24 November 2010

DSAI mungkin 'digantung' bulan depan

Gambar : TMI

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — Barisan Nasional (BN) is expected to use its majority to strike a blow against its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) rivals ahead of possible snap polls next year, by suspending Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from Parliament next month.

The Malaysian Insider understands that on the final day of the ongoing parliamentary session this December 15, the opposition leader will be made to answer for his APCO-Israel jibe from earlier this year, under recommendation from the House’s powerful Rights and Privileges Committee.

The committee is expected to recommend a suspension order against PR’s de facto leader, said to be a thorn in the side of the ruling government which suffered severe losses in the last general election.

In Election 2008, Anwar had led the opposition pact in sweeping up five states and denying BN its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

It is believed that Anwar will be suspended for at least six months from the House but will continue to receive his MP’s salary.

Najib was initially leery over the move to suspend Anwar.The Malaysian Insider understands, however, that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had initially been against the idea of meting out such a punishment to the opposition leader for fear of public backlash, but had relented after being convinced by his BN aides.

The prime minister is also scheduled to meet with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia over the issue today.

The move is believed to be a strategic attempt by the ruling BN coalition to throw the opposition momentarily off guard ahead of an expected general election, believed likely to be held in the first quarter of next year.

It is also believed to be a form of reprisal by the federal government, after similar moves by PR administrations in Selangor and Penang to suspend BN opposition leaders from its state assemblies.

Last July, the Selangor state assembly had suspended former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and four other BN assemblymen from the House for one year and six months each, respectively. Their privileges as assemblymen were also revoked for the period of their suspension.

According to news reports, the state assembly’s Rights and Privileges committee had recommended Khir’s suspension for failing to attend the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency’s (Selcat) inquiry for allegedly making disparaging remarks against the committee in the media.

The other four BN assemblymen — Datuk Warno Dogol (Sabak Bernam), Datuk Mohd Idris Abu Bakar (Hulu Bernam), Mohd Isa Abu Kassim (Batang Kali) and Datuk Marsum Paing (Dengkil) — were also suspended for the same reason.

Earlier this month in Penang, state opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim from Umno, who is also the Penaga assemblyman, was suspended for six months from the assembly after he refused to retract allegedly seditious remarks regarding the May 13 racial clash in 1969.

His suspension, effective August 17 to February next year, had also sparked a walkout by all the 11 BN assemblymen in the state legislature.

BN state opposition leaders had been suspended in Selangor and Penang. The lawmaker had apparently, during a speech to the assembly by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on May 7, warned of a likely repeat of the May 13 racial riots and had suggested the armed forces take over the functions of the police if the latter had lost the confidence of the people.

Azhar was referred to the assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee after a motion tabled by DAP’s Jagdeep Singh Deo was accepted. The suspension order was subsequently conveyed to the state assembly and allowed.

In Anwar’s case, the fiery opposition 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.

His remarks had dominated the previous parliamentary session earlier this year and had been used incessantly by opposition leaders as campaign fodder during the Hulu Selangor and Sibu by-elections.

Anwar’s hearing before the committee was, however, put off when the leader insisted on being accompanied by legal counsel — former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan.

He was later allowed to be accompanied by Ambiga under strict instructions that the latter would not be allowed to speak during the proceedings.

Despite this, Anwar’s hearing was put off and the matter has not been raised since then. - TMI

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