Tuesday June 26, 2007
Barisan reps stage walkout
By IAN MCINTYRE
KOTA BARU: All the 22 representatives of the Barisan Nasional walked out of the Kelantan State Assembly during the morning session after the Speaker rejected their notice of resolutions.
Datuk Wan Abd Rahim Wan Abdullah defended his action, saying it was within the provisions of the assembly’s Standing Orders and other regulations under the parliamentary Standing Orders.
“Ultimately, the Speaker has the vested power to reject and all House members must obey,” he told reporters later.
The Barisan had sent five resolutions, as written notices, on issues which included environmental degradation in Lojing Highlands, alleged shifting of voters and the taxation policies of the Kota Baru Municipal Council.
The other two resolutions pertained to the finances of Air Kelantan Sdn Bhd and the kifalah insurance scheme for senior citizens.
Wan Abd Rahim said if the opposition members had felt the five resolutions were of public interest and an emergency need, they should have first discussed the issues with him in his chambers.
“None of you came. I am trying to be fair to all sides but you gave me no choice but to invoke my powers,” he added.
Most of those who walked out, however, returned to their seats in the afternoon but continued to heckle and challenge the Speaker.
It was the second time since 2004 that the Barisan – which has only a seat less than PAS in the 45-seat assembly – had staged a walkout.
Wan Abd Rahim had to often ask the opposition backbenchers to “please sit down” and also remind them that “it is my right to discharge my powers.”
He told the House that when the Barisan was in control of Kelantan from 1978 to 1990, only one resolution from PAS was accepted.
At a press conference after the walkout, opposition leader Datuk Seri Annuar Musa (BN – Kok Lanas) accused the Speaker of being undemocratic.
He said the Speaker did not approve any of their resolutions which were tabled for debate or mentioned in the House since 2004.
He also said that ample notification was given but Wan Abd Rahim refused to give way.
Annuar, who stayed away from the entire proceedings yesterday, said the state government was afraid that the opposition would disclose issues which would undermine the administration.