DAP’s Ramkarpal ejected from Dewan (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh was ejected from the Dewan Rakyat yesterday after he refused to retract a statement deemed offensive by the Opposition.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof made the ruling after the August house resumed following lunch break.

Ramkarpal, a DAP member, had before lunch described the Umno Youth members who harassed and stopped his late father former DAP chairman Karpal Singh from entering the Parliament in 2009 as "samseng" (gangster), leading to an hour-long fracas in the dewan.

Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) also retaliated by similarly calling Jelutong MP R.S.N. Rayer a gangster after the latter defended Ramkarpal.

The deputy speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who was leading the house then, had let Ramkarpal off with a warning, which did not go down well with the opposition MPs.

When proceedings resumed with Mohamad Ariff on the stand, Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs brought the matter up again.

"As a speaker, I have decided that both sides must retract their statements. Retract, and respect the speaker's decision," Mohamad Ariff said.

Ramkarpal, however, maintained his statement and refused to retract, saying: "I apologise, I can't retract."

In response, Mohamad Ariff said: "I have given you a warning. So I am carrying out the duty of a speaker to eject you from the dewan."

Bung Moktar, avoiding further controversy on the first day of proceedings, retracted his use of the word "samseng" and said he would abide by the order of the speaker.

Earlier, Mohd Rashid said his demand for Ramkarpal to retract his statement was only meant as a warning, which Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Baru) argued would serve as a precedent for similar incidences in the future.

Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) had also questioned the deputy speaker if offensive words would be allowed in the dewan, to which the deputy speaker said no.

"If it is not allowed, then Bukit Gelugor must retract his statement," he said, with other Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs standing up and shouting 'tarik balik' (retract).

After more shouting from both sides, Mohd Rashid told those who were not happy with the ruling and who refused to take their seats to leave the house, which none adhered to.

Close to an hour later, Mohd Rashid called for proceedings to adjourn for lunch at 1pm and asked that it be resumed at 2.30pm.