Mr Pandikar as saying.

His remarks mean that the no-confidence vote will be possible only next year as the present meeting started on Monday and will end on Dec 3. A date for the next sitting early next year will be decided later.

Dr Wan Azizah had on Monday said she would file a notice to Parliament on the no-confidence motion against Datuk Seri Najib some time this week. The motion would replace the one already submitted by PKR lawmaker Hee Loy Sian last week and is meant to symbolically represent the entire opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact.

SET FOR ACTION

I will file the motion soonest possible...

DR WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAIL, opposition leader, on going ahead with the no-confidence bid against Mr Najib Razak

Responding to the Speaker's remarks yesterday, Dr Wan Azizah told reporters the pact would go ahead with its plans to re-submit the fresh motion. "I will file the motion soonest possible and the media will be informed (when the time comes)," she was quoted saying by The Malaysian Insider news portal.

PH, or the Alliance of Hope, brings together 73 lawmakers from PKR, the Democratic Action Party and the newly formed Parti Amanah Rakyat.

The opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which has opted not to join PH, has also agreed to support the no-confidence vote against Mr Najib, the Malay Mail Online cited PKR deputy president Azmin Ali as saying yesterday. He said the decision followed a meeting between its representatives and Dr Wan Azizah.

Mr Najib is facing mounting calls to resign over alleged financial misconduct in the troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and a controversial claim that US$700 million (S$972 million) he received in his personal bank accounts is "political funding".

Analysts say a no-confidence vote against the prime minister is not likely to succeed due to the large gap between the number of opposition and ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in the House.

BN holds a comfortable majority in Parliament with 134 MPs against 88 in the opposition benches.

Meanwhile, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Ms Azalina Othman Said, said the government will soon explain to Parliament how the US$700 million in political donation ended up in Mr Najib's personal bank account.

The minister in charge of parliamentary affairs made the statement in a written reply to queries from two opposition lawmakers on the issue, Bloomberg reported. She said the explanation would be provided during the current parliamentary meeting at a later date. She did not provide details on who would present the explanation.

The 1MDB saga has fuelled political tension and spooked foreign investors.

Mr Najib, who is also Finance Minister, is expected to present the country's 2016 Budget on Friday, with plans to help the low-income and measures to bolster an economy that is still reliant on oil revenue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Too late for new no-confidence bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe