Updated at 11.45am, 27 Feb 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, 26 Feb 2009: A group of 15 Selangor Umno Youth members today stopped DAP chairperson Karpal Singh from entering Parliament House here and demanded an apology from the Bukit Gelugor member of Parliament (MP) for alleging that Umno Youth had sent live bullets to him.
The incident occurred at about 2.30pm and caused tension for 15 minutes when the Umno Youth members and several DAP MPs including Karpal’s son, Gobind Singh Deo, who is also the MP for Puchong, challenged each other.
The Umno Youth group, led by Serdang Umno Youth head Ungku Mat Salleh and Petaling Jaya Utara Umno Youth head, Latt Shahrizan Abdullah, also demanded an apology from Karpal for uttering the words “Pemuda Umno Celaka” (Damn Umno Youth) during the debate at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The situation was pacified by Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairperson Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing who asked the group to disperse. Karpal later entered Parliament House via the tower block.
Tiong (BN-Bintulu) later told reporters that he regretted the incident that took place on the grounds of Parliament House and hoped that security around the Parliament building would be tightened.
“Regardless of whether we are from the Barisan Nasional or opposition, we must respect the existing constitution, don’t make any provocation that could arouse the sentiments of others,” he said.
At the same time in the Dewan Rakyat, while Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) was debating the motion of thanks on the speech by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Karpal had sought for permission to seek a ruling from the Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, on the police who had not provided protection to him when he was obstructed.
“I want a ruling whether the police were carrying out their job to provide assistance to me. This is unacceptable. What protection you, as a speaker, will give us? We expect protection from you,” he said.
Pandikar Amin said he would meet with Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and ask the police to investigate the matter.
“I will give a very clear ruling. If it occurs within the grounds of Parliament House, such a thing has never occurred here.
“I don’t allow such things to happen in Parliament like celebrating birthdays because the interest of everyone, especially security, must be preserved. This is what I have stressed right from the start,” he said.
Pandikar Amin’s reply drew a firm response from Karpal, who wanted an investigation to be carried out there and then as he claimed the group was still loitering within the grounds of Parliament House.
Pandikar Amin then ordered the Parliament security personnel to maintain security and check on Karpal’s claim.
Karpal, together with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang, were later seen meeting Pandikar Amin in the Dewan Rakyat speaker’s office.
Karpal, when met later, said they had demanded that Pandikar Amin take legal action against the group who had caused the commotion.
He said Section 9E of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 provided for this — “assaulting, obstructing or insulting any member coming to or going from the house or on account of his conduct in the house or endeavouring to compel any member by force, insult, or menace to declare himself in favour of or against any proposition or matter pending or expected to be brought before the house”.
He also asked the speaker to make the ruling at today’s session.
The Dewan Rakyat later passed a motion to set up a committee to investigate Karpal’s complaint.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the committee is chaired by Pandikar Amin and deputy speaker Datuk Dr Ronald Kiandee is the committee’s deputy chairperson.
The other members are Tiong, Lim, Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn (BN-Alor Gajah), Datuk Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong), R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang), and Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar (PAS-Tumpat), Mohamed Nazri said while tabling the motion in the Dewan Rakyat.
He said the committee could take appropriate action under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.
“The setting up of the committee was done under Standing Order 80A to investigate the complaint by the member from Bukit Gelugor,” he said
Earlier, Pandikar Amin rejected a motion by Karpal for the speaker to issue warrants of arrest under Standing Order 26(1)(P) for two individuals who were involved in stopping him from entering the Parliament building in the afternoon.
Karpal asked for the arrest warrants to be issued for Serdang Umno Youth chief Mat Salleh and Gombak Umno Youth chief Megat Zulkarnain Omardin, and that both be brought to the house to show cause on why they should not be imprisoned under Section 11 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.
He said the matter was based on Standing Order 26(1)(P) along with the special privileges of members of Parliament as the incident happened in the Parliament compound.
Pandikar Amin said Standing Order 80A was proper and he had received notice from Mohamed Nazri on the matter.
“As speaker I have thought of this and I have to take firm action on what happened. My decision is final. The ruling asked for under Standing Order 26(1)(P) does not apply.
“This is because I cannot issue an arrest warrant on a person who has not been tried,” he said.
Mohamed Nazri when met by reporters in the lobby said the committee will meet as soon as possible before the sitting ends.
“When it meets it will make a decision which will be tabled in the house,” he said.
Asked if the committee will discuss a public inquiry, Mohamed Nazri said: “They will do what is necessary, including calling those involved [including] the police. After that they need to make a decision.”
He said the committee had power to fine a guilty person a maximum fine of RM1,000. — Bernama