|Hazlan Zakaria (MKini)
4:10PM Apr 3, 2012
Three opposition parliamentarians were ejected from the Dewan Rakyat today for refusing to obey Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, with the ensuing chaos leading to the sitting being suspended for the day.
The trio had questioned his ruling not to allow a minority reportto be appended to the report of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform.
“Under Standing Order 42, when the speaker speaks, you must shut up,” Pandikar (right) told them.
‘Under Standing Order 43, the speaker’s decisions cannot be questioned… and under Standing Order 44, I order Gombak (Azmin Ali), Subang (R Sivarasa) and Kuala Selangor (Dzulkefly Ahmad) to leave the Dewan.”
Pandikar had just taken over the chair from his deputy Ronald Kiandee, when he threw out the trio.
Sivarasa had stood up after the lunch break to ask Kiandee for guidance on the possibility that Pandikar was wrong in his ruling on the minority report.
Kiandee refused to entertain the request but, undeterred, Sivarasa – aided by interjections from Azmin and Dzulkefly – continued to argue the opposition case.
They cited precedent after precedent in which minority reports had been presented in other Commonwealth Parliaments.
Kiandee insisted that Pandikar’s ruling was also based on precedent and accepted practice in the New Zealand Parliament and other Commonwealth legislative assemblies.
There was chaos as the opposition MPs pressed the matter even though the speaker told them there was nothing else to say, and Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) was preparing to take his turn at debating the PSC report.
Azmin then made an oblique reference to “speaker kampung”, adding that the precedents that the opposition cited were by established speakers and not one from a village.
Pandikar had earlier sarcastically remarked that he is only a“speaker kampung'”when informing them of the precedents he had researched to back his ruling.
‘Tool of Umno’ jibe
Azmin, Sivarasa and Dzulkefly did not leave the House but stood around, joined by other opposition MPs.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Permatang Pauh) then stood up directly addressing Pandikar to accuse him of being a “tool of Umno”.
Anwar also said Pandikar should apologise if he had made a mistake in his ruling.
This goaded BN parliamentarians into standing up and chanting “Keluar! Keluar!” (Get out! Get out!) referring to the ejected MPs and“Liwat! Liwat”(Sodomy! Sodomy!) to Anwar, who had recently been acquitted of a sodomy charge.
Opposition parliamentarians countered the shouts with chants of “Leave the chair! Leave the chair!” to the speaker, telling him to step down.
When his repeated appeals for the MPs to return to the debate were ignored, Pandikar decided that the PSC report did not need to be debated, as it appeared that “the opposition is uninterested” in doing so.
Raising his voice above the din from both sides of the House, he ordered a vote to be conducted. The report was passed by a majority vote and the sitting was suspended up to tomorrow.
The five recommendations in the minority report are for the EC to:
- Admit that it is illegal to change voters’ constituencies, and return the 31,294 affected voters to their constituencies as of the last general election within 30 days of the PSC report being tabled in Parliament;
- Remove 42,000 voters from the electoral roll whose citizenship cannot be confirmed by the National Registration Department (NRD) within 15 days of the report being tabled;
- Investigate the more than 1,000 voters older than 100 years (including one who is allegedly 159 years old) and clean the electoral roll of this within 30 days of the report being tabled;
- Work the NRD to check on more than 15,000 instances where the gender opf the voters conflicts with their MyKad numbers, where numbers ending with an even number is supposed to be for females, and odd numbers for males, and clean the electoral roll within 30 days of the report being tabled; and
- Change the status of some 45,000 spouses of police officers from postal voters to normal voters because they are not eligible to be postal voters, within 15 days of the report being tabled.