KUALA LUMPUR — October 22, 2013: The Dewan Rakyat today suspended Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang for six months after he failed to withdraw his remark against the speaker and make an unconditional apology. The house approved the motion 107 to 77 to suspend Lim following a block vote.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said tabled the motion after Lim, who was allowed to state his stand on
the matter, denied that he had made the remark.
Lim was alleged to have accused Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia on Monday of having abused his authority as the speaker and attempted to sabotage the investigation into government investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Following Lim’s denial, Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee decided that the MP did not intend to apologise and withdraw the remark, and asked Azalina to go ahead and table the motion.
In tabling the motion, Azalina said Lim’s remarks were very serious and an insult to the house and the speaker.
As soon as the motion was tabled, several opposition parliamentarians questioned the standing orders under which the motion was tabled, saying it was not right, thus causing a heated verbal exchange before it was debated.
“Standing Orders 27 (3) is the procedure to table all motions, but if action is to be taken against Gelang Patah (Lim) for alleged insult, it should be under Standing Orders 80 (A),” said Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong).
G. Manivannan (DAP-Kapar), Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (Amanah-Sepang) and Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (Amanah-Parit Buntar) also commented on the element of ‘public interest’.
“This motion does not meet the three main criteria for motions; where is the element of ‘public interest’ and, if the subject matter here is the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, how can he himself approve the motion?” asked Hanipa.
The atmosphere in the house was tense when Ramkapal Singh (DAP-Bukit Glugor) rose to protest the motion and uttered the word ‘binatang’ (animals) in reference to government representatives as he claimed that the motion did not follow the actual regulation to punish the DAP advisor.
His comments caused several Barisan Nasional MPs, including Datuk Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom) and Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Rahim (BN-Baling), to rise to protest and demand that Ramkarpal withdraw his comments.
However, they were interrupted by Kiandee who stressed that it was not wrong for a minister to table the motion under Standing Orders 27(3), and it had been agreed to by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.
He then instructed Ramkarpal to withdraw his remark.
Lim, given five minutes to say his piece, said: “As a member of parliament for more than 40 years, I have never felt this sad, not because of the six-month suspension but about what has happened to the institution of the Parliament today, which is an insult to the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and Parliament.”
When winding up the debate, Azalina said Lim had been given ample opportunity from this morning to apologise or withdraw his remark.
“Lim, who has been a veteran politician since 1969, does not want to apologise and refuses to withdraw his words but wants to politicise his position.
The government has no choice but to table the motion,” Azalina said. — Bernama