Furore over blame on PKR

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 20 Aug 2008

THE Dewan Rakyat question-and-answer session came to a standstill for 15 minutes when PKR MPs went up in arms against the reply given by a deputy minister on the recent assault on journalists in the Permatang Pauh by-election.

In his answer to Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (BN - Bintulu), Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said the police had received reports of violence against two photographers and Barisan supporters by a mob wearing PKR shirts on nomination day on Saturday.

“The police are investigating the complaints but it would seem that the claim (that they are PKR members) is correct,” he said, prompting Azmin Ali (PKR - Gombak) to stand up instantly to protest.

“The deputy minister shouldn’t make wild accusations. I ask that he retract his statement. Police investigations cannot be biased,” he complained to Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee as other PKR members including Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR - Ampang) joined in the chorus.

Chor then stood up and asked Ronald if he should further explain himself, to which the latter replied by turning to Azmin and said: “That is the deputy minister’s reply. You cannot debate it.”

However, this did not stop Azmin from shouting at Chor to “retract the allegations” while R. Sivarasa (PKR - Subang) and others tried to intervene.

At one point, Sivarasa invoked Standing Order 36(12) against Chor for “misleading the House.”

“You don’t have to respect the reply but police are under his ministry,” he said as Tiong remarked that PKR had nothing to fear if their supporters were not “guilty of the act.”

Azmin continued with his posturing despite repeated reminders from Ronald to sit down and having his microphone switched off.

Matters only calmed down after Zuraida stood up to field the next question.

On whether the winner of the Permatang Pauh by-election could be sworn in before Budget Day, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said he would decide on the date according to his convenience.

He said he would have the final say on when the new MP would be sworn in regardless of who wins the poll.

It was speculated that if PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was to become the new MP, his first appearance in the Dewan would be on Budget Day.

Pandikar Amin said the swearing-in ceremony could be conducted anytime and not necessarily only when the Dewan is in session.

He said that the Election Commission would have to inform him of the winner after the official result.

He, however, said if Anwar was the winner and he was selected as the Opposition Leader, PKR would have to write to him to inform him as part of the procedure.

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