Citing ‘sight problem’, Dewan Rakyat Speaker leaves ‘middle finger’ decision to Parliament committee

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said he was unable to make a ruling on the matter due to a ‘sight problem’ that he is facing at the moment. — Bernama pic
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said he was unable to make a ruling on the matter due to a ‘sight problem’ that he is facing at the moment. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has called for MPs who are unhappy with yesterday’s ‘middle finger’ incident to file a motion with the Parliament committee.

Azhar, who did not make ruling on the matter, said he was unable to do so due to a “sight problem” that he is facing at the moment.

“Actually, I did not make a ruling (yesterday) because I was not sure what had happened.

“Honestly, I didn’t see it. I have a sight problem this week,” he told the Dewan Rakyat when asked if a decision had been made in relation to Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Willie Mongin showing his middle finger to the Opposition bloc.

The incident that sparked an uproar in Parliament yesterday saw Willie making the vulgar gesture twice after delivering his ministry’s winding-up speech, which drew an outcry from Opposition MPs who called him “traitor” in Malay while thumping their hands on their tables in objection.

They were unhappy when he did not answer Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahmad, who had asked if the government would consider imposing a windfall tax for the palm oil industry.

“After listening to his (Willie) explanation, and last night asking him for a detailed explanation, he denied doing such a thing.

“And after also watching the video which went viral, and even looking at it in slow motion, I still cannot verify if the incident did take place,” said Azhar.

He then told MPs who are unhappy with the alleged incident to file a motion with the Parliament committee, before whom the deputy minister can then defend himself.

“I wholeheartedly cannot verify if the incident took place and also there are a lot of conflicting facts from both sides. So how do you want me to make a ruling?

“So that’s my decision,” said Azhar.

Other Opposition MPs have suggested that Azhar allow the closed-circuit television (CCTV) recording to be played in Parliament as well as call for witnesses to come forward in light of his inability to verify the incident on his own.

Some also urged Azhar to seek clarification from Umno’s Parit Sulong MP Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad who was seated near Willie, and could be seen trying to defuse the situation yesterday.

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