KUALA LUMPUR, 2 MARCH 2009: Security has been tightened in Parliament following the fracas on 26 Feb involving DAP chairperson Karpal Singh and a group of individuals.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the move was taken to prevent a repeat of the incident.
“It has never happened before and the speaker has asked for stricter checks on those coming here. People who have no business [to be here] cannot be here,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
He also said the security measures would be made permanent.
A check by Bernama showed that a special lane had been provided for cars carrying Members of Parliament and another for members of the media, officers and visitors. Visitors are also required to obtain entry passes at the main guardhouse and no longer at the Parliament compound.
Mohamed Nazri said the authorities might also look into the possibility of reintroducing the previous practice of issuing 10 passes for each Member of Parliament who would be responsible for their usage.
On the committee set up to investigate claims by Karpal that he was blocked by a group of youths on Thursday, leading to the fracas at the entrance of Parliament, Mohamed Nazri said the results of the investigation would be known during this sitting.
The eight-member committee comprises Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as the chairperson and Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Ronald Kiandee as deputy chairperson. Other members are Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (BN-Bintulu), Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn (BN-Alor Gajah), Datuk Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong), R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang), Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) and Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar (PAS-Tumpat).
Thumbs-up from MPs
Members of Parliament (MP) from both sides of the bench have approved the new security measures.
Rompin MP Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said he was confident that Parliament authorities would be able to handle the matter efficiently.
“It’s important that security be beefed up, but it should not be to the extent of stopping those who have dealings with MPs from coming into Parliament,” he said.
He noted that the parking lots, usually packed with cars, were almost empty. “Maybe this is because previously people were free to come even when they had no business in Parliament,” he said.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, when met by reporters at Parliament lobby, admitted that previous security measures were a bit loose, “but not the security level.”
“In other countries, people are not allowed to bring in their mobile phones.
“When I visited Indian parliament, I had to leave my mobile phone in the bus. The same thing happened when I was at the House of Commons in England … I had to undergo checks each time I went in,” he said.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar also lauded the move.
“If it is implemented efficiently, we can accept it. However, it should not stop those who have business in Parliament, including supporters of MPs, from coming into Parliament,” said the Tumpat MP.
Meanwhile, Karpal said he was still not satisfied with measures taken by the authorities.
“Is it to tighten security? It’s still not enough,” he said.
Karpal said MPs who brought their guests in Parliament should be held responsible for their conduct. — Bernama