Lawmaker suspended over comic book controversy


KUALA LUMPUR: A debate over a controversial comic book saw an Opposition lawmaker being ejected and suspended from the Dewan Rakyat for two days.

Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim was suspended from the Dewan Rakyat till next Tuesday for ignoring the Speaker’s orders.

The chaos started when Barisan Nasional’s Padang Terap MP Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid raised a motion under Standing Order 18 (1) to debate on the Belt & Road Initiative For Win-Winism comic book.

Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Arif Md Yusof said he rejected the motion as the matter was being investigated and the Education Ministry had not given approval for the book to be distributed in schools.

“Did you receive my letter? I have mentioned that this does not need to be debated as actions are being taken,” said Mohamad Arif.

Mahdzir replied that he had just read the letter but insisted that the book must be banned as it was still in public circulation.

DAP’s Jelutong MP RSN Rayer then told Mahdzir to abide by the Speaker’s decision.

Abdul Azeez then interjected and told Rayer: “Don’t do the Speaker’s work. Let the Speaker do it. Shut up and sit down.”

To this, Mohamad Arif then asked Abdul Azeez to retract the “shut up” comment as it was unparliamentarian behaviour.

“I will not accept words like shut up. Retract your words,” he said.

Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) then stood up and said the book should be banned.

Mohamad Arif said the decision on the matter had been made and the issue did not need to be debated further.

Mahdzir stood up again and hoped that the Home Ministry would take action on the matter.

Mohamad Arif said the decision was final and asked to continue with the proceedings.

To this, Abdul Azeez was heard saying the decision was unfair.

As the proceedings were about to go on, another shouting match ensued when Shahidan accused Rayer of calling him stupid during debates on Tuesday.

Shahidan said the Speaker had not asked Rayer to retract the word “stupid”, but Rayer did retract it immediately.

However, there were still several Opposition MPs who continued to jeer, including Abdul Azeez.

An irate Mohamad Arif then turned to Abdul Azeez and asked the latter to retract the words “berat sebelah” (unfair).

“I asked Jelutong to retract the word but Baling, I heard you mention berat sebelah (earlier).

“Retract that now. If you use the words again, I will eject you from the House,” he said.

More shouting ensued and Mohamad Arif then instructed the sergeant-at-arms to escort Abdul Azeez out, who stood up to protest.

“Tan Sri Speaker, I already retracted my words. Why am I being ejected? I have already taken my words back,” he said.

But Mohamad Arif did not take heed and further suspended Abdul Azeez from proceedings for two days until next Tuesday.

Meanwhile at the Parliament lobby yesterday, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the book portrayed the Muslim community as though they were extremist sympathisers.

“If they want to talk about being extremist, why didn’t they mention those who sympathise with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam?” he asked.

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