Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bow and Scrape

Ah, I was the unpleasant centre of attention yesterday evening at about 9pm in Parliament, as reported here (partially) in The Star.

You'll get the long-winded version here. ;-)

I strode in with BAGAN at approximately 9pm while the Minister of Domestic and Consumer Affairs was giving his ministerial response in Parliament. I took up IPOH TIMUR's seat temporarily as I needed to have a short discussion with BAGAN.

Then, within about 5 minutes, all hell broke loose. PASIR SALAK, yes, the man I wrote about here, stood up and made some complaints to the Speaker that I was being disrespectful to the House for taking up IPOH TIMUR's seat. He then went on to hit out at BAGAN that even though he's the Chief Minister of Penang, he can't act as if this is the Penang State Assembly. (He repeated himself quite a few times here)

BAGAN then stood up to state that it is common practice even for Ministers in the front bench to move seats temporarily to have discussions, and what PASIR SALAK was raising was completely trivial and frivolous as we were not interrupting the proceedings in the Dewan.

BATU GAJAH also stood up to earlier the same day, another minister sat at the Deputy Prime Minister's seat to have a discussion with the Prime Minister as well. If the Speaker was going to make a ruling on this matter, then it must apply to all parties in the House.

The Speaker was a little confused at first, I believe due to the fact that he wasn't sure that I was a Member of the House, but in the midst of the altercation, after determining that I was not a stranger to the House, I believe that the Speaker had ruled that it was temporary and that he'll let the matter pass, and the proceedings should continue.

I then chose to make my way back to my seat at this point.

However, PASIR SALAK wasn't about to let go. He went on shouting in Parliament claiming we were disrepectful and went on to accuse that I did not bow to the Speaker before taking my seat earlier.

Initially, I was a little embarrassed, then I thought it was getting silly. But when I was accused directly by PASIR SALAK of being disrespectful, I couldn't let it go unchallenged in the parliament records. I gave PASIR SALAK a piece of my mind (yes, I raised my voice), first and most importantly, that I did bow to the speaker, he can go check the video records and second that he should stop wasting the time of the house with trivial issues.

PASIR SALAK went on to insist that he was watching intently and that I did not bow, to which I responded that he should not make false accusations in parliament faulting me of a "crime" I did not commit. BATU GAJAH adviced him that if he is tired, he should go back to rest instead of letting off steam here. PASIR SALAK just went ballistic throughout.

I have no clue how the whole thing blew up the way it did over such a non-issue. But I can understand now how sometimes things do blow up in Parliament because of some MPs having no better issues to raise in Parliament, and if they are not checked by restating facts, then the records will appear as if they are correct. It wasn't pleasant (A reporter sms'd me "Wa... U so fierce eh?"), but it was in my opinion absolutely necessary.

You can check the details in the Hansard probably tomorrow.
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