Wednesday, April 07, 2010

No disciplinary action against Mahfuz over 'Apco-Umno' chants

In an about turn of event, the Dewan Rakyat has today reversed a decision to refer Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) to the Rights and Privileges Committee for his "Umno Apco" chant yesterday. The decision was made following Mahfuz's explanation that he had no intention to mislead the House when he uttered the two words that were deemed "unparliamentary".

This was despite Mahfuz's earlier clarification that Umno is linked to the Apco Worldwide, the public relations firm responsible to improve Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's administration's image.

"Umno is a political party. Apco is a company in United States which has former Israeli officers. It also has a contract with the government led by Barisan Nasional, whose backbone is Umno," he said.

In hearing this, Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia revealed to the House that he has called in Mahfuz and the parliamentarian who submitted a motion against him yesterday, Ismail Mohamad Kasim (BN-Kuala Krau), to his chamber this morning to clear the air.

"I feel it should not have happened and I hope this is the the last time. I want to ask Pokok Sena if he had bad intentions when he said those words," said Pandikar.

To which, Mahfuz replied: "The matter does not arise. I never had the intention to mislead the House".

At this point, Pandikar accepted Mahfuz's explanation asked Ismail if he could retract his motion against the PAS leader.

"Let us all learn from this incident. When you debate, please control yourselves, be disciplined and don't use unparliamentary words and respect each other. To drag a member to the committee is a big matter. It relates to the integrity of the members," he said.

Ismail then stood up and said he accepted Mahfuz's explanation.

"I hope Pokok Sena and other members don't repeat such words. Since Pokok Sena has explained, I propose to the House that I am retracting the motion I had made yesterday," he said.

The motion was then decided through a voice vote, where 'yea' was louder than 'nay'.

Deputy Speaker Wan Junaidi Jaafar yesterday allowed the MPs to take a voice vote on Ismail motion to refer Mahfuz to the committee against strong opposition protest.

Ismail had urged action to be taken under Standing Order 36 (2) to refer Mahfuz to the committee for "misleading the House".

He was angry when Mahfuz, who is PAS vice-president, said tongue-in-cheek against his Umno counterparts, "Umno Apco, Apco Umno".

The PAS man had said it repeatedly when the House was in the process of bloc-voting for the Supplementary Bill under the committee stage.

by FMT

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