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Thursday May 1, 2008

Dewan turns into a ‘zoo’ over seating position, name-calling

THE Dewan turned into a “zoo” after the seating position of Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Ind – Pasir Mas) became a bone of contention between the Speaker and the Opposition.

Razali Ibrahim (BN – Muar) was trying to ask the first question of the sitting when Karpal Singh intervened on a point of order, prompting Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) to stand up and interject.

When Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia allowed the latter to intervene, Karpal Singh said he hoped that the “bigfoot from Kinabatangan won’t disturb me”.

“You-lah, big monkey,” Bung Mokhtar retorted loudly.

Pandikar Amin then ticked off both MPs, telling them to stop this line of argument.

A roaring success: Patrons of a shop in Petaling Jaya watching the ‘Lion of Jelutong’ Karpal Singh in action during the live telecast of the parliamentary proceedings yesterday. The live telecast was a huge success, with viewers asking for more but the proceedings in the august House left much to be desired. – GLENN GUAN / The Star

The DAP leader later pointed out that although Ibrahim had contested and won in the last general election on a PAS ticket, he was in the Dewan as an “independent candidate”.

“Can we know his exact position in the Dewan?” he asked the Chair.

The Speaker then told Karpal Singh off, saying that such trivial points should not be raised, to which the DAP leader shouted: “Ini bukan remeh (this is not trivial)!”

Pandikar Amin then responded: “Where Yang Berhormat sits depends on the discretion of the House. This is within my jurisdiction. If it has been decided that the YB should sit there, then there he should sit,” he said to loud cheers from the backbenchers.

Ibrahim irked the Opposition MPs when he teased wheelchair-bound Karpal Singh for “not respecting the House” by not standing up when speaking.

No hard feelings: Bung Mokhtar (left) and Karpal Singh shaking hands after their tiff in the Dewan yesterday.

This riled Fong Po Kuan (DAP – Batu Gajah), who demanded that Ibrahim retract his statement but he merely told her to “shut up”.

“Retract it. You cannot insult a disabled person. I ask Pasir Mas to retract his words,” said Fong.

To this, Ibrahim said: “I usik-usik (tease) a little bit, sudah melenting (you're are throwing a tantrum).”

“Apa usik-usik?” she asked.

“Shut up!” he shouted.

Pandikar, who had the unenviable task of keeping the House in control, told MPs that he should not be reminding them again and again to refrain from using unparliamentary words.

Ibrahim, however, argued that there was nothing unparliamentary about his choice of words.

“I said ‘shut up’. In Bahasa, it is 'diam'. All this is because everybody wants to be on TV during the half hour,” he said, referring to the 30-minute live telecast of the parliamentary sitting.