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Racket in Parliament

March 22, 2010

Anwar has 1 week to clarify Apco statement
By Husna Yusop and Hemananthani Sivanandam

KUALA LUMPUR (March 22, 2010): Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Permatang Pauh) has been given a week by the Dewan Rakyat to clarify his statement last week alleging Apco Worldwide of advising the Prime Minister on the 1Malaysia concept.

Barisan Nasional MP for Kota Belud Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who raised a motion on this in the Dewan this morning, called for Anwar to be referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee for making the statement on Wednesday which he said was misleading and had been denied by Apco.

He said this was also stated in a written reply from the Prime Minister’s office to a question from Amran Ab Ghani (PKR-Tanah Merah) on Thursday.

“This must be corrected. Otherwise, it will continue to become a point in the opposition’s ceramah and on the Internet. If he does not want to correct it, the government should issue a motion to refer him to the Privileges Committee,” he said.

His statement was however interrupted by opposition MPs like Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) who said the motion was brought up without a notice.

Others like N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) and Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) were angry because Abdul Rahman said Anwar, in his enthusiasm to become the premier, had gone to the extent of tarnishing the good name of the King.

After the motion was seconded by a BN MP, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz stood up and said the government viewed the matter seriously.

As Anwar was not present, Nazri then gave him a week to clarify but his words were drowned by the opposition who said Nazri did not have the platform to stand up.

“Is this a debate? Can we debate this motion?” Lim asked, followed by Fuziah Salleh (PKR-Kuantan) who asked for the provision Nazri used to justify his action.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee then said Nazri was just explaining on the part of the government, which had also agreed with the contradictions brought up by Anwar.

“Let’s just wait for an explanation from Permatang Pauh later,” he said, to protests from Mohd Yusmadi Yusoff (PKR-Balik Pulau) who said there was no contradiction in Anwar’s statement.

He said Nazri in his written reply to Amran had said “the government did not engage foreign or local communications company to promote 1Malaysia specifically but Apco was appointed to implement communications as a whole.”

“This is a lie!” Mohd Yusmadi said. Lim then said Nazri’s and Abdul Rahman’s statements should be expunged.

However, Kiandee said the House should give some time for Anwar to explain himself but Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor) said the motion should be opened for debate.

Kiandee said he was not making any decision on this as it was the government who would decide later whether to call for a motion to refer Anwar to the committee.

R. Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) then said Abdul Rahman had confused the House because it was a fact that Apco had been hired by the government.

However, Kiandee said the matter should be put to rest as it has already been resolved.

Later in the day, Anwar called for a press conference at the lobby and said he has no qualms about explaining his remarks over the ‘1Israel’ issue which has been creating unrest in Parliament since last week.

Anwar said he would also seek an explanation from the Speaker on what is required by him, as well as explain in details on the issue.

Anwar however urged the government to explain the role of Apco Worldwide, an international public relations firm, on its involvement in the government’s communication plans.

“I would like to call upon the government and the PM to explain the role of Apco, the amount of money paid and their recommendations to the various ministries particularly the strategic ministries involved in IT, communications and Information,” said Anwar. — theSun

Shouting match after motion to refer Anwar
by Husna Yusop and Hemananthani Sivanandam

KUALA LUMPUR (March 22, 2010):
A MOTION to refer Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to the Privileges Committee turned into a verbal war with MPs yelling at each other as Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee tried to calm the situation.

The MPs brought up a number of issues, forcing Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Ind-Pasir Mas) to delay by 70 minutes from continuing with his debate on the Royal Address, which he began last week.

Ibrahim almost lost his temper when he threw away the papers on his table after his attempt to resume his debate was interrupted by some MPs who felt the earlier issues had not been resolved.

It all started with a motion called by Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) to refer Anwar to the Privileges Committee for saying public relations firm Apco Worldwide had been hired to advise the prime minister on the 1Malaysia concept.

After several interruptions and argument, Kiandee agreed with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that Anwar should be given a week to clarify himself.

This was followed by a point raised by Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PKR-Machang) that, based on the provisions of the Standing Order used by Abdul Rahman, Nazri should also be brought to the committee for misleading the House last year.

Saifuddin said Nazri has used a repealed law in his speech when winding up the debates on the 2010 Budget touching on the oil royalty issue requested by the Kelantan state government.

“When taking part in the debate, he (Nazri) spoke about the three nautical miles border, using an ordinance which he, being the minister in charge of laws, was aware it has been repealed and cannot be used as a point in the House,” Saifuddin said.

“At that moment, the minister knew it cannot be used but he continued doing it. This is clearly an act of misleading the House. Is this not inappropriate?”

Nazri replied that whatever he said in the House was never with an intention to mislead the MPs. As an “anak jantan” (gentleman), he was willing to be investigated.

“To check the actual situation, we need to refer to the Hansard. But, since I am anak jantan, I have no problem with that. But the ‘anak betina’ over there, I don’t know why, is too afraid to be investigated,” he said.

This prompted the women opposition MPs to shout at him and call for a retraction as they said Nazri had insinuated them.

Nazri said they should not feel angry as he was not referring to the women MPs “because jantan and betina are terms used for animals”.

Kiandee then said it was clear Nazri had no intention to insult the women MPs as he was using the terms to mean “whether one is brave or not”.

Despite trying to put the matter to rest, Kiandee was stopped by Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohd Ghazali (PAS-Titiwangsa), who asked whether it can be made a ruling that in future the word “betina” can be used as an analogy to mean coward and action will not be taken against those using it.

Kiandee said he would have to determine the situation based on its context. — theSun

Motion to refer Anwar to privileges committee

KUALA LUMPUR (March 22, 2010):
The Dewan Rakyat sitting this morning turned chaotic when the Barisan Nasional MPs called for a motion to refer Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee for making misleading statements about public relations consultancy firm Apco Worldwide’s involvement in 1Malaysia.Ibrahim Ali (Ind-Pasir Mas) debate on the Royal Address was held back by more than an hour while the deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee tried to bring order to the House after Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) moved the motion.

Anwar was then given a week go explain his statement associating Apco Worldwide with the 1Malaysia concept, failing which he would be referred to the privileges committee.

Anwar had, in his debate on March 17, linked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s “1 Malaysia” concept to a previous campaign called “1 Israel” which he claimed was the brainchild of Apco.

In a statement the next day, Apco denied the claims and said the 1Malaysia concept was conceived by Najib prior to the government of Malaysia retaining the consultancy firm.

“Apco had no role of any kind in creating the 1Malaysia concept, which was fully formed, and made public, prior to Apco’s engagement.

“It is also incorrect that Apco represented the government of Israel or Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as has been alleged in Malaysia’s Parliament.

“At no time has Apco been involved with public relations campaign relating to a “One-Israel” concept. The statement in Malaysia’s Parliament that Apco was involved in such a campaign is false,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, the ongoing first meeting of the third session of the 12th Parliament will be extended by four sitting days to April 22 to complete all matters pending.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee informed the House before the start of question time today that Najib had requested Parliament for the extension.

The Dewan Rakyat was originally scheduled to sit from March 15 to April 15. — theSun

>> More to follow

Updated: 02:48PM Mon, 22

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