KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Opposition members of Parliament kicked up a ruckus this afternoon to protest the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s rejection of motions to debate the legal seizure of Petronas assets abroad, criticising Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun’s decision that the matter cannot be debated because it is being deliberated by the courts as flimsy.
The commotion led Azhar to leave his seat and the ejection of Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah Majili from Warisan, who was among two lawmakers who had submitted an urgent motion to force the government to explain how the seizure could have taken place. The other was Amanah's Salahuddin Ayub, MP for Simpang Jeram.
Isnaraissah’s ejection from the House, a ruling made by Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, prompted a shouting match by her Opposition colleagues who said the rejection of the motions was a dereliction of duty on the part of the Speaker.
“This is about our sovereignty. How can you not see this?” The Kota Belud MP shouted.
Isnaraissah said she had submitted the same motion three times and revealed that all had been rejected.
Authorities in Luxembourg have seized the assets of two Petronas subsidiaries on behalf of heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate seeking to enforce an arbitration ruling they previously secured against Malaysia.
According to the Financial Times, bailiffs in Luxembourg seized the holding companies and related assets that were valued at over US$2 billion (RM8.9 billion).
Lawyers acting for the heirs had applied for Luxembourg to seize the assets to enforce an arbitration ruling they secured in France, which ordered Malaysia to pay US$14.9 billion to the descendants of the Sulu sultan.
Explaining the grounds for rejecting the motions, Azhar said that he had already allowed the matter to be debated but could not recall at which Dewan Rakyat session.
“The issue was already explained by the Economic Minister,” Azhar said.
At that point Kota Belud interjected to state that the matter should still be debated given what had transpired in Luxembourg, but Azhar scoffed and told Isnaraissah to “be quiet when I talk.”
“So the minister had already explained lengthily so everyone knows what is going on with regards to the disposal of these assets. Then on the matter of it being subjudicial, the law clearly states that it is (subjudicial) because there are one or two ongoing proceedings still,” he said.
“The Standing Orders are very clear about this so I have to enforce it,” the Speaker added.
Several MPs, however, had argued earlier that the laws governing subjudice cannot be applicable.
“This is a matter that involves the court in Madrid, not here so it cannot be subjudicial,’’ said Sivarasa Rasiah, Subang PKR Member of Parliament.
Azhar ignored the arguments and instead instructed Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan to proceed with the second reading of the National Forestry (Amendment) Bill 2022.
Opposition MPs then heckled Takiyuddin and the deputy speaker in a bid to get a ruling. Mohd Rashid, pressured, responded by saying Isnaraissah could still submit an appeal but the Kota Belud MP refused.
“What guarantee do we have that you won’t reject it again? I want a ruling now. Decide a date so we can debate this,” she shouted.
The shouting continued for at least 10 minutes.