Federal Court Orders Parliament To Pay Gobind’s Salary

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 – The Federal Court today ordered the Parliament to pay the salary and remuneration withheld from Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo during his one year suspension in 2009. The court, in upholding the decision of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, held that there was no law which allowed Parliament the power to do so.

Saying that he was pleased with the decision, Gobind added that this was the last civil case argued by his late father Karpal Singh before he died in a road accident in April. “Mr Karpal Singh said to me that if we won this case, it will be his hope that Parliament will review all other previous suspensions of elected representatives and reimbursed them accordingly,” Gobind said.

He hoped that Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia would consider the matter, adding that there were many MPs who were full-time politicians who depended wholly on their salaries to sustain themselves and provide for their families. “Any order which takes away that source of income is most draconian and oppressive,” Gobind said in a statement.

Gobind was suspended for 12 months on March 16, 2009, without pay for insulting Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee and calling Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was then deputy prime minister, a murderer. The Puchong MP filed a suit the following month – against the Dewan Rakyat Speaker; the Dewan Rakyat secretary; Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who was then minister in charge of Parliament; and the government – seeking a declaration that his suspension was null and void.

He also sought a declaration that the decision of the House which resulted in his suspension was not immune from scrutiny of the court and that the suspension was unconstitutional. In October, the High Court ruled that the federal legislature had no power to withold the payment of his salary and remuneration and ordered Parliament to pay Gobind what was owed to him.

The court had also ruled that Gobind could only be suspended from his service to the Dewan Rakyat, but that his duties as an MP remained. The respondents appealed against the decision on paying Gobind, but the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision. They then appealed to the Federal Court, which delivered a unanimous judgment today.

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