KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional lawmakers staged a mini walkout just before lunch after Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was adamant in disallowing MIC vice president Datuk C. Sivarraajh into the House.
The mini walkout ensued after Barisan lawmakers had requested Mohamad Ariff to allow Sivarraajh in the Dewan Rakyat.
Mohamad Ariff had asked Sivarraajh to leave on Wednesday (Dec 5) pending proof that he had filed an appeal against the recent Election Court's decision to cancel his victory for the Cameron Highlands seat because he had given bribes to get votes.
30 minutes of chaos began when Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) asked Mohamad Ariff to make a ruling on the matter as soon as possible, given that the Dewan Rakyat sitting ends next Tuesday (Dec 11).
However Mohamad Ariff said he has spoken to Sivarraajh and his lawyers today (Dec 6) and was informed that an appeal will be filed by today (Dec 6).
"I will make a ruling on Monday (Dec 10) once I have studied the Court's judgement and all documents pertaining to the case," said Mohamad Ariff.
Several Barisan and PAS lawmakers stood up to remind the Speaker that his decision to declare Sivarraajh as "a stranger in the House" was against the Federal Constitution and the legal processes under the Election Offences Act 1954.
Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) said it was clear that Sivarraajh could still be present in the Dewan as the latter's disqualification only comes into force after 14 days of the ruling, providing no appeal was done.
"You must allow him in today and must apologise to Cameron Highlands (Sivarraajh).
"We are not debating his offences, we are debating the due process of stripping Cameron Highlands of his privileges," said Khairy.
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) said Mohamad Ariff had punished Sivarraajh although he had no power to do so.
"You are punishing him even though you've not made a decision. He is still an MP and he has the right to sit in the Dewan," said Ismail.
Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) cited a previous case in 2004 when there was a dispute for the Pasir Puteh seat.
"At that time, the winner was wrongly declared by the Election Commission then but the candidate Kalthom Othman was still allowed in the Dewan until all appeal processes were exhausted and the rightful candidate Che Min Che Ahmad was declared as the MP," said Dr Wee.
Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran), the former deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker cited several cases of lawmakers who were allowed in the House despite their pending appeal cases.
"Pandan, Batu, Permatang Pauh, there were cases against the (previous MPs) but they were still allowed to attend Parliament until their appeal processes were exhausted," he said.
To this, Pang Hok Liong (PH-Labis) argued that the cases mentioned by Dr Kiandee were criminal cases, unlike Sivarraajh's case, which was an election petition.
Thomas Su (PH-Kampar) interjected and citing the Standing Order that the Speaker's decision was final and those unhappy must file a motion to challenge it.
Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS-Kubang Kerian) suggested that Mohamad Ariff make a swift decision later today (Dec 6) instead of waiting till Monday.
However Mohamad Ariff insisted that he needed time to make a comprehensive decision.
"The law is not straightforward, there are many interpretations (based on the arguments put forward by lawmakers).
"I will give a comprehensive ruling on Monday," said Mohamad Ariff.
Khairy reminded Mohamad Ariff to reverse his ruling on ejecting Sivarraajh as it will leave a "black mark" in his tenure as a Speaker.
Shortly after, Barisan MPs staged a mini walkout just 10 minutes before lunch time at about 12.50pm.
Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the protest was only for this particular matter and they would be back for the afternoon parliamentary session at 2.30pm after lunch..