Parliament shouting match ends after MPs realise kids watching

Jerry Choong
A general view inside Dewan Rakyat in Parliament, July 16, 2018. A Pakatan Harapan lawmaker’s jibe at the previous Barisan Nasional administration over tahfiz school allocations caused Parliament to devolve into a yelling contest today. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — A Pakatan Harapan lawmaker’s jibe at the previous Barisan Nasional administration over tahfiz school allocations caused Parliament to devolve into a yelling contest today.

During debate of the Budget 2019 speech, Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin claimed BN never allocated any funds to tahfiz schools before, which he said was unlike Pakatan Harapan that set aside RM50 million for these next year.

This prompted disagreement from BN MPs such as Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN — Pasir Salak) and Khairy Jamaluddin (BN — Rembau), among others, who said Cha was misleading the House.

When Cha persisted, the Opposition MPs started yelling at him, with Tajuddin calling him stupid while others accused him of lying.

The exchange devolved into shouting as PH lawmakers joined in to defend Cha.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN — Bera) pointed out that when he was still rural and regional development minister, RM50 million was allocated to vocational institution GiatMARA to upgrade tahfiz schools nationwide while another RM40 million to train more students to that effect.

Despite this, Cha doubled down on his claim and insisted that he was simply going by the Budget 2018 speech delivered by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last year.

Khairy then pulled up the speech text to read out the entry specifically about the RM50 million allocation that Ismail cited previously, leading Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof to direct Cha to withdraw his claim.

The shouting continued briefly before calm was restored.

The episode ended when Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS — Kubang Kerian) chided lawmakers over such behaviour when schoolchildren were present and watching the debates, at which point Cha relented and withdrew his remark.

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