PARLIAMENT A heated debate took place today over the planned rallies by the Bersih movement and the so-called red-shirts movement on Nov 19.
Surprisingly, at least two Umno MPs went into a fit of rage over allegations by Kasthuri Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan) that Umno was supporting the red-shirts, which is led by Sungai Besar Umno division head Jamal Md Yunos.
"Who are these Umno members (who support the red-shirts)?" thundered an irate Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh (BN-Setiu).
"When did we support them (the red-shirts)?" he demanded as the argument raged on.
Che Mohamad then accused Kasthuri of making remarks which offended MPs, which is against House rules.
Abdul Rahman Mohamad (BN-Lipis) also made repeated calls for Kasthuri to withdraw what she had said.
Deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee made no ruling on this, but did agree that MPs should not make remarks that offend others.
"If you want to talk about the red-shirts, there's no need to accuse Umno of supporting them," Ronald said.
Publicly, Umno leaders have been ambiguous about their support for the red-shirts.
For example, Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar once said that the red-shirts had "nothing to do with Umno", but yet allowed them to use the Selangor Umno headquarters.
Similarly, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin once criticised the red-shirts for their violent tendencies and yet said Umno Youth members could join the red-shirts' demonstrations if they wanted to.
Last year, Prime Minister and Umno president Najib Abdul Razak once said the party was not linked to the red-shirts, but did not bar members from joining their inaugural Sept 16 rally.
Several Umno leaders were spotted at last year's rally, including then deputy finance minister Ahmad Maslan and Ketereh MP Annuar Musa.
The uproar today occurred when Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was wrapping up speech during the Budget 2017 debate.
Zahid said his advice to both the red-shirts and Bersih was for neither of them to hold a rally on Nov 19.
"If there is no yellow (Bersih) surely there won't be reds. Without (Bersih chief) Maria Chin Abdullah, there will be no Jamal.
"I ask for both red and yellow, don't hold a rally," he said, adding that the best place to air grievances was in the Dewan Rakyat.
Zahid said the police will also take necessary action against either party if the law was broken.
Hasan Arifin (BN-Rompin) expressed concern that colour themed rallies may spawn other demonstrations.
He said there might even be a Muslim-theme black-shirt rally, with the goal of pressuring the government to agree to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's plans to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.- Mkini