KUALA LUMPUR: Several DAP MPs today staged another walkout after getting into a row with Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee over parliamentary immunity.
The lawmakers who included DAP Supremo Lim Kit Siang, Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen, had earlier stood up to defend Umno MP Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.
This came following reports that Husni has been called by the police to have his statement recorded for allegedly revealing government secrets on 1MDB.
The altercation saw Kit Siang, Guan Eng, Chong and Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) calling for the Deputy Speaker to rule that Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar by initiating an investigation on Husni, had acted against the spirit of parliamentary democracy.
Chong had even cited Articles 63(2) and 63 (4) of the Federal Constitution which provided the MPs with legal and civil immunity over what was said in the Dewan Rakyat, except on offences under the Sedition Act 1948.
Chong said that Husni who merely questioned government decisions regarding state-owned 1MDB did not in any way touch on seditious matters.
Ronald responded by saying that he would not make such a ruling because Khalid as the nation’s top cop, was only acting in accordance with set rules such as the need to investigate reports lodged.
He also said that he could not be expected to know the Parliamentary Standing Order at the back of his hand.
“There is a police report, the police have a responsibility to investigate. (And) Parliamentary immunity is not absolute, it is subjected to the Sedition Act.”
A shouting match then ensued with Azeez Abdul Rahim (Umno-Baling) saying there was a police report lodged that prompted the calls for an investigation.
Khalid at one point stood up and stated that several police reports were also lodged against Malaysian Official One (MO1) who the United States Department of Justice claimed had received money allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.
“So why is the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) not investigating MO1?
“But let us clear the air over what constitutes parliamentary immunity, so when we speak (on certain matters), we will not be treated the way we are being treated now (being subject to police investigation over what was said in the Dewan),” he told the deputy speaker.
Ronald however reiterated his stand and refused to make a ruling. This then led to the opposition MPs walking out from the Dewan Rakyat just half an hour before the lunch break.
At a press conference afterwards, Kit Siang said he had been in the same predicament as Husni, but parliamentary immunity spared him from a police probe.
“Police wanted to probe my speech, but I told them there is a parliamentary privilege committee that will investigate my speech.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, former Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal and former Second Finance Minister Husni, had all touched on 1MDB matters in the House last week.
The IGP later revealed that the trio would be investigated for allegedly breaking the oath of secrecy they undertook when assuming their respective Cabinet posts.
Husni is scheduled to have his statement recorded by Bukit Aman police this afternoon for questioning the purpose of 1MDB’s existence and for saying repercussions from the 1MDB fallout could haunt Malaysia.