KUALA LUMPUR, 25 Nov 2008: Datuk Seri Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz will not be referred to Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee for making a false statement in the Dewan Rakyat.
This is because the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department did not deliberately mislead the House, Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar ruled today.
The decision drew the ire of Opposition MPs to the point Wan Zunaidi had to suspend Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) for two days for creating a ruckus.
“I arrived at my decision based on three factors, namely if the statement by the minister was misleading; if the minister knew it was misleading and thirdly if he had intended to mislead the House.
“My conclusion is that the minister made an error on facts and in my opinion, it is not appropriate for him to be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee,” said Wan Junaidi.
Dissatisfied opposition members, led by Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), and Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian), wanted Mohammed Nazri to apologise to the House for the mistake.
This led to a war of words between the Opposition MPs and Backbenchers who asked Wan Zunaidi to ignore their demand as the decision by the Deputy Speaker was final.
Gobind, who was seated opposite Mohammed Nazri, then got into the act and made a direct demand to the minister to apologise, claiming the Deputy Speaker seemed bent on protecting him.
When he repeatedly disregarded Wan Zunaidi’s order to retract what he had said, Wan Zunaidi initially ordered that he be suspended for four days.
However, Gobind was defiant and refused to leave the House.
With the situation getting out of hand, Wan Junaidi then decided that Gobind be suspended for two days.
Gobind then left the House.
Speaking to reporters at Parliament’s lobby later, Mohammed Nazri said there was no necessity for him to apologise as he had clarified that he had made a mistake in the matter.
Nazri, when briefing the House during an earlier sitting on ex-gratia payments made by the government to judges sacked during the 1988 judicial crisis, had inadvertently told the MPs that the judges were asked to go on early retirement and were not sacked. — Bernama