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Opposition ruffled by PM’s motion of thanks, but Anwar says nothing to do with King’s speech

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — PAS’ MP Datuk Awang Hashim was suspended for four days from the Parliament today following a commotion that transpired from the Opposition bloc’s disagreement over Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s motion of thanks to both former and current Kings.

Awang was asked to leave the Parliament after he repeatedly disobeyed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul’s order to sit down.

The Pendang MP had attempted to express his agreement with Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) chief whip Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, who earlier said it was improper that a minister’s explanation — referring to Anwar’s motion — was raised in the middle of the debate on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s speech.

“It’s not that we don’t want to listen to what the prime minister has to say, but let’s ensure that the regulations are right. Following the Parliament’s practice, even though Standing Order 14(2) allows it, the practice has been that a minister’s explanation must be listed in the Order Paper [of the day],” Takiyuddin told the Parliament during the afternoon session of the day’s sitting.

“But today, we were caught by surprise, without any notice that there would be an explanation by the minister for today, and we were not told about the motion of thanks by the prime minister to the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the [current] Agong, I think it’s not in accordance with the order.”

He said for this week and next week, it should be the debate on the King’s speech by MPs from both divides, and ministers will only deliver their winding-up speeches in the third week.

“Why not the members of the administration including the prime minister state the minister’s explanation instead of taking up time that should be utilised to debate the King’s speech?

“I would like to seek clarification from the Speaker,” he said.

Johari in explaining the matter, said this was the reason why the prime minister was told to make a motion following Standing Order 14(1)(i) and (j).

“If you were to look at (j), it’s delivering tribute. What the PM wants to do is to express gratitude, therefore we left it to the Parliament to the PM in a humble state to express his gratitude.

“Even that we want to question? I don’t think so. I know what you mean, in the Standing Order, as long as the minister moves the motion, we leave it to the MPs to make a decision,” Johari said adding that the motion was raised and had been seconded.

The Opposition MPs however claimed that this was an attempt to bulldoze the motion with the majority that the Anwar government possesses.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, when he stood up to deliver his remarks, expressed his disappointment over the actions of the Opposition bloc for going against the motion meant to thank the former Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“It has nothing to with the King’s speech. I was supposed to come here in the morning, but this morning I received the official visit of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, I had asked permission from the Dewan Rakyat Speaker so that the motion be raised at 2.30pm. The visit with the Cambodian Prime Minister ended at 1.45pm.

“Following Standing Order 14 (1)(i) and (j) this matter should be put forward. We want to say thank you to the former Agong, at the end of the Parliament session, that is impossible. So it should have been done in the morning, so if the Opposition bloc wants to go against it, this is an inappropriate attitude and disrespect towards the King’s institution.

“They can disagree with the process, but we are defending the process and Dewan Rakyat Speaker has made a decision. This is the problem in our country, that even after they have heard the King’s speech they still don’t fail to understand due to their grudge and blind jealousy,” Anwar said, referring Sultan Ibrahim’s call for MPs to behave during his address yesterday.

In a separate press conference called by PN, its chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the motion of thanks was something out of the ordinary and deemed it “tyranny of the majority”.

“This is before in Parliament, they could be the majority, so they can do whatever they want to till they are not following regulations that have been in place all these while,” Muhyiddin told the press.

The Pendang MP’s suspension has since been retracted, after Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin told the former to offer an apology and asked if the Dewan Rakyat Speaker was willing to give some leeway to Awang.

Johari had then agreed to the request after Awang’s apology in Parliament.