Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sleight of hand in parliament?

Barisan Nasional backbencher Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) is said to have made an obscene gesture in the Dewan Rakyat today that was caught on the ‘live’ television broadcast - but he denies it.

MCPXThe gesture went unnoticed on the big screen in the Dewan Rakyat itself, because the in-house cameras were not trained on him.However, RTM1 is said to have captured the gesture during the daily 30-minute ‘live’ telecast of the Question session.The commotion started 15 minutes into the telecast, when Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development Minister Noh Omar was answering a question by Azan Ismail (PKR-Indera Mahkota).Bung Mokhtar (left) ticked off several opposition members including M Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) for complaining to deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar about the unfair allocation of air-time to the opposition during the ‘live’ telecast.

However, Bung Mokhtar told TheSun outside the House that he did not make the gesture, described as the ‘palm hitting a clenched fist’.“No, I did not do that. I just did this (hitting his palm on the back of his other hand). I (was) angry with (Gobalakrishnan). He called me bodoh (stupid). (So), I called him bodoh back. What’s wrong with that?” he asked.“(Gobalakrishnan) called me bodoh when I questioned the speaker. Why should the opposition be given 30 minutes of prime time on television which the government has paid for?”Contacted later, Gobalakrishnan brushed off Bung Mokhtar’s claims.“No, I never called anyone bodoh. I would never make such an unparliamentary remark,” he said, adding that he did not notice the rude gesture. Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) said, however, that her constituents had seen the gesture on television and had called her to complain.Last year, Bung Mokhtar came under fire for his infamous bocor comment to Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah).

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