Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun has apologised for not taking into consideration the consequences of allowing Datuk Seri Najib Razak (BN – Pekan) more time to explain allegations that the latter had misled the house on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) debt.
It was reported yesterday that Azhar had said he had written to Najib and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz for an explanation.
Azhar was quoted as saying that he had asked Najib to give an explanation on Wednesday.
However, Azhar told the House today that he had given Najib until next Tuesday to give an explanation that the latter had misled the house, following his claims that not a single sen of public funds were used to repay the 1MDB principal debt.
“After presiding the sitting yesterday, I had received a letter from Yang Berhormat Pekan asking for extension of time until Wednesday to give his explanation.
“I allowed his request and gave him until next Tuesday (to give explanation over the allegation).
Therefore, the question that the Pekan member of Parliament went against my instruction does not arise since I was the one who gave him more time until next Tuesday,” said Azhar.
The explanation by Azhar did not go down well among opposition MPs who felt that it was unreasonable to give Najib more time to explain himself over the matter since the Pekan MP was in Johor helping the Barisan Nasional (BN) election machinery during the on-going Johor state election.
Among those who were unhappy with Azhar’s decision was Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH – Port Dickson), who said political activities should not be used as an excuse that could supercede parliamentary proceedings.
“Although the Speaker felt this can be described as a precedent, I want to give my opinion that the explanation given by the Speaker is not in line with the position of the Parliament.
“What if after this I have to attend a PKR branch meeting in Port Dickson (as an excuse of not attending or giving explanation in Parliament), will you accept MY explanation?
“How come petty (remeh) political excuses are more important than the decision made by the Parliament that was made by the Speaker?” asked Anwar.
Azhar later apologised when he responded to the matter raised by Anwar.
“Thank you for the reminder. With the benefit of hindsight, I did not take that into consideration before coming to such a decision. I will take this into consideration moving forward,” he said. – NST ONLINE