Opposition lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh was barred from playing aloud in Parliament today a controversial audio recording that purportedly sheds light on a furtive meeting in February that led to the eventual alliance of Bersatu and its then nemesis Umno.
The Bukit Gelugor MP had cited a 2007 parliamentary precedent set by his father, the late Karpal Singh, who played an audio clip concerning corruption in the judiciary in an attempt to persuade Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, but was disallowed.
Azalina said she could not check the precedent at the time as Ramkarpal did not give prior notice to play the recording.
She also dismissed an objection by Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin who suggested that Ramkarpal had improper motives to play the recording in Parliament.
However, Ramkarpal was allowed to read aloud a transcript that had been well reported in the press on May 30 when the audio recording was first leaked on social media.
“We want to know whether it is true that this is the voice of Pagoh,” Ramkarpal asked after he finished, referring to the Pagoh MP Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also prime minister and the current president and acting chairman of Bersatu.
“There is an element of enticement from the prime minister to entice them in joining what is now Perikatan Nasional government.
“Isn’t this the greatest betrayal?” he asked.
According to the transcript, the events in the recording were of a meeting on February 23 involving a man purportedly Muhyiddin who proposed Bersatu join forces with Umno to form the largest political party in the country.
The man in the clip said it was the “scheme of things” that the party needed to follow to shore up its political influence.
Ramkarpal told the Dewan Rakyat that Muhyiddin and the government should clarify the issue and provide an update on the status of a police report filed on the clip on July 1.
Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim stood up to interject and accused Ramkarpal of misleading the House.
The Umno lawmaker likened the audio clip to the Watergate scandal in the US, saying the discussions recorded were not wrong.
“We can also lodge a police report that someone is taping a meeting.
“The Opposition could also have discussions with illegal underground organisations, it is the right for the police to investigate. Can ordinary citizens have a right to steal people’s secrets?
“This is Parliament, not a court,” he said with backing from Kimanis MP Mohamad Alamin and Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.
A rapid series of political events from February led to the eventual collapse of the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
In the weeks that followed, several recordings were leaked on the internet purportedly of a Bersatu meeting involving co-founder and Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other leaders.
In one of the leaked clips, a voice resembling Muhyiddin was heard saying that Dr Mahathir Mohamad could be entrusted with the mandate to pull Bersatu out of the PH coalition, and that his decision cannot be disputed.
In the second leaked clip, a voice resembling Dr Mahathir was heard making a plea not to force him to go against his principles. – MMO