Tempers flare in Parliament over Hindu MP’s sacred ash on forehead, Umno and DAP reps ejected

Danial Dzulkifly
Jelutong MP RSN Rayer speaks to reporters in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 18, 2019. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — An Umno lawmaker’s snide remark to his DAP counterpart about the religious mark on his forehead caused an uproar in the Dewan Rakyat today, disrupting a highly anticipated discussion about an oversight body for the police.

The verbal sparring match began when Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman asked Jelutong MP RSN Rayer, a Hindu, if the sacred ash on his forehead belonged to the deceased former leader of the Communist Party of Malaya, Chin Peng.

“This is insulting to Hindus, I ask that Pasir Salak apologise because he had insulted Hindus in Malaysia.

“I ask Pasir Salak to retract your statement because the Yang Berhormat from Barisan Nasional has insulted the Hindus,” Rayer demanded.

He was seconded by Batu Gajah MP Sivakumar Naidu, also from the DAP.

Tajuddin subsequently retracted his remark, but the matter did not end there.

Another Umno representative, Lenggong MP Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah chided Rayer for his sweeping claim that BN had insulted Hindus in the country, which sparked another shouting match between the two sides.

This too eventually subsided, allowing de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong to continue his proposal to withhold tabling the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill.

Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof issued Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman a two-day suspension over the fracas. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

But tempers reignited when a third Umno man, Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim asked Rayer to retract his accusation that BN had insulted the Hindu community.

Defending his colleague, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh stood up and cited Standing Order 36(6), which states that no member of Parliament shall impute improper motives of any other member.

Ramkarpal shot down Shahidan, saying Tajuddin’s earlier remark was a serious insult.

He also asked Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof why no action was taken against the Pasir Salak MP.

“This is a malicious statement. Now where is Pasir Salak?” Ramkarpal said of Tajuddin who was not in the House at that moment, adding after a brief pause, “He has run away”.

Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong jumped in and reminded the Speaker that it was not the first time Tajuddin had made derogatory remarks and demanded action against the Opposition MP.

“He had said such things many times before and it cannot simply be that he just retracts his statement,” Khoo said.

Ariff ordered the MPs to calm down after both the BN and PH lawmakers started shouting at each other again, but failed to restore order.

He then issued a two-day suspension on both Tajuddin and Khoo.

“This is too much. Kota Melaka and Pasir Salak, I order you to get out,” Ariff said.

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