Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council has appointed Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul as the chairman of Government Backbenchers Club, said its secretary chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. “The presidential council which convened on August 2, has unanimously agreed to elect Johari as the Chairman of the Government Backbenchers Club,” he said in a statement today. Johari was previously the Deputy Chief Whip of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) from 2008 to 2013 and became the Chief Whip from 2013 to 2018. Johari also held the position of Senior Government Official and was the Gurun Assemblyman.
On a separate matter, Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabantangan), who is known for his controversial remarks, launched a profanity-laden salvo at government backbenchers at the Dewan Rakyat this afternoon. The Sabah politician had interjected when Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) was debating the Goods and Services Tax (Repeal) Bill 2018. Bung then related his experience at the Selayang market where he claimed some prices were cheaper before GST was zero-rated. However, the situation took a drastic turn when Willie Mongin (Harapan-Puncak Borneo) asked Bung if he had visited a casino in an apparent reference of a viral photograph on social media. This infuriated Bung, who accused Mongin of being insolent, and demanded that he retract the question. “This is kurang ajar (rude)… What do you want, do you want to fight with me? Now is the time,” he thundered.
Coming to Mongin’s defence, Thomas Su (Harapan-Kampar) pointed out that the Puncak Borneo lawmaker had merely posed a question. This failed to placate Bung, who now trained his guns on Su and shouted, “F*** you!” The lewd remark went unnoticed at first due to the vociferous exchange between the government backbenchers and opposition MPs. However, Bung shouted “F*** you” once again which plunged the House into further pandemonium. Several government backbenchers then demanded that the Kinabatangan MP retract the statement. Deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon tried in vain to bring the House under control and amid the chaos, Bung could be heard shouting “kepala bapak” (your father’s head) several times. Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran), the former deputy speaker, then attempted to intervene and cited Standing Order 36(9). “In any debate, the personal conduct and character of a person cannot be touched on.”
“He (Mongin) had touched on an MP’s personal conduct which is not allowed under Standing Order 36(9) and that was what caused this argument,” he pointed out. However, the MPs paid little attention to Kiandee and the shouting match continued. When Su repeated that Mongin had merely posed a question and urged Bung to calm down, the latter accused the Kampar MP of engaging the services of prostitutes. “You went to find prostitutes. I saw you bringing prostitutes,” he said. The pandemonium resulted in the sitting extending for about 10 minutes beyond the 1pm break. Seemingly unable to control the MPs, Rashid chose to adjourn the House for the delayed lunch break amid several backbenchers demanding that a ruling is made. In a Twitter posting later, Khairy remarked: “Started my speech on SST-GST. Interrupted by err… colourful language. Sambung (continue) 1430hrs.”
When the house reconvened at 2.30pm, several government backbenchers demanded that action be taken against Bung. “The parliamentary record is for all time. If we allow such words by Kinabatangan to remain, it will be recorded in our Hansard forever,” said Fahmi Fadzil (Harapan-Lembah Pantai). Rashid then asked Bung to retract the F-word, to which he concurred. However, after retracting, Bung then repeated his prostitute claim, this time against Mongin. “I retract because it was indeed rude. But Puncak Borneo’s statement… I saw him drinking with a prostitute but I didn’t…,” Bung said as the House once again plunged into chaos before he could finish his sentence. Fahmi then demanded that Bung also retract the prostitute claim, which the latter agreed to do. “How many times do I need to retract? The rope is not long enough. If I keep retracting all the way to Kinabatangan, someone would be strangled,” he said with a laugh.
Bung had also wanted Mongin to retract his “casino” statement but the latter was not in the House. Government MPs had called for tougher action, wanting Bung to be ejected from the House, but Rashid said the retraction was sufficient and that he would only eject Bung if he repeated such an offence.