January 19, 2021

Talk of Chin Peng's ashes triggers ruckus in Parliament, results in suspension of 2 MPs

3 min read

KUALA LUMPUR: Questions as to whether a Hindu lawmaker had used Chin Peng’s ashes on his forehead as a vibhuti had sparked a heated debate resulting in two MPs – Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) and Khoo Poay Teong (PH-Kota Melaka) – being suspended for two days in Parliament.

The incident occurred when RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) had asked Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik if there were plans to educate school students about the history of famous Pakatan Harapan leaders such as Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang.

This led to several Opposition MPs poking fun at Rayer’s suggestion, with Tajuddin mentioning, “How about Chin Peng’s ashes? Are you wearing it on your forehead?”

This triggered a shouting match between several Pakatan and Opposition MPs, with Rayer (pic) demanding Tajuddin to retract his statement.

“Please retract your statement, this is an insult to all Hindus,” he added.

A vibuthi is sacred ash made of burnt dried wood which Hindu devotees would traditionally apply as three horizontal lines across the forehead.

Tajuddin refused to retract his statement initially, saying that he did not accuse Rayer of wearing Chin Peng’s ashes on his forehead.

“I did not say you are wearing Chin Peng’s ashes. I said are you wearing Chin Peng’s ashes?”

However, Tajuddin was heard to have retracted his statement amidst the continued shouting between lawmakers.

There were also calls by Opposition MPs for Rayer to retract his statement of accusing Barisan Nasional of insulting Hindus when it was Tajuddin who allegedly made the statement.

Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) questioned why Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof did not take action against Tajuddin over his remarks.

“I have raised Standing Order 36 and my position is clear that the statement is insulting. I’m asking for a ruling, Speaker,” said Ramkarpal.

Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) subsequently interjected, saying that Tajuddin had already retracted his statement

However, there were still calls for the Speaker to take further action against Tajuddin, amidst continued shouting between lawmakers.

Mohamad Arif called for calm in the House and warned lawmakers to stop shouting and sit in their respective seats.

“I don’t want to hear any more about Standing Orders. It’s all repetitive,” he said.

Khoo interjected, citing Standing Order 36, saying that Tajuddin had used insensitive remarks in many occasions in Parliament and insisted for action against him.

This triggered Mohamad Arif, where he subsequently handed down a two-day suspension for Tajuddin and Khoo.

“This had gone too far. Kota Melaka and Pasir Salak, I order you two out. Please leave the House,” Mohamad Arif said.

Khoo interjected and said, “If you want me to go out, I will go out, but I just want to put this on record, that this is not the way to control the dignity of the Dewan Rakyat.”

Tajuddin, however, welcomed his suspension, saying that it gives him time to attend the upcoming Umno General Assembly starting Wednesday (Dec 4).

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