MPs cannot quote unsubstantiated media reports or social media posts, Speaker rules

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat Speaker has ruled that lawmakers should refrain from quoting any media reports or social media posts unless they have solid evidence to back it up.

Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof made the ruling after a shouting match ensued as opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was debating the motion of thanks on the Royal Address.

Ismail Sabri had brought up allegations by political blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, who claimed that several DAP leaders had received kickbacks over the Penang undersea tunnel project.

"I would like to draw attention to this, that Raja Petra wrote that YB Bagan (Lim Guan Eng) is connected to the undersea tunnel project in Penang," said Ismail Sabri.

He was interrupted by RSN Rayer (PH-Bukit Jelutong) who demanded that Ismail Sabri retract his statement and challenged him to repeat his allegations outside the Dewan Rakyat.

The opposition leader, however, maintained his stand and said he was merely quoting the article from Raja Petra.

Ismail Sabri added that if the allegations by Raja Petra were untrue, Lim should provide an explanation in the Dewan Rakyat to clear the air.
Mohamad Ariff then stepped in and made a ruling.

"I have made my ruling. Anything that is based on a media report or social media posting without being backed by solid facts shall not be raised in this House.

"This ruling must be adhered to. Issues like this must not be raised unless there is solid evidence," he ruled, before asking Ismail Sabri to move on to a different topic.

Rayer, however, insisted that Ismail Sabri should retract his comment before carrying on.

Former deputy Parliament speaker Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) then said that Ismail Sabri was merely seeking an explanation from Lim.

Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) then referred to Standing Order 43 that the Speaker's ruling is final.

"If they are unhappy with the ruling, then they should file a motion on it," said Ramkarpal.