(Updated)

Anwar Ibrahim’s Pandora Papers debate proposal rejected in parliament

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 6): Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's proposal to debate the Pandora Papers-related allegations involving prominent individuals' offshore wealth was rejected in parliament today as the debate on the matter need not be expedited although it is an important issue that must be investigated.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the Dewan Rakyat or the parliament's lower house meeting is led by order papers.

"I agree with Yang Berhormat (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) that it (Pandora Papers) is a specific matter of public interest and that it is an important issue that must be investigated.

"While it is a very important matter, it does not necessarily need to be expedited. This is because it is a current matter and can be raised at any time.

"Secondly, it can be raised through other procedures such as during the Ministers' Question Time," Azhar said.

Azhar also suggested that matters related to the Pandora Papers be reviewed by the parliament's Special Select Committee on Finance and Economy, which is one of the nine Special Select Committees set up to look into various issues including security and education.

"I feel it is more apt for this (Pandora Papers-related) matter to be brought to that special committee (on finance and economy) to be studied in depth with more time available.

"As such, I have to reject the motion (to debate matters related to the Pandora Papers in the Dewan Rakyat) as I am bound to the Standing Orders (of the Dewan Rakyat)," Azhar said.

On Monday (Oct 4), Anwar who is also member of parliament for Port Dickson filed the motion to debate the Pandora Papers-related matters in the Dewan Rakyat.

He argued that the debate on the matter needed to be expedited as the debate was of public interest due to allegations made against prominent Malaysians.

As such, the Pandora Papers report could paint a bad perception to the public if it was not explained thoroughly and responsibly, Anwar said.

According to news reports, a group of news organisations has released Pandora Papers-related findings after reviewing what it described as a massive leak of confidential financial records revealing assets held offshore by politicians and public officials worldwide.

"The news reports have been published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its media partners in the Pandora investigation, including The Washington Post, the BBC, The Guardian, Radio France, and the Indian Express," Reuters reported.

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