Walk-out by Pakatan Rakyat
|No-confidence motion rejected, opposition stages walkout|
|Soon Li Tsin, Rahmah Ghazali and Tarani Palani | Jul 14, 08 12:59pm|
|Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia today disallowed a no-confidence debate against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, resulting in a walk-out by opposition Pakatan Rakyat MPs.
Pandikar rejected the emergency motion filed by Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Friday on the grounds that the issue had already been debated last month.
According to the Speaker, the debate on the oil price hike filed by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad on June 23 was a no-confidence motion.
In that motion, the government won with a vote of 129 against 78.
At noon, Wan Azizah stood up in the Dewan Rakyat to ask the Speaker to reconsider his decision against allowing the no-confidence debate.
However, Pandikar refused to entertain the request.
“I do not even need to give a reason for rejecting a motion. I have read the motion and it asks for a resolution and that does not fall under Standing Order 18(1) in which it is filed under.”
“How can I allow something that does not fall within this SO (standing orders)? If I allowed it, the whole world will look at me and see if I make a stupid decision or not,” he said.
This led to a shouting match with BN MPs telling their opposition counterparts to sit while a visibly agitated Pandikar Amin hammered his gavel several times demanding for order.
Around 12.20pm, Wan Azizah then announced that Pakatan Rakyat MPs would walk out since they were not given the opportunity to carry the voice of the public to the August House.
Outside the hall, the PKR president told reporters that she was unhappy with the way the emergency motion was dealt with by both the Speaker and the police.
“I want to know why was the motion rejected. This is the government’s reaction to us because we wanted to debate a motion democratically in Parliament.
“We’re disappointed and we regret that this has happened. Is this a siege? What is there to it? The Speaker only needs to give 30 minutes for us to speak and another 30 for the government to speak.
“This is why we walked out. They disrespect the rules and the voice of the people that we carry into the house,” she said.
She said the opposition will also boycott the rest of today’s proceedings to protest against the police action today in turning Parliament into a “war zone”.
There was a heavy police presence in Parliament as roadblocks were mounted along major roads leading to the building causing massive traffic jams.
Why bar Anwar?
The roadblocks are in anticipation of a protest ahead of the possible no-confidence debate.
However, the opposition denied calling for a rally and the police yesterday obtained a court order barring PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim from the vicinity.
Commenting on this, Wan Azizah expressed amazement at the overreaction by various parties over Anwar’s interest in attending Parliament.
“He expressed his interest to attend parliament to hear the motion and that triggered such an amazing reaction.
“How can an individual be barred from entering if he is a guest of mine? Until there is a directive that any guest of the MP is not allowed in. I don’t understand.
“I want the inspector-general of police to explain why is there this (overblown) reaction,” she said, adding that it gives the impression that Malaysia is a police state.
On whether Pakatan will file a similar motion in future, Wan Azizah said the parties will discuss to see what to do next.
Not the right order
At a separate press conference, Pandikar Amin said the opposition MPs had a right to stage a walkout but declined to comment on it.
He also explained the reason why he wrote to Wan Azizah this morning – before Parliament began – to reject the emergency motion in chambers.
According to him, the opposition had filed their emergency motion for a resolution under Standing Orders 18 but that standing order only allows for debates.
“It is not the proper standing order. SO 18(1) and (2) does not allow for vote of no-confidence to be carried out. It is like a person who had committed raped but was charged for murder. You cannot do that,” he said.
He explained that the emergency motion requesting for a resolution which leads to voting should be filed under SO 27.
Pandikar Amin also said that the debate on the security and leadership has already been discussed on June 23 during Shahrir’s emergency motion debate on the fuel price hike and the mid-term review of the 9th Malaysian Plan.
“If I had allowed the motion, I will be seen as the most stupid Speaker in the world for allowing a motion filed under the wrong SO to be debated.
“I will not allow them to drag the Speaker into their politics. I will let the people decide whether they were right to walk out and whether I was right in rejecting their motion,” he said.