KUALA LUMPUR (Apr 9): Tempers flared at the Parliament yesterday as opposition lawmakers attempted to end the meeting at 11.30pm as the government tried to push through four more bills.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo led the opposition charge and demanded sitting be suspended as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Wahid Omar attempted to wrap up the debate on the Malaysian Aviation Commission Bill 2015.
"It is not fair to debate four more bills tonight. And we finish at 4am. Tomorrow we have a very important Bill to discuss," the DAP lawmaker said, referring to the amendments to the Sedition Act which is due for debate at tomorrow's sitting.
"What is the urgency here? We cannot do it. We cannot debate it. We are not giving justice to the people."
However, Deputy Speaker Datuk Ismail Mohd Said refused to allow this and asked the minister to continue, which prompted other opposition lawmakers to kick up a fuss and demand proceedings be ended.
Gobind and opposition members maintained their stand and this went on for a few minutes as the chair tried to rein in the shouting opposition deputies.
Angry Barisan Nasional lawmakers also joined in and shouted back, insisting that the remaining bills be debated tonight as willed by Putrajaya.
BN Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa reminded the opposition that the motion for the sitting to continue until the eighth item on the order paper was debated, was endorsed earlier in the day at the end of question time.
He demanded to know why the opposition did not object when the motion was moved at the time.
At this juncture, Ismail, citing the Standing Orders, threatened to evict and suspend Gobind, Tian Chua (PKR-Batu), N. Surendran (PKR-Padang Serai) and Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang), if they continued speaking.
Gobind, however, shot back at the Deputy Speaker, telling Ismail not to threaten him.
"Don't threaten me. To me, it doesn't matter if you suspend me," he said.
"But, Speaker, do you have any conscience? Outsiders do not know what bill is being debated at this time. Why do we have to continue with this?
"My question is this, if there is no basis to rush through the bills, then why?"
Despite more objections from other opposition MPs, Ismail said the sitting would continue.
At 11.57pm, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Shahidan Kassim moved a motion to stop the clock for the second time this week for the sitting to continue.
Stopping the clock is a parliament procedure in which a legislature literally or notionally stops the clock, usually for the purpose of meeting a constitutional or statutory deadline where parliament has to stop its days proceeding by midnight.
On Monday, Putrajaya stopped the clock to push through the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), at 2.25am much to the chagrin of the opposition which was caught napping.
The final vote taken favoured the government with 79 from Barisan Nasional supporting it and 60 from the opposition against it, drawing an outcry from the public, which felt the opposition could have defeated the bill if all 86 Pakatan Rakyat MPs had been present.
At press time, the Dewan Rakyat was debating the Securities Commission (Amendment) Bill 2015.
The parliament is still to debate three more bills before suspending today's sitting – the Capital Markets and Services (Amendment) Bill 2015, Retirement Fund (Amendment) Bill 2015 and Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Bill 2015. – The Malaysian Insider