The Dewan Rakyat today passed a motion to refer Umno lawmaker Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to the Rights and Privileges Committee for poking fun at the holy ash or vibhuthi worn by DAP MP RSN Rayer.
The motion was tabled by Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran.
Tajuddin (BN-Pasir Salak) sparked an uproar in the Dewan Rakyat two days ago when he questioned Rayer (PH-Jelutong) if the ash on his forehead were the ashes of former Communist Party leader Chin Peng.
“On Tuesday, Datuk Seri Haji Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, the MP for Pasir Salak had made a remark that is derogatory, serious and is seen as stoking the religious sensitivity of the Hindus,” Kula said while tabling the motion.
He said the incident should be taken seriously as it had hurt the feelings of Hindu parliamentarians and tainted the prestige of the chambers.
Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming, who presided over proceedings, invited a representative from each party to debate the motion.
Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor), when debating, was interrupted by Noh Omar (BN-Tg Karang), who asked why Tajuddin was being penalised again.
This resulted in a shouting match.
When his repeated calls for order went unheeded, Nga said it appeared the opposition did not wish to debate and was preventing lawmakers from the government bench from making their point.
“Pasir Salak, I wanted to give you an opportunity to defend yourself. There is no need to scream and scold as it will not bring any benefit,” said Nga.
At one point, Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) tore up what was presumably his copy of the motion and tossing it into the air.
As the shouting showed no signs of abating, Nga moved on to voting.
“More voices have agreed. The motion is accepted,” he said, before wrapping up.
Tajuddin proceeded to call Nga a coward but he was ignored by the latter, who went on to wrap up the session.
On Tuesday, Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ordered the suspension of Tajuddin and Khoo Poay Tiong (PH-Kota Melaka) for two days after both refused to adhere to instructions as they argued over the propriety of the former’s ash remark.
The motion against Tajuddin was the last order of business for this session of the Dewan Rakyat, which us adjourned until March.
In an immediate reaction, Tajuddin told reporters that the decision to sanction him was unfair because he had already apologised for making the remark.
“I had withdrawn (my statement) and apologised, so why did they want to prolong (the issue)? This is none other than to spark anger in the Indian community towards me,” he said.
“Jelutong (Rayer) was constantly interrupting (speeches by opposition MPs) that day with his antics. I wanted to silence him, so I made a joke.
“My (Hindu) friends never criticised me for it. I think DAP is trying to politicise and exploit the issue, which is actually a non-issue,” he added.
During question time on Tuesday, Tajuddin had likened the vibuthi (Hindu holy ash) on RSN Rayer’s (Harapan-Jelutong) forehead to the cremains of former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng.
After a huge outcry and multiple demands for his apology by backbenchers, Tajuddin relented by saying: “Okay lah. I retract lah. There is no problem”.