KUALA LUMPUR: A minister was left bemused when the Deputy Speaker told him that he had run out of time to reply to a question.
The incident happened when Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi was told by Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon that he had run out of time to answer an original question raised by June Leow Hsaid Hui (PH-Ulu Selangor).
"The time to answer the question has ended and you may take a supplementary question now," Mohd Hasnon said.
A bemused Mohammadin said he still had some way to go in answering Leow's question but will wait for her to ask her supplementary question instead.
However, Leow interjected telling Mohd Rashid that she wanted Mohammadin to finish his reply as his answer was incomplete.
"I can accept this but if I continue with this (answer to Leow's original question), there will be no supplementary question as it will take time," Mohammadin said in response to chuckles from the floor.
A stunned Leow said she would rather ask her supplementary question and accept a written reply from Mohamaddin to her original question.
Leow asked what efforts were being done to preserve the nation's heritage and promote Unesco world heritage sites here as tourist attractions.
To this, Mohammadin said that a total of 302 sites and monuments were gazetted under the National Heritage Act 2005.
Of this, he said that 200 had undergone restoration and conservation work since 2006.
He told lawmakers that there were only four sites recognised as Unesco world heritage sites.
The sites, he said, were Taman Negara, Gunung Mulu National Park, Kinabalu Park, Melaka-George Town and Lenggong Valley archaeological site.
On Leow's supplementary question, Mohammadin said that plans are underway to gazette Kuala Kubu Baru town as a national heritage site.
He noted that this must be done first before the town could be considered for recognition as a Unesco world heritage site.
Parliament introduced a new format for its Question and Answer Time beginning March 11.
Under the new format, ministers, or their deputies, are given six minutes to answer a lawmaker's original question, including two supplementary questions.
Several lawmakers had raised their concerns that their questions would not be answered effectively owing to the six-minute cap.
Under the former format, some 10 to 15 minutes were allotted for each question.