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Nine MPs missing in Parliament

 | November 6, 2012

Their absence saw the Dewan Rakyat skipping through their queries, which the Deputy House Speaker said was purely a coincidence.

KUALA LUMPUR: Nine MPs were missing from the Dewan Rakyat during the question segment today.

The segment – which occupies the first 90 minutes of the day – was breezed through by Deputy House Speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to the amusement of MPs present.

The missing MPs were Alexander Nanta Linggi (PBB-Kapit), Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang), Mohd Hayati Othman (PAS-Pendang), Sapawi Ahmad (Umno-Sipitang), Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Bandar Kuching), Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Umno-Lenggong), Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing (Independent-Tuaran), Billy Abit Joo (PRS-Hulu Rajang) and Mujahid Yusof Rawa (PAS-Parit Buntar).

At the same time, Parliament was not empty. More than 40 MPs were seated in the House at the time, including Mukhriz Mahathir (Umno-Jerlun), MP M Saravanan (MIC-Tapah) and Fong Kui Lun (DAP-Bukit Bintang).

Their absence allowed Wan Junaidi to advance to question number 16; a rarity for the segment, which sees various ministries queried by MPs.

In order for a question to be answered by a certain ministry, the querying MP has to be present in the Dewan Rakyat.

Less than 10 of the 40-odd questions present in Parliament’s Order Paper are answered everyday. After the 90 minutes are up, unanswered questions are forwarded to querying MPs in writing.

Speaking to reporters later, Wan Junaidi said that the absence may have been due to an oversight by the parliamentary secretariat.

He said that Parliament officials usually sent text message reminders to MPs, telling them about the questions that were to be answered in the House the next day.

“… But it so happened that we didn’t send the call…,” he said.

He did not say why Parliament officials failed to remind the MPs.

He also said the absence of the MPs was merely a coincidence, adding that some MPs such as Linggi were not around because they had to attend to matters in their respective constituencies.

“Teo was late, she didn’t tell me… But if you look at Billy Abit, he was not in because he couldn’t come, something happened, flooding and all that kind of stuff…”

Wan Junaidi did not appear disappointed however, saying that the absences allowed other MPs to have their questions answered in the Dewan Rakyat.

Attempts to contact Dewan Rakyat secretary Roosme Hamzah were unsuccessful.


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