KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat’s final day of debate on the Covid-19 bill was highlighted by a heated argument between the government and the opposition on a controversial issue – a federal minister’s trip to Turkey.
The tension had been building steadily up to a boil since this morning with the opposition repeatedly demanding answers to the double standards in punishment between the rakyat and a minister in contravening movement control rules.
This continued after lunch when Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) criticised the previous PH government for failing to “manage” the palm oil industry during its time.
Shahidan had said the commodity prices had dropped last year compared to now.
RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) stood up to say that Shahidan was confusing the house as many of the ministers handling the country’s economy are siding with the government.
“Ask Gombak (Mohamed Azmin Ali) who was involved with the country’s economy,” he said.
This saw Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) defending the growth of the palm oil sector under Perikatan Nasional.
Rayer told Azeez not to interrupt. “You are a thief. Sit down.”
Azeez responded: “Did I steal your father’s money? Tell me now.”
The mikes were muted to calm the situation.
The next MP to debate was Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Ind-Muar) who spoke on the double standards practised by the present government.
Pointing out that members of the public have been fined and jailed for not wearing masks or for not following the mandatory quarantine, he demanded an explanation for the discrepancy in implementing the law for VIPs.
Other MPs urged Speaker Azhar Harun to ban Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali – who did not follow quarantine rules – from the house until his case was over.
Rayer reminded Azhar that he had instructed MPs recently that those with Covid-19 cases in their constituencies should undergo swab tests. He said Khairuddin was clearly breaching Covid-19 laws.
Azhar clarified that Khairuddin went to Turkey on July 3, which was before his (Azhar’s) appointment as speaker on July 13.
“My position is that I don’t have the power to instruct this or that. I can only instruct based on the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders,” he said.
Because of that, he said, he had advised MPs with Covid-19 cases in their areas to undergo swabs, and not instructed them.–FMT