[Malaysiakini] Anwar and 3 others suspended from Parliament for 6 months
What a shameful day in Malaysian Parliament history!! Dewan Rakyat Speaker threatens to suspend PR MPs one by one.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and three other Pakatan Rakyat MPs were suspended from Parliament for six months today in votes that triggered pandemonium and an opposition walkout.
Anwar was earlier found guilty of misleading members in a row over a national unity slogan.
He had criticised the government's '1Malaysia' slogan, which he said had been copied from the 'One Israel' political alliance of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak in 1999.
The government had yesterday cited three senior opposition MPs for contempt for criticising the parliamentary disciplinary probe against Anwar, demanding that they, too, be hit with six-month suspensions.
The motion against Anwar was passed without any debate after the opposition noisily protested against the move.
The Pakatan Rakyat MPs eventually staged a walkout.
Another motion to suspend three other MPs - R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang), Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) and Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) - was later moved in the House in the absence of the opposition MPs. It was debated and passed.
All four are likely to be forced to sit it out the next parliamentary session, which is expected to resume in March next year.
"It's so clear, it's blatantly biased," Anwar said after the suspension votes against the four were carried in parliament, where the ruling coalition has a clear majority. "It's a mockery of the entire proceedings."
The votes were held after chaotic scenes in the House where debate was drowned out by a half-hour shouting match, and opposition lawmakers unfurled placards reading "Save the Parliament".
Anwar led the opposition walkout, chanting "Shame on you".
Anwar was once a deputy prime minister in the ruling coalition but was sacked and jailed a decade ago on separate sex and corruption charges widely seen as politically motivated.
He spent six years in jail before the original sex conviction was overturned.
Anwar returned to Parliament in August 2008 in a by-election for the Permatang Pauh seat vacated by his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
He was then at the helm of a reinvigorated opposition, Pakatan Rakyat, that had made huge strides in March 2008 general election.
Anwar to take issue to the street
New polls are expected to be held early next year, but although the suspension will bar Anwar from attending parliamentary debates, his party says it will not sideline him or affect its election preparations.
Investors will be keeping a wary eye on the political tension. Several opposition members of parliament raised the possibility of protests.
"The people will not accept this, and we will go to them and explain," said Karpal, who was suspended from Parliament.
Malaysia's stock market has lagged its neighbours such as Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila this year, partly because of political uncertainty, although some money has flowed into government bonds and the ringgit currency.
"This will inflame the political climate given that Anwar and his party will take this issue to the street," said James Chin, a political science professor at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur.
VIDEO | 7.41 mins
Taken from Malaysiakini.
[Malaysiakini] Pandikar accused of conflict of interest
~ Joseph Sipalan
Parliament speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia has been accused of having a conflict of interest by chairing today's tumultuous proceedings in the House, since he also chaired the Rights and Privileges Committee that recommended the suspension of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
The Dewan Rakyat today passed a motion to suspend Anwar (PKR-Permatang Pauh) for six months for his statement linking Prime Minister Najib Razak's '1Malaysia' concept with the 'One Israel' policy mooted by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak.
The motion was passed amidst incessant protests from the opposition bench.
When Parliament began its session at 10.15am, the opposition MPs made numerous attempts to filibuster the motion to suspend Anwar.
It started with Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam, left), who tried to query Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor over his failure to respond to an earlier question involving the troubled Shah Alam Hospital.
This was despite the speaker's order to the minister last Monday to provide an answer.
This led to the opposition bench questioning whether the speaker was able to uphold his own decisions.
The MPs accused Pandikar of failing to take action on Shaziman despite the latter's clear disregard of the speaker's directive to respond to Khalid's question on Monday.
Anwar then rose to challenge Pandikar, saying that if the speaker was willing to let Shaziman's transgression slide, then it would be feasible for the House to allow him to defend himself in Parliament against the charge raised against him.
Following this, Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) said Pandikar had "lost the moral authority" to sit as speaker while the motion against Anwar was being tabled, since he also chaired the Dewan Rakyat's rights and privileges committee.
Responding to Anwar, Pandikar (right) said the opposition leader had been given one week to defend himself, sparking another round of heckling from the opposition bench, led by Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak), who repeatedly wagged his finger at Pandikar while they denied Anwar was given such opportunity.
No reprieve for the chair
The speaker managed to quell the opposition, albeit for a short spell, to respond to Karpal, but the situation again erupted into a frenzy of shouts and protests when Pandikar explained that his position as chairperson of the committee was ex-officio, with no role in the decision-making process or voting.
The heckling continued unabated, forcing the embattled speaker to ask Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz to go ahead and table the motion against Anwar.
At this point, the opposition members pulled out home-made placards, with words and phrases such as 'kangaroo', 'BN sokong Apco' and 'Selamatkan dewan, hidup ketua pembangkang' (Save the House, long live the opposition leader).
The non-stop heckling finally pushed Pandikar to cite rule 44 of the Standing Orders to bar the opposition from debating the motion against Anwar.
The motion was then quickly put to a vote, to which the opposition members protested and started chanting 'bohong! bohong!' (lies! lies!) before staging a walkout en bloc.
Three more senior members suspended
After an opposition walkout, a second motion to suspend Karpal, Azmin and R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang, left) for six months over statements they made in connection with Anwar's case with the rights and privileges committee.
Among those who debated were Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud), Ibrahim Ali (Ind-Pasir Mas), Zulkifli Nordin (Ind-Kulim Bandar Baru) and Wee Choo Keong (Ind-Wangsa Maju) taking full advantage of the opportunity to attack Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat.
When it came time to winding up the debates, Nazri said that since no one from the opposition bench was present, there was no need to deliberate further and moved to open the motion to a vote.
It was quickly passed. With that, the four MPs will now be barred from the next parliamentary session, expected to be held in March next year.
Soon after the vote, the government pushed through two Finance Ministry bills - the first concerning the Customs duties arrangements between Malaysia and other countries with which it has signed free trade agreements.
The second bill covered the increase in excise duty on the sale of cigars in Malaysia.
Parliament was then adjourned sine die.
Taken from Malaysiakini.