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Chaos in the House: Pakatan MPs face suspension, WikiLeaks motion rejected

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: The BN-led government has  proposed that three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers be suspended for six months pertaining to the Apco row.
The three - Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak), R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) and Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) - will likely face suspension for leaking details on the Rights and Privileges Committee probe on Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Yesterday the committee had tabled a motion to suspend Anwar for the same period.

Anwar was hauled up before the committee for linking Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia brainchild to the One Israel campaign.

He also accused Apco Worldwide, a public relations company hired by the Najib administration, of having links with the Zionist state.

Chaotic situation in the Dewan
The motion, moved by Minister in the PM's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, sparked a furore and triggered a chaotic verbal war between Pakatan MPs and Speaker Pandikar Mulia Amin whom they accused of despotic rule.

Pakatan lawmakers argued that under Parliamentary Standing Order 27 (3), anyone indicted must be given at least seven days notice before the motion is tabled.

However, Pandikar allowed the motion to be tabled as the same Standing Order also provided that "should the Speaker feel that the explanation given by the minister is of public interest... it is sufficient that a one day notice be issued".

It is clear from this that Putrajaya intends to flex its muscle by debating the motion to suspend all four Pakatan lawmakers in one go. The debate is due to take place tomorrow.

A suspension for the four, if passed by the House, would mean they will miss the next sitting in March and most probably in June as well.

Amid flaring temper, Pakatan lawmakers reasoned that although the Speaker has the discretion to make the ruling, it was imperative for Pandikar to base his decision on the principles of justice and fairness.

"I don't want the Speaker to be bought over by Umno," blasted Azmin at this point.

Azmin and Sivarasa were also booted out of the Dewan Rakyat at this point.

Motion on WikiLeaks rejected
The former was told to return after lunch time for questioning Pandikar's ruling to allow the tabling of the motion while the latter was suspended for a day.

Sivarasa's one day suspension was imposed after he tried to move a motion on the WikiLeaks expose but Pandikar said the information on the cables released was merely speculation and should not be debated.

This infuriated the opposition camp further and triggered more angry response led by an emotional Anwar, not known to lose his composure easily, who blasted Pandikar's ruling as unjust.

"Just because the motion was moved by a minister anything goes?!" yelled the Permatang Pauh MP.

Pandikar, apparently angered by all the accusations levelled against him, said the opposition MPs were unruly and that he has tried his best to play fair.

He also said that no matter what the arguments given by them, his decision was final and that nothing will change his mind.

Parliament yet another shameful institution
At a press conference later, Anwar claimed the melee was another clear-cut example of the "tyranny of the majority".

"If there is an accusation against anyone, he should be allowed to defend himself," he said, adding that in the case of Sivarasa, he should be given the space to defend himself if he indeed leaked information on the committee's Apco-Anwar probe.

"This is because they have the power of the majority that they can do anything they want," he said.

PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa, at the same press conference, said this episode has shamed yet another government institution and blamed it on the BN government.

While the Najib administration is bandying its reform initiatives, it has forgotten the Parliamentary system which he said was in need of thorough change.

"The Parliament has become yet another shameful institution just as many other government institutions. (Prime Minister) Najib's (Tun Razak) reform should include the Parliament," he said

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