Speaker says he has no power to prevent 1MDB's Arul from debating with others

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat Speaker has no jurisdiction in preventing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief Arul Kanda Kandasamy from debating the issue with others.

"I have no powers to order those who are not involved in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)," said Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (pic) in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

He said this in response to Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua who sought clarification if Arul was allowed to debate with others on 1MDB or if he was refrained from doing so.

Pua also asked if he was refrained from debating in the august House or issue statements outside Parliament on 1MDB.

To this, Pandikar said he was unable to distinguish if Pua is making statements or debating based on information obtained from the PAC proceedings on 1MDB.

"It is like sugar and sweetness...how do you distinguish that? You are a PAC member.

"You are the most vocal person talking about 1MDB. It may seem like there is a personal interest in the issue," said Pandikar.

He also stressed that he stands by his ruling that the proposed debate between Pua and Arul cannot go on.

Pandikar said he has nothing against debates but questioned why it cannot be held after the probe by PAC on 1MDB is concluded.

He cited an example of what took place in the Australian Parliament where a lawmaker was not allowed to debate on an issue that was investigated by a committee as the lawmaker was also the member of it.

"The lawmaker was not allowed to take part as he is seen as having a personal interest, meaning the credibility of the committee would also be affected.

"What I don't understand is why can't the debate be postponed until the PAC report is done," said Pandikar, adding the priority is to allow PAC to probe 1MDB.

He said there could be an obstruction of justice if a witness divulged evidence publicly in an ongoing probe.

"Even if Pua does not take part in the debate, there is no problem but Arul is the star witness, that is why I did not allow it.

"I did not say no to the debate but do it after the PAC' report on 1MDB," he said.

Pandikar also stressed that should the debate go on before the report by PAC is finalised, he will step down as the Speaker as Parliament's integrity would be deemed effected.