War of words in Dewan Rakyat over ‘we welcome war’ remarks

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat descended into chaos today with some MPs saying they were ready for “war” and others protesting this, resulting in the speaker having to step in to put out the flame.

It started when Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob touched on DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s “declaration of war” statement over the Umno-PAS formal alliance. Suddenly, someone shouted “we welcome war if they want war”.

After much confusion as to who had cried for war, Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Bharu) repeated it. This time, several other MPs echoed in affirmation.

RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) and Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah) were outraged and urged Takiyuddin to withdraw his statement, resulting in a heated verbal exchange between both sides of the house.

Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof then reminded the MPs to not raise issues which would incite racial conflict.

“Such remarks are unparliamentary. There is no need to support the statement or to further fan the flames,” he said, calling on Ismail Sabri to continue with other points.

Last Wednesday, Lim issued a statement in Mandarin urging MCA to immediately leave Barisan Nasional because Umno and PAS were now “declaring war” on non-Muslims.

He issued a correction several hours later, which replaced the phrase “declaring war” with”targeting”.

Ismail Sabri (BN-Bera) was questioning if Lim’s statement was meant to provoke non-Malays to declare war on Malays.

“If non-Malays act on this and declare war on Malays, for sure an untoward incident can happen, such as the May 13 tragedy,” he said.

He also urged Lim (PH-Bagan) to retract his statement, and similarly for Nga Kor Ming (PH-Teluk Intan) to withdraw his claim that the country would become like Afghanistan under Taliban rule if the Umno-PAS alliance were to come into power.

Later in the afternoon, more chaos erupted in the house, this time in a round of verbal exchange between Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) and Nga, who was presiding as deputy speaker.

Nga was calling for order in the house during Rayer’s turn to speak when Tajuddin repeatedly mentioned the word Taliban, in reference to remarks made by Nga previously.

The deputy speaker then reminded Tajuddin to mind his manners as members of the public were watching his conduct, to which the latter accused him of being biased, unfair and trying to show off.

Nga subsequently said that Tajuddin was behaving like a “samseng” (gangster).

“This is the second time I am reprimanding you. You want to show your masculinity. It is very disappointing. “You are asking to be ejected (from the house). People can see your character,” Nga said.

The Teluk Intan MP proceeded to inform the house that so long he was a deputy speaker of the house, he would carry out his duties in a strict, fair, just and trustworthy manner.

“When I wear the robe, I am the deputy speaker. But if you want to accuse me, by all means, we can debate outside. Don’t slander me unless you have proof.

“You said your statement is based on media reports. The speaker already made a ruling on that. Don’t make reckless accusations. Do not invite unrest and challenge the authority of this chair,” he added.