Dewan Rakyat heats up after issue of rising goods prices referred to Special Chambers

KUALA LUMPUR: A heated discussion erupted in the Dewan Rakyat after a request to debate the rising price of essential items was slotted for the Special Chambers on Thursday (Dec 2).

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said issues involving the rising prices was a national matter and should be debated in the main chamber of the Dewan Rakyat instead of the Special Chambers.

Anwar said this would allow more ministries to be involved in the debates.

"If it is debated in Special Chambers, only Kapit (Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi) will answer the question, but we know the issue involves the Agriculture, Finance, and Economy (ministries)," said Anwar.

Earlier, Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (PH-Pulai) had filed a private motion under Standing Order 18 (1) and (2) to discuss the issue of the rising prices of essential items.

The motion was filed by Salahuddin after receiving an appeal letter from a trader to be handed to the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

The Special Chamber was created during a parliamentary reform six years ago to ensure all emergency motions filed by Members of Parliament will be debated and answered by Putrajaya, without disrupting proceedings in the main chamber.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon said that the debate could be held in the Special Chambers at 2.30pm on Thursday after the morning Question Time session.

Anwar then stood up to ask whether other related ministers will be allowed to weigh in on the issue.

"There are at least four ministries involved. If you are firm with the decision, is there any guarantee that all the ministers will be present at the Special Chambers?" asked Anwar.

Datuk Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus (PH-Hulu Langat) then said that the debates in the Special Chambers were "one-way" without much space for a proper debate.

However, the Deputy Speaker said that the matter can still be debated in great detail in the Special Chamber.

"I have made my decision, the motion was directed to the Ministry. But it is up to him to invite other ministers," he said.

Several other Opposition lawmakers then appealed to the Deputy Speaker to change his decision but he maintained that it would be discussed in the Special Chambers.

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