Lawmaker Sulu Sou is appealing to the Legislative Assembly (AL) Executive Board regarding a March 19 decision made by the president, Ho Iat Seng, rejecting Sou’s complaint against what the democrat lawmaker called the “secret meetings” of the Committee on House Rules.
The protest was in relation to a committee meeting that was held without notice given to the lawmakers – except those who were part of the Committee itself – and addressed topics regarding the AL plenary session in which the amendments to the “Rights of Assembly and Demonstration Law” were voted upon.
At the time, Sou proposed that instead of transferring the prior warning and definition of times, spaces and routes of demonstrations from the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (now the Municipal Affairs Bureau) to the Public Security Police Force, they should be transferred directly to the Chief Executive.
On this occasion, Ho said that since the lawmaker’s request had not been submitted at least five days prior to the session, it could not be addressed by the plenary, further noting that they could therefore only vote on whether the proposal ought to be returned to the First Standing Committee for detailed scrutiny.
Ho thus questioned the legality of Sou’s written appeal and forwarded it to the committee for further analysis. When not all members of the Legislative Assembly were informed of the committee’s first meeting, Sou decried that the legislature was holding “secret meetings.”
In response the committee chairperson argued that all meetings of the Committee on House Rules are by default “preparatory for the opinion the committee must issue.”
The chairperson said that all the procedures held so far have been perfectly legal.
In a letter addressed to the Executive Board to which the Times had access, Sou argues that there is no such thing as a “preparatory meeting.”
A statement issued earlier by Sou reaffirms the need to have a “procedural battle” to protect the interests of all lawmakers and to ensure similar decisions do not happen again at future plenary sessions. He also wants to ensure that a fair and effective legal system is installed to protect the interests of both lawmakers and citizens.