The information ministry will review its decision to telecast ‘live’ the first 30 minutes of the daily Parliament sitting, after a noisy session this morning that was dominated by shouting matches.
“Very disappointing,” Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said when asked about the conduct in the House on the first day of the proceedings of the 12th session.
“We will reconsider whether the ‘live’ telecast should be continued because, right on the first day, it was grossly abused by the MPs,” he said.
Earlier this month, the government decided to telecast the first 30 minutes of the Question session via state-owned RTM. It was to have considered extending the telecast to the full 90 minutes of question-time at a later date.
Ahmad Shabery blamed the chaotic session today on MPs, especially those from the opposition benches. He argued that they were trying to “play to the gallery”.
“They tend to do that when they know their supporters are watching,” he noted.
The start of Question-time was delayed for 20 minutes when opposition MPs complained they had been subjected to unfair treatment in the way the questions were arranged in the Order Paper.
They also continued complaining about BN MPs who had not raised their right hand during the oath-taking ceremony yesterday.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had to struggle to restore calm in the House a few times and to enable Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to respond to the first question.
Asked for their comments later, the BN and opposition MPs pointed fingers at one another. They were divided as to whether the ‘live’ telecast should be continued.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Rais Yatim said the session was noisy because MPs were “trying to be champions”, knowing that the session was being broadcast ‘live’.
BN Backbenchers Club deputy head Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) put the blame on the opposition, but said the telecast should be continued.
“It’s good, it should remain,” said the MP, who had locked horns with Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) this morning. He had called Karpal a ‘”big monkey” after the DAP politician had branded him “Bigfoot”.
Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) said the shouting matches would not have taken place if the proceedings had been conducted in a fairer manner. He disagreed that the ‘live’ telecast should be discontinued.
“(Receiving) the ‘live’ telecast is the right of Malaysians; (telecasting) it should not be the prerogative of the government,” said the veteran politician.
Echoing the sentiment, Nasharuddin Mat Isa (PAS-Bachok) called for ‘live’ telecast to be extended from the current 30 minutes to the full Question session.
To date, only the tabling of the annual Budget speech has been telecast ‘live’.