Chaos in Parliament after PN MP accuses govt of validating communist struggle

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat proceedings on Tuesday (March 5) descended into a shouting match after a Perikatan Nasional MP claimed that the government was recognising the struggles of the communists.

Datuk Seri Ismail Muttalib (PN-Maran) questioned the rationale of nominating Chinese new villages in Selangor as Unesco World Heritage Sites.

“This means that we agree (with) and legitimise the struggles of the communists during a dark period of Malaysian history,” he said in his speech on the motion of thanks on the royal address.

RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) then stood up and raised Standing Order 36(9)c, saying that Ismail had made remarks that could promote hostility between races.

“What is the relation of Chinese new villages with communists? These words promote ill will or hostility between races.

“I want Maran to retract his remarks and apologise, because he insulted the Chinese and also Chinese new villages,” said Rayer.

Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (PH-Beruas) then stood up and joined in the argument, saying that the Chinese were actually detained at these new villages instead of being placed there for deradicalisation purposes.

“This is offensive to the Chinese. We were victims.

“Don’t spin history,” Ngeh added.

Deputy Speaker Alice Lau, who was chairing the session, urged Rayer and Ngeh to sit down to allow Ismail to explain himself to the House.

Ismail subsequently elaborated on his remarks, saying that the Chinese were placed in these new villages because they were influenced by communism.

“Malay new villages were also involved in communism. That is why I reject the Unesco (heritage sites nomination). It is as though we are recognising communism,” he said.

Lau then said there was no need for Ismail to refer to any races as being influenced by communism, adding that the Maran MP should retract his remarks.

Mohd Sany Hamzan (PH-Hulu Langat) then stood up and urged Ismail to retract his remarks.

“Retract it, don’t slander. Malays were also involved in communism,” added Mohd Sany.

Lau then told Mohd Sany to sit down, or he would be asked to leave the House.

Several MPs then joined in the shouting match, until Lau raised Standing Order 36(9)c, saying that Ismail should retract his remarks.

“I will not retract historical facts. But if it’s coarse words, I will retract,” said Ismail.

At a press conference later with other Perikatan MPs, Ismail said new villages were formed to curb communist influence.

Ismail said while serving as an internal security officer, he was involved in the efforts to corral communist influence.

“If the new villages receive Unesco recognition, it means we are acknowledging the communists' presence in Malaysia,” he said.

“We don’t want all this. That is why I brought it up.

“We love the Chinese too just like the Malays and Indians,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (PN-Machang) challenged the government, especially the DAP, to amend the history textbooks if they disagree with historical facts.

“If you feel these facts interpreted by the British were wrong, then furnish us with new ones that you feel are true,” he said.

On Feb 2, Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming said there were plans to nominate Chinese new villages in Selangor as Unesco World Heritage Sites in recognition of their cultural and historical significance.

In June last year, Nga said seven villages had been selected as national representatives for submission to Unesco for World Heritage Site status.

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