Corrected at 11.35pm, 15 June 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, 15 June 2009: Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, along with several other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Members of Parliament (MPs), were ejected from the Dewan Rakyat this morning after they shouted “Bubarkan DUN!” and “Hidup Rakyat!”.
They were also slapped with a two-day suspension by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Nizar, the new MP for Bukit Gantang, was sworn into Parliament at 10am. Following his swearing in, the embattled Perak menteri besar led his Pakatan Rakyat colleagues in shouts for the Perak state assembly to be dissolved.
“I hardly sat in my seat for a few seconds before I was instructed to leave the house,” said Nizar in a press conference after the incident.
According to Nizar, after his swearing in, he sought permission from the speaker “to inform MPs about dissolution of the Perak state assembly.”
A number of PR MPs, and some visitors in the public gallery, had worn headbands that said “Bubar DUN!!”
The MPs refused to remove the headbands when Pandikar asked them to. The speaker then ordered the MPs — namely Nizar, Ngeh Koo Ham (Beruas-DAP), Nga Kor Ming (Taiping-DAP), M Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat-DAP), Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena-PAS), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor-PAS), N Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai-PKR) and Teo Nie Ching (Serdang-DAP) — to leave the house.
(Corrected) Nurul Izzah Anwar (Lembah Pantai-PKR) and Lim Lip Eng (Segambut-DAP) walked out in support.
Khalid Samad (Shah Alam-PAS) telling off parliamentary officers: “[Those wearing headbands] have a right to be here.”
Pandikar later said the ejected MPs were suspended for two days according to Standing Order 44(2).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was in the house during the incident, which lasted for about 25 minutes.
Asked about the motivation behind his action, Nizar said the state assemblies and parliament “must be in harmony”.
“The Perak crisis has persisted for four months, while we can still convene Parliament. Is this a good attitude?” Nizar asked.
Nizar stressed that it was hypocritical that parliament was in session, while the Perak state assembly was still in trouble.
He added that after signing the declaration making him an MP, he was committed to defending the federal constitution.
“The only place we can voice the voice of the people is through parliament,” Ngeh said.
“We hope Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will get the message. Unless there is restoration of democratic rights to the people, there will be no proper government in Perak,” Ngeh added.
During the press conference, parliamentary officers asked non-MPs who were also present to remove their “Bubar DUN!!” headbands or they would be thrown out of parliament.
Khalid Samad (Shah Alam-PAS) told off the officer, saying: “Jangan tarik-tarik! This is not your house. [Those wearing headbands] have a right to be here.”
In a later press conference, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim expressed regret at the speaker’s decision to suspend the MPs.
Anwar “Nizar should have been given the opportunity and the space [to raise the issue],” Anwar said.
He stressed that it was the right of any MP to wear accessories of their choice, including headbands or armbands making political statements.
“You will find that everywhere else in the world they allow this,” Anwar explained.
Anwar revealed that the PR would write to the speaker to ask him to review his decision to suspend the MPs.
“The principle here is that there are too many restrictions that are too harsh. These are restricting the MPs from doing their task,” Anwar said.
Today’s Dewan Rakyat sitting is the first in a meeting that will last until 30 June. It is also the first time Najib is attending Parliament as leader of the government, and former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as a backbencher.