THE Dewan Rakyat erupted after Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh criticised its Speaker Datuk Seri Azhar Azizan Harun for allegedly trying to block any motion to debate the Emergency and the ordinances enacted under it.
“You were a lawyer before and you know how important it is to debate such pertinent matters. House rules cannot supersede the Federal Constitution.
“As Speaker, you are doing all you can to block such motions. Are you the Government’s lapdog? You are a disgrace to the Parliament and unfit to sit on the chair.
“Resign from your post or we will submit a motion to remove you from the chair,” he lashed out at the Dewan Rakyat today.
His comments triggered uproar from the Government bloc, who called for Ramkarpal to retract the statement.
“Biadap, kurang ajar. Tarik balik!” (Rude, uncouth. Retract your statement!), the Government backbenchers shouted.
Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad joined the foray and called the special session as a sham, claiming it was a “briefing session” masquerading as a legitimate sitting.
“The Agong’s decree is being sidestepped. The Government dragged its feet on finding a concrete solution to address COVID-19 which cost lives.
“If this is the case, we should be tabling a White Paper on the matter instead of having this sitting,” the former premier retorted.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo then targetted Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yassin, calling him a failure and called for his resignation.
“The house must allow debates on Emergency Ordinance (EO) and other matters. If not, Dewan Rakyat will look docile.
“Plus, it is not within the Speaker’s power to limit the number of MPs. If there is a need to vote on motions or Bills, it will become a problem,” said the former minister.
As the Speaker was getting criticised by the Oppostion bloc, Kuala Krau MP Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said defended Azhar and the Government, saying the prime minister has the power to call and set the agenda of the house based on Standing Order 11 (3).
“The Prime Minister has the authority to do so and the Speaker abided by it according to the Standing Order.
“And the Speaker has the power to decide on matters not stated under the Standing Order!” he shouted back.
On related matter, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim agreed that the prime minister has specific powers under the said order but stressed that no proceeding should contravene the Federal Constitution.
He added that Azhar should also not hide behind technicalities to dismiss motions sent by MPs to debate the Emergency.
“We must uphold the spirit for the Federal Constitution and abide by Istana Negara’s decree,” the former deputy prime minister stated.
After hearing MPs argue and counters for more than an hour, Azhar shot back by saying that he disagreed with all the views brought by the Opposition bloc and ordered the meeting to proceed.
“You talk about Standing Order but you yourselves don’t abide by it. When the Speaker speaks, everyone should keep quiet.
“Since no one is listening, I decide that I disagree with the views presented and order the meeting to proceeded,” he remarked. – July 26, 2021