Malaysian Parliament should make amends for its failure last week  to pass a resolution to condemn Israeli aggression and send a clear message that it fully supports UN General Assembly motion on Palestine


Media statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Penang, Sunday): The Malaysian Parliament should make amends for its failure last week to pass a resolution to condemn Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and send a clear message that it fully supports the United Nations General Assembly motion on Friday condemning "acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians" when it reconvenes tomorrow.

The UN General Assembly resolution, which supported the understandings reached at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit and urged "all parties concerned to implement these understandings honestly and without delay" also demanded "the immediate cessation of violence and use of force" and the reversal of "all measures taken in this regard since Sept. 28".

The Malaysian Parliament should have adopted the motion to condemn Israeli aggression when PAS MP for Kuala Terengganu, Dr. Syed Azman Ahmad Nawawi sought the adjournment of Parliament on Wednesday - which would have been most timely, coming just on the eve of the UN General Assembly resolution, as well as before the virtual collapse of the Sharm el-Sheikh accords with at least nine Palestinians killed in violence during the passage of a 48-hour so-called "cooling-off" period on Friday.

It was reported that although  the Speaker Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail conceded the the motion met all the three criteria of being "a definite  matter of urgent public importance", he also ruled that there was no need to discuss the motion proposed by Syed Azman as the government have already made a stand on the issue and that as the motion was similar to the governmentís stand on Palestine "thereís nothing to be discussed".  This decision is a great disservice to the Malaysian Parliament in the international arena.
 
The Speaker had misconceived his functions and responsibilities in making such a ruling, as the voice of Parliament is separate and distinct from that of the government. Furthermore, Zahir had forgotten that he had presided over a parliamentary debate condemning the Serbian genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993 although the government and the opposition took an united stand.

Under the parliamentary standing orders, the Speakerís view that there is no need for  an urgent debate can be overruled, once he conceded that it meets the three criteria of being "definite, urgent, public importance", as all that is needed is for 15 MPs to stand up to support such a debate to be held - and the House would have to be adjourned for such an urgent debate to take place at the appropriate time.
 

 
(22/10/2000)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman