Selangor Journal
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul during a Dewan Rakyat proceeding in Parliament, on October 9, 2023. — Picture via X/JOHARI ABDUL

No more uttering ‘kafir’, ‘Zionist’ in Dewan Rakyat, Speaker tells MPs

By Danial Dzulkifly

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul has cautioned MPs against uttering sensitive comments or portraying unparliamentary conduct in Parliament, saying he would not compromise with such behaviour. 

Johari said parliamentarians should avoid making hurtful comments or engaging in personal politicking that could create disharmony, following the utterance of words like ‘kafir’ and ‘Zionist’ during last week’s proceedings. 

He said while the use of such terms is acceptable to condemn the violence committed by Israel on Palestine, they should not be used to describe or label fellow MPs or other individuals. 

“Standing Order 36(10)(c) of the Dewan Rakyat prohibits the use of words that instil feelings of hurt or animosity among different communities in Malaysia. 

“I urge all MPs to refrain from using terms such as kafir, Zionist and Jew, especially in our current tumultuous atmosphere, or any other words that disturb our peace and touch on the sensitivities of the public.

“Honourable members should exhibit commendable behaviour while addressing the issues of the people and the country. Prioritise the nation’s interests rather than using the House as a political battleground for individual or group motives,” he said prior to the start of today’s sitting.

The Speaker’s strong remarks come against the backdrop of heated Budget 2024 debates last week, where certain MPs resorted to using charged and sensitive language, causing a commotion in the House.

Johari invited parliamentarians to turn a new leaf and shift their focus towards people-centric matters, emphasising he would not compromise on such actions in the future.

“Let’s put aside last week’s heated disputes. Let the debates among MPs focus on issues concerning the people. I assert that I will not compromise further and will take action if such issues and terms are raised again.

Johari also reminded MPs that personal issues raised or reported outside of the Dewan Rakyat should not be brought up in the House. 

“Standing Order 23(1)(i) states that a statement cannot be made regarding the accuracy of news reports or statements made by private individuals.

“Meanwhile, Standing Order 36(9) states that no references can be made to the conduct or character of any member of Parliament or government official except in the execution of their duties as a member of Parliament or government official.

“Therefore, personal issues reported outside of this chamber should be resolved outside,” he said.

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