Speaker says no to haze debate

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has rejected emergency motions from two Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers to debate the haze.

He said both motions, which were rejected in chambers, could be debated by MPs during the debate on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address.

"I agree that the issue is a specific matter which needs to be moved urgently in the interest of the people. But considering the session is now debating the Royal Address, members are free to speak on the haze issue.

"As such, there is no need to put aside the existing meeting agenda," he added.

The Speaker said the Government had taken steps to address the haze and there was no need to set aside time from Parliament's order of the day for the purpose.

Pandikar Amin rejected the applications for the motion by Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) and Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Kulai).

"After considering the matter, I find that the Government is fighting the haze, including ordering schools to be closed, issuing warnings to ships and discussing the issue with other ASEAN partners," he said.

Pandikar Amin said the proposal was also rejected because it was feared that it could touch on the sensitivities of neighbouring countries.

"We have been told that the source of haze is from Indonesia. The Malay­sian Government has nothing to do with it.

"If the motion was allowed, it may touch on the affairs of neighbouring countries and this will be infringing Standing Order 23," he said.

Standing Order 23 (K) stipulates that questions cannot contain impolite mention of a foreign country that has cordial relations with Malaysia.

At the lobby, Dr Wee said a comprehensive action was needed on the local front to fight the haze.

He had earlier filed a motion under the Standing Order 18 (1) for the matter to be discussed in Parliament.

Teo, who also held a press conference, said there were good grounds for the issue to be debated in Parliament because it affected the people's lives.

She said the issue warranted an immediate response from the Government and claimed that the authorities were slow in responding to the problem.