“Out with the ‘clown’”: Speaker suspends Pendang MP for 2 days

DEWAN Rakyat Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul has ejected Pendang MP Datuk Awang Solahuddin Hashim from the August house for two days following a shouting match when Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli had called Awang a “clown”.

This is after Awang had interrupted Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli’s Budget 2023 winding-up speech despite being warned by Johari.

According to the Standing Orders, one may only speak up during a parliamentarian or minister’s allotted time if they allow it.

This makes Awang the first MP to be ejected from the Dewan Rakyat in this Parliament session.

Earlier in Rafizi’s speech, Awang and several other Perikatan Nasional (PN) lawmakers had attempted to interrupt the minister’s speech, prompting Johari to warn that the next time someone speaks up without permission, they would be kicked out from the House.

While the warning had pacified the opposition lawmakers, the Pendang MP had tried to speak up during Rafizi’s speech again mere minutes after Johari’s warning.

“Pendang, if you want to be a clown, find another minister who is speaking, not me, because I have important things to talk about,” Rafizi told Awang.

The Pandan MP was responding to other lawmakers’ concerns about the economy, pointing out that rooting out corruption ensures a stronger economy for the country.

Angered by Rafizi’s remark, Awang had then stood up and called Rafizi out for branding him a “clown”.

This prompt Johari to order the Pendang MP to take a break from Parliamentary session for two days.

Several opposition MPs had reacted angrily to Rafizi’s term “clown”, prompting Rafizi to point out that opposition MPs have used worse insults against the government.

In demanding that Rafizi withdraw his “clown” remark, Pengkalan Chepa MP Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary Pengkalan said such a term was not suitable speech for the Dewan Rakyat and urged Johari to “chill”.

“I said, if the minister does not give way to speak, Pendang, do not stand up because the minister did not give way. But he still stood up,” an incensed Johari said.

“I have said it multiple times. Once, twice, he sat down but then he stood up again. I am seen as being unable to control the House because the rakyat wants to hear what we are discussing.

“That is why, Pendang, today and tomorrow, please (leave).”

Awang then insisted Rafizi withdraw his comments of calling him a clown.

Johari instructed Rafizi to retract the word to which Rafizi complied, saying “I withdraw calling Pendang a clown and Pendang can leave (the House)”.

The ruckus resulted in Johari having to give MPs a lecture about adhering to the rules during a minister’s speech.

“I said if a minister does not allow an MP to intervene, don’t raise anything. I have told [Pendang] to stand down many times already because the minister didn’t allow him to intervene.

“Now I look like I have no control of Parliament because the people want to see what we are discussing here,” Johari lamented. – March 8, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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