MPs booted from Parliament over poser on M'sia-Israel economic ties

The Sun Daily 1 November 2011 - 05:25am

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 31, 2011): Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa, from DAP, was ejected from the Dewan Rakyat for insisting that he gets an answer on whether Malaysia has economic ties with Israel.

He had raised the matter in his debate on the 2012 Budget today and was expecting a response during the winding up speech by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

However Mustapa did not respond to Er's question, prompting Er to question Mustapa again.

"You just have to answer 'yes' or 'no'," Er said.

"Why didn't you answer my question?" to which the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia reprimanded Er and asked him to sit down.

When Er insisted that it was just a 'yes or no' question, Pandikar said: "Bakri, sit down! I said sit down!

"I will not proceed with the sitting if Bakri doesn't sit down."

The DAP MP continued to compel Mustapa to answer the question.

"If you do not sit down I will ask you to leave the Dewan," said the annoyed Pandikar.

Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) then said out loud "Jangan keluar! (Don't leave!)"

When Pandikar asked: "Who said 'jangan keluar?' Lim owned up.

"You and Bakri, both leave the Dewan now!" Pandikar pointed at Lim and Er respectively.

In a press conference soon after the chaos in the Dewan, Er explained that it is important for the government to answer the question because previously there was a law that prohibits any kind of trade relations with Israel and South Africa due to their Apartheid policy.

"However as soon as the fall of the policy in South Africa, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad in 1994 changed the government's policy and amended the Import Restriction Act, which not just retracts the trade prohibition with South Africa but also allows opportunities to establish economic ties with Israel," he reiterated.

In his speech on Monday, Er also claimed that there are promotional publications on Israeli products in the International Trade and Industry Ministry's library.

He said materials like Israel-Asia Trade and Israel Review magazines, and books like Advantage Israel, Trade Policies Review Israel, Advance Technology From Israel, Opportunity Israel, The Economics of Israel, Douanes and several others, indicated the possibility of Malaysia-Israel economic ties.

Er's speech quoted Micha Harish, Israel Minister of Industry and Trade, Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce, who stated in one of the magazines: "The public declaration of the Malaysian Prime Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industrial that their country intends to pursue economic relations with Israel is another milestone in the development of trade this continent."

However when Er tried to verify this with Mustapa, he ignored the DAP MP.

About 25 minutes later, Pandikar allowed the two DAP MPs to come back into the House.

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