KUALA LUMPUR: Attempts by an Opposition lawmaker to play a controversial audio recording during Parliamentary proceedings was rejected by Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (pic), triggering a mini shouting match in the House.
The issue began when Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) wanted to play an audio recording, purportedly resembling Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, during his debate speech on the Royal Address in Parliament on Tuesday (July 21).
Ramkarpal started his speech by giving an analogy of the “Sheraton Move” which caused the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government back in February.
He alleged that the formation of the Perikatan Nasional government was a result of purported enticement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, which was recorded in an audio recording that made its rounds on social media last May.
“I think there is a need for us to know what was said in the recording. It is important that we note what was stated and what was offered in the recording, which I will play now,” he said, before reaching out to his smartphone to play the audio recording.
Azalina subsequently interjected Ramkarpal and questioned the DAP lawmaker under the Standing Orders which allowed for an audio recording to be played during parliamentary proceedings.
Ramkarpal replied: “There is no order which prohibits me from doing so. This is part of my debate.”
Azalina subsequently reiterated her question. “As far as I’m concerned, I have never heard of (this).
Ramkarpal claimed that sometime in 2007, a former Bukit Gelugor MP had played an audio recording during Parliamentary proceedings.
“I’m giving the House the best evidence and I’m playing the recording itself, instead of me repeating or reading from it.”
In response, Azalina said Ramkarpal should have given an early notice that he was about to play an audio recording during Parliamentary proceedings.
“Because I’m quite surprised. This is not a court, this is a debate.”
Ramkarpal said it is important to ascertain whose voice it was in the audio recording to the House.
“The House has a right to hear it. This is not a court. It’s not sub-judice.”
Datuk Mohamad Alamin (BN-Kimanis) subsequently interjected, saying that under Standing Order 36(6), Ramkarpal’s remarks could promote feelings of ill-will.
“You can use your discretion,” said Mohamad Alamin.
Azalina, who appeared incensed, gave Mohamad Alamin an earful as a response.
“Kimanis, you don’t have to teach me how to do my job. Let me respond to Ramkarpal.”
Azalina then repeated her ruling on the audio recording, which Ramkarpal responded and questioned: “What is the fear?”
“There is no such fear. YB (Ramkarpal), you are a practicing advocate,” said Azalina.
Ramkarpal subsequently adhered to Azalina’s ruling, and proceeded with his debate by reading out a transcript of the audio recording.
Shortly after, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau), said that a police report will be lodged against Ramkarpal for purportedly spying on parties.
“What right does he have to spy on us? What right does he have to record when people are discussing?” he questioned.
A shouting match then ensued, where Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) joined in.
In response, Azalina gave a stern order to Shahidan and Abdul Azeez to sit down, as it was Ramkarpal’s turn to speak.
Moments later, Ramkarpal told reporters during a press conference that he regretted Azalina’s ruling, as he maintained that there isn’t a provision under the Standing Orders which prohibits any MPs from playing an audio recording as part of their speech.
“The deputy speaker should have not stopped me from playing that recording.”
“It’s the best evidence. The House should not be deprived from the actual evidence itself. It’s unfortunate that I’m prohibited from doing so,” he added.
The recording,which Ramkarpal referred to, was part of a series of audio recordings published by a pro Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Facebook page, as Bersatu is currently embroiled in a civil war between the nonagenarian and Muhyiddin.