KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh lamented the decision by Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said preventing him from playing an audio clip of a person alleged to be Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, plotting the infamous ‘Sheraton Move’, which led to the Pakatan Harapan government’s (PH) downfall.
In a press conference today, the prominent lawyer said that there are no provisions in the Standing Orders which prevents him from doing so, nor any provision which requires him to notify the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and his deputies of his intentions.
“I am not aware of any provision which states we have to inform the Speakers of the contents of our speech before we speak in Parliament.
“So as far as I’m concerned, there is no need for me to inform the deputy Speaker to avoid surprise on her part.
“I regret the Speaker’s actions in barring me from playing the recording clip. I should be allowed to play the recording,” he told a press conference in the Parliament’s media centre later.
Ramkarpal was barred from playing aloud in Parliament today the leaked controversial audio recording that purportedly sheds light on a furtive meeting in February that led to the eventual alliance of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and its then-nemesis Umno.
He cited a 2007 parliamentary precedent set by his father, the late Karpal Singh, who played an audio clip concerning corruption in the judiciary in an attempt to persuade Azalina but was disallowed.
Azalina said she could not check the precedent at the time as Ramkarpal did not give prior notice that he wished to play the recording.
She also dismissed an objection by Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin who suggested that Ramkarpal had improper motives.
However, Ramkarpal was allowed to read aloud a transcript that had been well reported in the press on May 30 when the audio recording was first leaked on social media.
“We want to know whether it is true that this is the voice of Pagoh,” Ramkarpal asked after he finished, referring to the Pagoh MP Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also prime minister and the current president and acting chairman of Bersatu, as well as the MP for Pagoh.
“So as far as I’m concerned, this is part of my debate. The issue which arises in my debate is whose voice is it in that recording. Not so much the content of the recording, but whose voice it was. That was the reason. That’s why it was important for that recording to be played in the Dewan Rakyat, so that the Dewan Rakyat has the opportunity of telling whose voice that was,” he told reporters during the press conference.
He said he only wanted to play the recording as it was relevant to his speech and the “best evidence”, adding that the Dewan Rakyat should not be “deprived of the actual evidence itself.”
A rapid series of political events from February led to the eventual collapse of the then PH government.
In the weeks that followed, several recordings were leaked on the internet purportedly of a Bersatu meeting involving co-founder and Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other leaders.
In one of the leaked clips, a voice resembling Muhyiddin was heard saying that Dr Mahathir could be entrusted with the mandate to pull Bersatu out of the PH coalition, and that his decision cannot be disputed.
In the second leaked clip, a voice resembling Dr Mahathir was heard making a plea not to force him to go against his principles.