A DAP member of Parliament was ejected from the Lower House today after he refused to take his seat during a heated exchange with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
The altercation began right before Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s scheduled speech on Budget 2021 at 11am on Thursday (Nov 12), when Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) raised a point of order.
Sim said Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing’s (GPS-Bintulu) “unsavoury remarks” against Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah should be addressed in the House, as it had gone against Standing Order 36(9), where no references shall be made in any debate on the conduct of an MP or a civil servant.
Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) stood up in support of Sim.
Guan Eng urged Azhar to demand an apology from Tiong and to ask him to retract his statement against Noor Hisham. saying it was “disgusting”.
“Noor Hisham himself said he’s not afraid of dying since it’s up to God. (Tiong’s remark) was insulting and must be condemned by this Dewan. I call on all government MPs to condemn the remark, too,” he said.
Guan Eng added that Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said’s ruling over the matter on Wednesday (Nov 11) should be revisited.
Azalina had allowed Tiong to decide if he wanted to explain or apologise for his remark on Noor Hisham, which the Bintulu MP declined, saying he was voicing the people’s unhappiness.
Azalina also kicked RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) out of the hall, after he repeatedly demanded an apology from Tiong for criticising a civil servant.
In response, Azhar said Azalina’s ruling was final according to Standing Order 43, at which point Lip Eng stood up to protest.
“But that is a stupid ruling! The Speaker should not be in cahoots with Bintulu,” he shouted.
Lim’s remark sparked an uproar in the house, with backbenchers telling him to retract it and to apologise, and Azhar asking: “How can you say it’s stupid?”
Azhar demanded the Kepong MP exit the House and gave him an initial two-day suspension.
However, Lip Eng refused to exit the House despite having as many as three sergeant-at-arms standing behind him to escort him out, at which point Azhar threatened to call the police.
“You’re too much, you know. Keep quiet and get out or I’ll call the police,” Azhar said.
This prompted Steven Sim (PH-Bukit Mertajam) to tell Azhar not to do so as it would set a precedent.
“Chill, Speaker,” said a defiant Lip Eng, which saw Azhar demanding the Kepong MP leave the House immediately.
“Yang Berhormat, please leave the House. I am extending your suspension to five days,” said Azhar, who later told the Dewan Rakyat secretary to call the police since Lim initially refused to leave the House.
Lim finally left the House after fellow opposition MP, Lim Guan Eng, was seen showing gestures to the former to abide by the instructions of the speaker.
After Lim left, Azhar clarified that it was “not good” for him to overrule his deputy’s decision.
Guan Eng then asked Azhar whether he was willing to consider a substantive motion to deliberate Tiong’s remarks and Azalina’s ruling on Wednesday.
Guan Eng’s remarks came as Dr Mahathir stood up and was about to deliver his speech.
“They are trying to disturb Langkawi MP (Dr Mahathir). Langkawi, please don’t support DAP anymore,” said Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau), who looked visibly annoyed.
Other MPs also accused DAP of attempting to filibuster Dr Mahathir’s speech, which was already delayed by nearly 30 minutes at that point.
Guan Eng reiterated his points before being dismissed by Azhar, who subsequently invited Dr Mahathir to deliver his speech.
At a press conference later, Guan Eng said Pakatan MPs have not given up and will table another motion in Parliament soon to deliberate Azalina’s ruling on Tiong.
“We hope the Speaker will admit that there is an oversight and that this ruling should be revisited,” he said.
On Wednesday, Tiong triggered a shouting match in Parliament involving Opposition MPs after he asked whether Dr Noor Hisham feared for his life because he did not go to the ground in Sabah when Covid-19 cases were at an all-time high in the state.
That shouting match saw RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) being ejected from the House by Azalina.