GEORGE TOWN: Veteran politicians and civil activists want fines to be introduced in Parliament to check indecent behaviour in the august House.
Following the ruckus yesterday after Dewan Rakyat reconvened for a sitting until Aug 27, veteran Penang Gerakan leader Wong Mun Hoe said war of words and snide remarks are common in Parliament.
“But the Parliament is sitting through global crises due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused untold damage to lives and livelihood,” he said.
Wong called for emphasis on addressing the plight of the people. It would be good if the new Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun would penalise parliamentarians who invoke the Standing Orders and Code of Conduct or Ethics, Wong said.
His suggestion has won support from his political opponents in Penang as well.
Former PKR deputy secretary-general S. Raveentharan said Azhar’s first order of business is to restore order in the House but it cannot be done if the MPs do not respect his seat and standing.
“Punish them accordingly with fines and suspension to get the message across that parliamentarians must behave civilly, and not as naughty schoolchildren, who constantly needs a headmaster to punish them,” he said.
He said that Baling MP Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim should be reprimanded sternly for using the words “gelap (dark) and “bedak” (powder) on Kasturi P. Patto, the Batu Kawan MP.
Penang PKR vice-chairman Jason Ong Khan Lee said it is now time to impose fines of hefty sums to ensure that parliamentarians behave.
“They must argue decently and with facts instead of trying to confuse the masses with cynical remarks bordering on sexism and racialism,” he said.
Ong agreed with Wong’s contention that a penalty be imposed.