MALACCA - DAP representatives yesterday made allegations of conspiracy and questioned the presence of members of the media at the public gallery before staging a walkout from the state assembly at 9.45am yesterday.
The episode had been triggered by media coverage of a question Datuk Gan Tian Loo (BN-Duyong) had asked Betty Chew Gek Cheng (DAP-Kota Laksamana) in the house on Monday.
Gan had asked Chew if she had harassed or caused injury to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is her husband, and also if she knew a former staff of the Penang Chief Minister's Department, Ng Phiak Kheng, and if she had also harassed and slapped her (Ng).
Yesterday, Goh Leong San (DAP-Kesidang) alleged that the media reports were a result of a conspiracy involving Speaker Datuk Othman Muhammad and Gan.
Datuk Hasan Abdul Rahman (BN-Sungai Rambai) then urged Othman not to entertain the DAP representative, prompting a heated exchange. Chew then said this was a conspiracy led by Gan and MCA.
"I am also disappointed with the Datuk Speaker (Othman)."
Goh then intervened and told Othman: "Datuk Speaker need not follow the rules and regulations (of the house). Datuk Speaker, you are not qualified to hold the position of the speaker," before leading the walkout.
The five were Chew, Goh, Lim Jak Wong (Bachang), Khoo Poay Tiong (Ayer Keroh) and Tey Kok Kiew (Banda Hilir).
Othman later said he did not know that Gan was to ask the question to Chew.
"Maybe the DAP assemblymen did not want to be pressed further on the issue and that would have been the reason for them to walk out.
"But in doing that, the house could not even hear the motion to be tabled by Lim Jak Wong (DAP-Bachang) on the abandoned Pulau Melaka project and to allow for the chief minister to give his reply.
"The people want to know the latest development on the project as it is a matter of great public interest. It is a loss for those who elected DAP to represent them as their (the people's) voice could not be heard."
On the media presence, Othman said they were observant of ethics, duties and responsibilities and that the decision to let them occupy the public gallery was made at the start of the current assembly term four years ago.
"We made this decision as we wanted to be transparent and the people of Malacca have the right to know what is happening in the house."
Chew was heard as saying: "This is a conspiracy which is led by the state Education, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Gan Tian Loo and the MCA. I am also disappointed with the Datuk Speaker (Othman)."