By Opalyn Mok
GEORGE TOWN, Nov 1 — The state opposition leader was suspended today from the Penang state assembly sitting for the second time for alleging that the Hansard could have been manipulated.
The motion to suspend Datuk Azhar Ibrahim (BN-Penaga) was passed at the state legislative assembly today after Azhar refused to apologise or retract his allegations.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Air Putih) had offered a “plea bargain” to Azhar to withdraw his allegations and apologise before the motion was passed.
Azhar refused to apologise and told the Speaker that he stood by his words.
The motion to suspend Azhar was tabled in May this year by Jagdeep Singh Deo (DAP-Datuk Keramat) over his allegations that the Hansard verbatim report can be manipulated.
Azhar had alleged that the assembly had manipulated the Hansard verbatim report that contained a debate between Lim and Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya (BN-Teluk Bahang) over the demolition of Sri Muniswaran temple.
He was earlier referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee but Azhar had refused to attend all three of the hearings held by the committee.
This is the second time Azhar was suspended after the 2008 general elections.
In 2010, he was suspended for six months for allegedly making references to the May 13 incident and inviting the armed forces to take over the government.
Later, after outside the assembly, Azhar told a press conference that his suspension is a way for the Pakatan Rakyat state government to ‘gag’ him.
“This is the only way for them to stop me from exposing their deception and lies in the state assembly,” he said.
He said he has been very vocal in exposing the state government’s lies and PR is worried about him exposing all of their deception.
“I stand by what I said. The verbatim is an unofficial draft and should not be accepted,” he said.
He also said his suspension showed that the PR state government uses the fear tactic to control the people and civil servants.
“They are showing that Lim (Guan Eng) is ‘King’ so if he can suspend the Opposition leader, then this means he can also suspend any in the civil service,” he said.
Azhar said this suspension will not successfully shut him up as he will continue to expose the PR government’s lies through the other BN state assemblyman.
Dr Hilmi will take over as the acting Opposition leader in the assembly, he said.