Thursday, December 16, 2010

The morning that was in Parliament - December 16 2010

Pandemonium erupted in Parliament this morning ahead of the motion to suspend four opposition MPs, including Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar and House speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia got into an argument with the opposition leader demanding the right to respond to charges that he had misled Parliament on the issue of Apco, a Washington-based public relations agency hired by the government.

Pandikar said that Anwar was given a week to respond to the charges, sparking heated protests from the opposition bench.

Gombak MP Azmin Ali was seen wagging his finger at Pandikar as his colleagues denied that Anwar was given the opportunity to defend himself.

Today is the final day of the current session of the Parliament and 11 bills to be debated have been postponed to the next sitting, expected to be in March.

An unusual number of police are guarding Parliament's gates where at least five patrol cars and more than a dozen officers were seen.


NONE10.25am: Opposition MPs start chanting "Apco" as they thump the tables in protest. Pandikar has effectively lost control of the House as MPs shout at one another.

N Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) and Abdullah Sani (PKR-Kuala Langat) get into a shouting match against P Kamalanathan (BN-Hulu Selangor).

Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will table a Co-operative College (Incorporation) Amendment Bill 2010 before Minister in Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz tables the double motions to censure Anwar (PKR-Permatang Pauh), Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) and Sivarasa Rasiah (PKR-Subang).

However, the oppositon sparks off an argument when it raised the House's standing order issue.

10.40am: Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) brings up the issue of the pay-cut motion with Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor that had been rejected earlier.

Khalid refers to a letter from the minister regarding the troubled Shah Alam Hospital issue, that shows that the minister has misled the House but the speaker stops him from continuing.

10.49am: Anwar refers to Hansard records quoting the speaker as saying that he would be given the opportunity to defend himself at the rights and privileges committee meeting.

"When I attended the (committee) meeting it was only to decide whether I was allowed a counsel... After that, I was never called. please explain"

parliament pandikar amin anwar ibrahim lim kit siang dap pkr pc 121108 07Speaker Pandikar (left) wants to respond but Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) interrupts. On a point order, he argues that he wants to say something relating to Anwar's speech.

Referring to 7(1) of the standing orders, he says "the speaker has a conflict of interest and it is best you withdraw yourself”.

Karpal argues that Pandikar was the chairperson of the committee which recommended Anwar's suspension to the House and now chairs` the House session.

“You have lost your moral authority to sit in the chair," said Karpal.

Pandikar defends himself, saying:

"I was just a chair of the rights and privileges committee... I didn't vote. The motion was brought to the committee to vote on the letter (from Apco). There was a motion from the committee member, saying that there was no need to listen to the defence. The letter was good enough. And then, I put it to vote. That was all. I didn't vote in the committee."

10.55am: Protests from the opposition continue, prompting Pandikar to tell them to file a motion if they are dissatisfied with his decisions and interpretation of the standing orders.

To this, Azmin stands up and says:"But you will not accept our motions."

Opposition MPs shout “Apco-Umno” repeatedly, flashing make-shift placards to display their displeasure.

11am: BN parliamentary leader Mohd Nazri tables the motion to suspend Anwar amidst strident protests from opposition MPs, who repeatedly chant "Apco, Apco". This forces Nazri to lean closer to the mic to be heard over the din, in response opposition MPs shout even louder.

NONE11.04am: Nazri moves that Anwar be suspended. But he is inaudible as the shouts of “Apco-Umno” continue. He says that Anwar has misled the House on the Apco matter.

House speaker Pandikar calls on Khairy Jamaluddin (Umno-Rembau) to kick off the debate. But he is inaudible. All the opposition MPs hoist their placards - with words like "kangaroo", "BN Sokong Apco", "Apco", "Selamatkan Dewan, Hidup Ketua Pembangkang."

11.17am: Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) urges speaker Pandikar to “undur diri” (step down) due to obvious conflict of interest.

M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) supports Sivarasa, saying that Pandikar has the option to “undur diri”, but asked whether he is staying on because of "other interests".

11.20am: Pandikar urges Khairy to start off the debate on the Apco motion, but the "Apco-Umno" chant continues.

The placards are whipped out again, with some MPs shouting "mentaliti buruk" (rotten mentality).

11.25am: Pandikar instructs the Dewan Rakyat secretary to list down all MPs disobeying his orders to bar them from debating the motion.

NONE11.28am: Pandikar threatens to call for a vote without debate. Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) demands to know under which point of order that the speaker is calling for a vote without debate.

Speaker proceeds to call for a vote without debate. The motion to suspend Anwar is adopted through voice majority.

11.29am: Opposition MPs chant "Bohong, Bohong!" Anwar walks out from the Dewan followed all opposition MPs.

11.30am: Nazri moves second motion to suspend three other MPs - R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang), Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) and Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) - to an empty opposition bench.

11.32am: Debate starts on second motion with Abdul Rahman Dahlan (Umno-Kota Belud).

He accused the three MPs of interpreting the House's standing orders to suit their political agendas.

11.33am: Rain begins to fall outside Parliament House.

11.43am: PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar says there will be a march from Parliament to Suhakam, about 2km away in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

NONEHowever, about 40 police officers are already stationed outside the Parliament complex.

12.11pm: Ibrahim Ali (IND-Pasir Mas) debates motion to suspend Azmin, Sivarasa and Karpal.

He claims that the political upheaval in Malaysia is the result of Anwar's unrelenting ambition to become prime minister.

The nation will never be peaceful until he becomes prime minister," he said, adding that Pakatan Rakyat will achieve its goals either through "the front or back".

Responding to an interjection by Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud), Ibrahim said if Anwar was truly a "gift from Allah", he would not end up in this kind of situation.

Wee Choo Keong (IND-Wangsa Maju) said that the opposition coalition does not practice what they preach.

"That is why I could not stand it and resigned (from PKR)," he said when debating the suspension motion to thumps from backbenchers.

NONE12.30pm: Ten PKR Youth members led by the movement's deputy chief Khairul Anuar have gathered outside the gates of Parliament and have been refused entry by the sentries.

Suspended opposition leader Anwar joins them.

12.41pm: The motion to suspend Azmin, Karpal and Sivarasa for six months has been passed through a voice vote. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz, who tabled the motion yesterday, said it was not necessary for him to deliver a winding up speech as the opposition bench was empty.

NONE12.45pm: At press conference held later, Karpal said that he will look into legal remedies for Anwar.

"We will see how we can take this matter to court. Gobind Singh Deo's (suspension) had set a precedence.

"We may take him (Pandikar) to court... the rules of natural justice was not upheld... we will take this to court.

"We don't want this incident to be turned into a precedence," said Karpal.

12.55pm: Speaking to reporters later, Khairy denies allegations that the government had no intentions of debating the motions.

NONE"We are worried that some news report will claim that we just want to suspend them without any debate.

"This is not true. We were prepared to debate the two motions but its the opposition who are causing the disruptions and are refusing to debate," he says.

Khairy adds that he was the first MP to debate the first motion but was unable to continue due to the disruptions.

He also chides the opposition for bringing placards into the Dewan Rakyat and for shouting non-stop. He said that they were mocking the August House.

NONE1.27pm: Around 20 Pakatan supporters march away from Parliament towards the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) headquarters which is about 2km away.

1.32pm: The police tries to prevent the supporters from marching, resulting in the arrest of PKR Youth exco member Lee Khai Loon and Padang Serai PKR division secretary G Pravin.

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