KUALA LUMPUR: A senior PAS lawmaker help to quell a 20 minute-long shouting match between several Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional lawmakers who were discussing allocations for religious schools (tahfiz).
The situation arose when Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) asked Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah) whether he agreed that the previous administration never provided allocation for the schools, unlike Pakatan.
Cha, who was debating Budget 2019, agreed and added that Pakatan was providing RM49mil for the schools.
His remark drew an immediate response from Tan Sri Noh Omar (BN-Tanjung Karang) who said that Cha should be cited for misleading the House.
"He (Cha) … said that no allocation was given to tahfiz schools but we did. He is lying," said Noh.
Noh was supported by Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) who called Cha "bodoh” (stupid).
A shouting match ensued with several opposition MPs calling for Cha to retract his statement.
Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof reminded lawmakers that they should attempt to settle the dispute among themselves before he made a ruling if Cha should retract his statement.
However, several former cabinet members including Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) pointed out that the previous administration had allocated RM50mil for the repair of tahfiz and another RM40mil for training purposes.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk) confirmed that RM90mil was provided as he was in charge the Cabinet committee on tahfiz.
Cha refused to retract his statement, saying that he would not be bullied because he was a first-time MP.
However, Mohamad Ariff took note of the points raised by Khairy and Dr Ahmad and asked Cha to retract his statement.
Instead of retracting his statement, Cha said he wanted to clarify his earlier statement.
This led to more shouting, prompting Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS-Kubang Kerian) to intervene.
He reminded lawmakers to set a good example as that there were school children present in Dewan’s public gallery.
He advised Cha to retract his statement and then clarify his earlier statement.
Cha finally retracted his statement after being reminded to do so in a clear manner by Mohamad Ariff.