KUALA LUMPUR: A Barisan Nasional (BN) MP was suspended from the Dewan Rakyat for two days after linking the holy ash worn by RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) on his forehead to the ashes of communist leader Chin Peng.
The chaos began when Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) asked Rayer if he was wearing Chin Peng’s ashes on his forehead.
“Are those ashes the ashes of Chin Peng?” he said.
He continued asking Rayer this as the Dewan Rakyat debate shifted to the subject of the 12 individuals detained for alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group.
Rayer then told Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof that it was an insult to the Hindu community.
“Ask him to apologise,” he added. “The YB from BN insulted the Hindus.”
He was supported by Sivakumar Naidu (PH-Batu Gajah) who agreed that Tajuddin’s remarks were an insult to the Hindu religion.
Several Umno MPs then told Rayer not to link Tajuddin’s statement to BN. Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) also asked Rayer to retract his statement linking Tajuddin’s remarks to BN.
But Rayer said he would not retract his statement as Tajuddin had criticised his religion. “Speaker you are not defending me,” he said.
The holy ash is made from the homa or sacrificial fire in which special wood is offered together with ghee and other herbs.
Tajuddin subsequently retracted his remark, but said that he was merely asking a question.
Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) then asked why Rayer had been asked to retract his statement when, in fact, Tajuddin had mocked Rayer over the holy ash worn on his forehead.
He said he was raising the issue based on Standing Order 36 (6) which states that no member shall impute improper motives to any other member.
Turning to M Saravanan (BN-Tapah) he said: “Tapah is here. You are also a Hindu. Will you not defend Rayer?”
Saravanan replied he was against anyone bringing up such issues, adding that he was not in the Dewan at that time.
Ramkarpal then said: “But you are now here, you know what was said.”
By this time, some of the BN MPs were expressing frustration with Rayer, calling him “samseng” and saying, “podah” (Tamil for get lost”).
At one point, Tajuddin said: “Birch pun kena bunuh (British resident JWW Birch was killed in Pasir Salak)”.
Ramkarpal urged the speaker to take action against Tajuddin, after which the speaker suspended Tajuddin for two days.
When instructed to leave the hall, Tajuddin laughed and proposed a longer suspension period.
“Thank you, Datuk Seri Speaker,” he said. “Just as well, I have an Umno general assembly to attend. You should give me four days,” he added, urging Ariff to suspend Rayer as well.
Ariff also suspended Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong for ignoring his instructions not to continue raising the matter.