LETTERS: I Refer to the report "Speaker may give motion of no confidence priority" in the NST of May 9, 2020 in which the report quoted me. The report has inadvertently misrepresented or misunderstood my views of the law.
I began my interview by pointing out that the Order of Business is listed in Standing Order 14 and contains 17 items, some of which I spelled out. I also emphasised that under S.O.15(1) government business has priority.
Thus, oath-taking, messages from His Majesty, announcements by the Speaker, Questions to Ministers, Statement by Ministers and the First Reading of Government Bills will precede any motions from private members.
I also pointed out that the Standing Orders have no specific provision for a motion of no-confidence but that such a motion is implicit in Article 43(4) of the Federal Constitution which covers situations when the PM ceases to command the confidence of the majority of members of the House.
As to Mr Speaker's discretion, it comes on in setting the order in which each motion appears in the Order Book. Given the multiplicity of motions, the constitutional significance of a motion of no-confidence and the traditions of parliamentary democracy, I believe that Mr Speaker will give precedence to a motion of no-confidence over other private members' motions.
I never said that a motion of no-confidence will precede public business. In fact, I emphasised that given the shortage of time in the one-day session, the motion of no-confidence may not get to be debated.
The report somehow turned this around to say that because of the motion of no-confidence, Bills may not get to be debated. By the way, in the May 18 session, Bills are not being debated but only presented for their First reading.
I wish you to know, though, that I recognise that journalism is literature in a hurry and journalists work under an incredible pressure of time.
Shad Saleem Faruqi
Source: New Straits Times