Biased Speaker’ remark leads to war of words in Dewan Rakyat

Yeo Bee Yin (File photo)

KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition member’s remark labelling the Speaker as biased led to a 10-minute war of words in the Dewan Rakyat today during the winding up of the debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address for the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry.

Things started to heat up when Yeo Bee Yin (PH-Bakri) suddenly stood up to defend herself against an allegation by Datuk Salim Sharif (BN-Jempol) that four of the five successful bidders in the Third Round of Large-Scale Solar Project (LSS3) were foreign companies.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, however, did not allow Yeo to speak and asked the minister, Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, to continue with his winding-up speech.

“This is not a debate session, YB Bakri (Yeo). This (session) is for posing questions to the minister (Shamsul Anuar)…let the minister answer,” said Mohd Rashid.

However, Yeo, who is former science, technology, environment and climate change minister, insisted on replying to Salim’s allegation and even insinuated that Mohd Rashid was biased for preventing her from addressing the issue.

“Is the Speaker biased…where the minister dared not answer…is this fair?” said Yeo.

Mohd Rashid, however, dismissed her allegation, saying: “I’m being fair (in deciding) that the floor (now) belongs to the minister…I said the minister will give way later to another member to speak.”

At this juncture, Willie Anak Mongin (Bersatu-Puncak Borneo), followed by Awang Hashim (PAS-Pendang), stood up citing Standing Order 36 to ask Yeo to withdraw her statement.

But Yeo said she would only withdraw her statement if she was given the opportunity to interrupt the minister’s speech.

The exchange of words between Yeo and Mohd Rashid continued, forcing the Deputy Speaker to give Yeo three warnings to withdraw her remark about him being biased.

“I ask YB Bakri to withdraw (the statement). If not, I would have to ask the sergeant at arms to do his duty. You’ve been standing there without my permission.

“YB Bakri, this is the third warning to withdraw the statement unconditionally,” he added.

Yeo then withdrew her statement and Mohd Rashid asked the minister to continue with his winding up.