Jelutong MP ordered out of Dewan Rakyat after row over Baling MP’s ‘speaking Tamil to elephant’ remark

·3-min read
For his refusal to comply, Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun then ordered Jelutong MP RSN Rayer to exit the Lower House for 10 minutes with the assistance of the Sergeant-at-Arms. — Bernama pic
For his refusal to comply, Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun then ordered Jelutong MP RSN Rayer to exit the Lower House for 10 minutes with the assistance of the Sergeant-at-Arms. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Jelutong MP RSN Rayer was today ordered out of the Dewan Rakyat for his refusal to comply with orders issued by Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to sit down after insisting that Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim retract the latter’s allegedly offensive remark on the Tamil language.

During the Second Reading of the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2021, Abdul Azeez was recounting his four days experience in handling a wild elephant last month to which he said the elephant had stubbornly refused to cooperate with rescuers until he spoke in Tamil — of which he is fluent — to it.

Earlier, Abdul Azeez had reenacted the conversation he had with the elephant in the Tamil language, to which Rayer stood up to interject.

Rayer: Speaker, I would like to ask YB Baling to not repeat those words. That is insulting to the Tamil language.

Azeez: Why not?

Rayer: To say that he could speak Tamil to the elephant is something illogical at all. I am asking him not to repeat that statement. I do not want to say it’s stupid but ill-conceived.

Azhar then ordered Azeez to finish his speech but this was interrupted by Rayer again.

Rayer: Don’t insult the Tamil language.

Azeez: I have never disturbed Jelutong when he is debating and never interrupted him when he is always rude (in Parliament). Please don’t disturb me!

This prompted Azhar to switch off the microphones of both MPs and ordered Jelutong to sit down.

Azeez: This is my experience. If you don’t want to listen, just get out.

Still refusing to sit down, Rayer then referred Azhar to the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Order 36(12) before asking whether the latter would allow Azeez to insult the Tamil language in an allegedly stupid and rude manner when there are Tamils and MPs residing in Malaysia.

The Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Order 36(12) states that “Any member who imputes statements that mislead the House is deemed to be in contempt of the House and the member may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for the offence.”

To this Azhar pleaded with Rayer to sit down to allow proceedings to resume after dismissing Rayer’s appeal as it was decided that Azeez’s remark was not insulting and therefore will not be asked to be revoked.

For his refusal to comply, Azhar then ordered Rayer to exit the Lower House for 10 minutes with the assistance of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

“YB Jelutong I am ordering you to exit this House for 10 minutes. Sergeant-At-Arms, please escort,” Azhar said.

Later, Azeez apologised on behalf of Rayer and said he had no intention of insulting the Tamil language as he was merely translating the conversation as he was asked to.

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