KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16, 2015:

Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang has said no meeting or briefing could be held in Parliament premises while it was in session without his approval.

This standing instruction, he said, was applicable to any party, including Barisan Nasional (BN).

“This group did ask to meet with me. But as all know, the Dewan Negara is ongoing and I am chairing it. During proceedings, I don’t allow disruptions.

“So when I got the letter from them and I was chairing the Dewan, I ordered my officers to apologise (for me) for not attending. Also if there was any memorandum, they should give it to my officers who will send it to me,” he told reporters at a Press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

Unfortunately, he added, the briefing was still held yesterday perhaps due to “miscommunication”, expressing regret that it led to remarks that there was a no-show of BN senators.

The briefing he was referring to had involved senators from Opposition parties and a coalition of non-governmental organisations held at the temporary building in Parliament over the NSC Bill.

On this matter, he said, he gave no approvals and those who were present at the briefing should not have been there.

“Their presence was not known to me and in this matter, I feel I am not allowing any more meetings in the Parliament. If they want to use any of the premises here, they have to seek my permission first.

“You can write emails, no problem, we can listen. Don’t go to the extent as if we have to agree to it,” he added.

The upset Dewan Negara speaker will also seek an explanation from Parliament officers for letting the group use the premises yesterday, saying they will be given a show-cause letter.

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