The first day of Parliament has shown it to be a very noisy place. It looks like we’re back to watching our MPs behave like monkeys. Shabery, let it continue! Malaysia needs to watch their elected reps in action, and I for one, consider this to be a fantastic display of manners!
Could we also have a repeat of Question Hour at the end of the day for those like me stuck in the office?
From Malaysiakini, the report that triggered my amusement.
newsflash The Dewan Rakyat today kicked off with a fiery question-and-answer session where top opposition parliamentarians were seen crossing swords with both the House speaker and Barisan Nasional backbenchers.
The temperature went up few notches during the 90-minute session after a number of controversial rulings from speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and an ‘unparliamentary remark’ from Ibrahim Ali (Independent-Pasir Mas) which drew heckles from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat MPs.
On the onset, the Q&A session was delayed by 20 minutes when Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) cited the standing orders to question certain BN leaders who failed to raise their hand during the swearing-in ceremony on Monday.
A shouting match ensued when the speaker said he had already made his decision – that all MPs were sworn in lawfully.
As first-time MP Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) jumped to the defence of father Karpal, backbenchers led by Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) booed and demanded the proceedings to proceed.
In between the shouting match, the MPs were heard calling each other names – Karpal branded Bung Moktar as “bigfoot” while the Kinabatangan MP hit back with “big monkey.”
Speaker not following precedent
At this juncture, Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) referred to the standing order and questioned why Pakatan Rakyat MPs were not given their fair share during the question hour.
He also complained that Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Puah), who has been appointed opposition leader to led Pakatan, should have been the first to pose questions in the new parliament.
But Pandikar argued that he was using his discretion as House speaker to decide on who to speak first.
At the beginning of the session this morning, the speaker had affirmed Wan Azizah as the new opposition leader after he was informed that Pakatan MPs had given her unanimous support.
As calm was restored after a 20-minute clash, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took the first question from Razali Ibrahim (BN-Muar) and answered at length on the government’s approach to improving the quality of life in Malaysia.
However, another shouting match followed when Pandikar said he would not allow any supplementary questions to be raised on grounds that the Abdullah’s answer was sufficient.
Under the standing order, up to three supplementary questions can be asked for each question.
An irked Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) protested, lamented that this was unprecedented.
Lim also said that such an action would render the premier’s presence in the House “pointless.”
As the debate between the speaker and the Pakatan MPs ensued, Abdullah interjected and appealed to the speaker to consider one or two supplementary questions.
The speaker finally relented and allowed one supplementary question which went to Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang).
Wheelchair-bound Karpal attacked
Another commotion erupted moments later, when the Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim questioned why wheelchair-bound Karpal did not ask for permission from the House to allow him to speak without having to stand up.
The remark from Ibrahim, who has contested on a PAS’ ticket during the general elections, prompted opposition MPs including Azmin and Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) to demand the sole Independent MP to retract the unparliamentary remarks.
After the noisy 90-minute session, Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said he was perturbed by the unruly performance of the parliamentarians.
The first 30 minutes of today’s Q&A session was telecast live through state-owned RTM.
“Very disappointing…” said Shabery when asked about the conduct of the session. “It (the live session) has been grossly abused by the MPs.”
Shabery added that the government would now review whether to continue the live TV telecast.