Dec 11, 07 4:46pm
Sixteen opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat in protest of the arrest of 24 Bersih petitioners this morning.
The 16, including all DAP and PAS MPs who were present, walked out at about 3.55pm in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was scheduled to wind-up the debates on the Bill at 4pm.
PKR’s sole MP and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was not present in the House at the time.
The walkout came after M Kula Segaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) debated on a constitutional amendment bill seeking to extend the retirement age of Election Commission members by a year to 66, a move that has elicited strong criticisms. The opposition MP opposed the amendment and condemned the arrest.
“We feel there is no point to debate further on the Bill when the arrests have nullified our freedom of expression both in and outside the Parliament House.
“We make laws in Parliament and it is the highest legislative body. How can the police just come in and start arresting people?” asked Kula Segaran when contacted later.
The amendment was unanimously passed at 4.50pm.
[Full report to follow]
Vexed MPs stage walkout