KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 – Parliament cannot interfere in the detention of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli as the police are empowered to do so under laws formulated by the August body. Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said the detention was under the jurisdiction of the police, in accordance with Section 18 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972.
He said this in a written notice distributed in the Dewan Rakyat here Thursday. Rafizi, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president and secretary-general, was detained at 6.20pm two days ago, after leaving the Parliament building, to facilitate investigations into the exposure of official documents and claims against the Armed Forces Fund Board.
Several opposition MPs on Wednesday questioned Rafizi’s detention which they claimed was akin to disrespect for the Parliament institution as it took place when the Dewan Rakyat was sitting, and wanted the Speaker to intervene in the detention. Pandikar Amin said it was understood that Rafizi was detained by the police when leaving Parliament’s main gate for the purpose of conducting an investigation on Rafizi to identify the parties committing an offence under the OSA.
“As you are all aware, the Speaker has exclusive power to administer the progress and management of the Dewan Rakyat. These include security of the members of parliament and those in parliament and the surrounding area, and of the proceedings of the powers and the protection granted to members of parliament and privileges under applicable laws,” he added.
Nevertheless, Pandikar Amin said information on the detention should have been duly forwarded to him as Parliament Speaker to enable him to inform the Dewan Rakyat. Furthermore, he said, the detention was made outside the Parliament compound which was clearly in close proximity to the Dewan Rakyat which was in session. He said this is in line with the responsibilities given to the police to ensure the safety and harmony of Parliament took place during the Dewan Rakyat sitting.