Malaysian parliament TV coverage to continue despite rowdy MPs

May 5th, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 5 (IANS) The telecast of the question hour in Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat (parliament) is to continue despite rowdy scenes being caught ‘live’ during a 30-minute coverage. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he was “ashamed” after the first television coverage of parliament proceedings last week, when the new session began on a chaotic note following the March elections.

The government’s threats to stop the coverage were stiffly opposed by the opposition, bolstered in strength to 82 this time.

In its editorial entitled “Low marks for rowdy MPs”, The Sun newspaper attributed this to the rise in the opposition’s strength.

“The boisterous opening debate of the new parliament Wednesday speaks volumes about the state of national politics today. Firstly, the much enlarged ranks of the opposition, from a sparse 20 in the previous parliament to the current 82 - a four-fold increase - creates the conditions for an enlivened debate in any sitting of the lower house,” it said Monday.

“One lesson that is waiting to be drawn from the current embarrassing spectacle is that offending parliamentarians need to quickly get used to a much higher standard of conduct in the house. People have become more discerning about their political leaders and expect them to demonstrate that they are worthy of their respect,” the newspaper added.

However, Indian origin lawmaker Karpal Singh said the public outcry at the parliament’s proceedings was “unwarranted” and that it should be “seen in a perspective”.

“We need a parliament which is robust,” he said.

According to him, lively exchanges and repartee enliven what would otherwise be mundane and dull proceedings.

“I have been a member of parliament for 26 years. One of the dullest places on earth is the parliament,” he said.

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