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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pakatan MPs stage walkout after debate denied

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal and Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — A majority of Pakatan Rakyat backbenchers staged a walkout from Parliament today after Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee refused to allow them to debate a motion tabled by the Home Affairs Minister ordering the Inspector-General of Police to protect the House from obstructions.

Pakatan Rakyat MPs staged a walkout, led by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (right) together with Lim Kit Siang (centre) and Nasaruddin Mat Isa (left).

Pandikar told the Opposition that the motion was tabled by convention at the opening session of every Parliament sitting and it was not common practice for it to be debated.
Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor), however, rebutted this fact, adding that he had once debated a similar motion in the 1970s.
When Pandikar refused to give in despite loud protest from opposition MPs like DAP’s Chong Eng and PKR’s N. Gobalakrishnan, the group of angry MPs staged a walkout, led by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
According to Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping), the motion, moved by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and supported by his deputy, was a traditional one introduced at the beginning of every new Parliament sitting.
“By disallowing the MPs to debate, the Speaker is setting a precedent and obstructing freedom of speech by the MPs,” he said.
The motion instructs the IGP to “take care that during the present session of this House, the passages through the streets leading to this House be kept free and opened and that no obstruction be permitted to hinder the passages of Members to and from this House that there be no annoyance therein and thereabouts; and that Setiausaha Dewan Rakyat do communicate this Order to the IGP.”
Lim told reporters outside of Parliament during a press conference that the question of the IGP staying on or leaving had become a hot topic not only in the police force, but also members of the public as well.
“China Press had a front page story that the IGP has submitted his letter of resignation to take effect from Police Day on March 25. This will open a new page for the police force in Malaysia.
“But he (Hishammuddin) denied. Arising from this, the minister has also issued a directive and show cause to the newspaper,” said Lim who also claimed that the ministry threatened China Press with a suspension warning.
The DAP veteran added that should the IGP’s contract be extended after September, it would be a “grave issue of concern” on the role of the police.
“So there are a lot of questions... there was a Parliamentary roundtable last July where all MPs of Pakatan Rakyat rejected the extension of Musa as IGP,” he said, stating that there are many within the police force who want a revamp of the current police administration.
He also took a jibe at Hishammuddin, claiming that the Home Minister needed to get his facts straight.
“Actually there are eight police divisions and the Home Minister doesn’t know there are eight, he thinks there are seven.”


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