KUALA LUMPUR: A row erupted in the Malaysian parliament on Tuesday (Mar 19) after a Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmaker disobeyed an order by the Deputy Speaker to bar him for three days.
It came after Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming suspended BN’s Member of Parliament (MP) Noh Omar for disrespecting the speaker’s office, while the lawmaker was not present in the House.
“As the Speaker, my duty is not just to chair the proceedings with fairness and trust. The responsibility demands that I safeguard and uphold the image and integrity of the institution of Parliament," said Mr Nga.
“As Tanjung Karang (Mr Noh) has acted without decency and deliberately insulted the meeting and disregarded the authority of the Chair by accusing the Chair of being unqualified to hold the position. This is an open insult to the Chair and the House.”
“I hereby order Tanjung Karang out of the House for three days,” he said, issuing the order in Mr Noh’s absence. The deputy speaker advised Mr Noh and other MPs to take this as a lesson and not repeat such demeanour.
Around 20 opposition lawmakers staged a walkout over the suspension.
A day earlier, Mr Noh, among other opposition lawmakers, accused Mr Nga as being unqualified to hold the deputy speaker position. Mr Nga had reportedly said that a coalition between the United Malays National Organisation and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia would lead to a Taliban state.
On Tuesday, Mr Noh refused the leave the House, noting that the suspension was ordered without his knowledge.
“I didn’t know (about my suspension). Can punishment be meted out without my presence? When was this case?" he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
He said he was not fighting the suspension, but the manner in which the decision was made.
The exchange was witnessed by Singapore Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and his delegation during their visit to the Malaysian Parliament.
Mr Tan is on his inaugural official visit to Malaysia from Mar 18 to 20, since being elected to the post of Speaker in September 2017.
“Has the Singapore Speaker seen an occurrence where an MP is sanctioned in absentia?” Mr Noh was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight.
Mr Noh refused to leave the parliament sitting, despite attempts by the sergeant-of-arms and his team to escort him out. The MP was allowed to stay until the lunch break.
Later, Speaker Ariff Md Yusof upheld Mr Nga’s decision.
“Don’t waste time. More lawmakers want to debate and I won’t hear any more of this. This ruling is final," Mr Ariff was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.