Parliament walkout as Anwar’s likely suspension over APCO draws closer

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

Chaos erupted in Parliament today, leading to a protest walkout by Pakatan Rakyat MPs when Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia refused the opposition’s attempt to discuss Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s impending punishment for his recent APCO-Israel jibe.

Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) had tabled the motion to Parliament earlier but Pandikar had rejected in chambers today, pointing out that the House’s Rights and Privileges Committee had yet to deliver its decision.

The PKR lawmaker however stood up to protest the Speaker’s decision, claiming that the principles of natural justice had been violated as Anwar had not been allowed the right to explain his stand before the committee.

When Pandikar continued to stand by his decision however, a round of arguments from the opposition bench was triggered with a majority of PR lawmakers standing to express their dissatisfaction.

Pandikar declared that those who were standing were committing disruption in the House, adding that it was more appropriate for their arguments to be taken outside.

Azmin, in fierce rebuttal, at one point accused the Speaker of being bought by Umno, sparking off shouts from several Barisan Nasional backbenchers.

After a few minutes of argument, the opposition MPs marched out of the House in protest.

It is expected that Anwar, the Opposition Leader, will face a likely six-month suspension from the Dewan Rakyat after a recommendation is tabled by the Rights and Privileges Committee.

The PR leader had been summoned to the House’s committee on June 8 after he claimed that the supposedly Israeli-linked public relations consultancy APCO Worldwide employed by the Najib administration was behind both the 1 Malaysia and 1 Israel concepts.