GEORGE TOWN: Following the walkout by the 11 Umno assemblymen, the house was abuzz yestrday over the exact word uttered by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on the Sri Muniswaran temple demolition issue.
Speaker Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain subsequently ordered a playback of a video recording of the two-minute spat between Lim and Penang Port Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya over the matter to reporters.
It revealed Lim uttered the word "terancam" (under threat) as opposed to "akan diroboh" (will be demolished) as alleged by Umno when he asked Dr Hilmi to apologise to Hindu workers over the demolition of the temple by the port operator.
Earlier in yesterday morning, Abdul Halim denied a motion without notice, brought about by Datuk Jasmin Mohamed (BN-Sungai Dua) on behalf of the Opposition, to debate on Lim's statement.
"I denied their motion because the motion itself was inaccurate. I listened to the Hansard and found Lim did not use the word 'roboh' (demolish) yesterday. Lim repeated his statement twice," he said.
"Therefore, I denied their motion based on inaccuracy and an absence of urgency to debate it." The speaker expressed disappointment over opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim's (BN-Penaga) statement that the Hansard was manipulated.
"Manipulation of the Hansard has never happened before. It is a tried and tested method. To question this shows a mistrust on the legislature. If there was a breach, it would be a black day for the legislature."
He said Azhar's allegation on the Hansard manupulation was tantamount to contempt of the house, adding a motion could be tabled by a backbencher to suspend the former for not more than six months.
"However, they walked out, so there is no reason to invoke this standing order for contempt. I am not in support of suspension because it takes away their right to debate. I only want to send a message to not humiliate the house."
Umno assemblymen, led by Azhar, said reports would be lodged with the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission against Lim today for his alleged racial slur, and agaionst the assembly for allegedly manipulating the Hansard.
"Well, they lodge reports and we will cooperate, but there are limits to that. We will also check on the immunity of the statements made by backbenchers and that is where I come in to determine immunity," Abdul Halim said.
When told the Umno assemblymen had accused him of being afraid and biased towards Pakatan Rakyat backbenchers, he said he went by the facts to determine the truth.
"I cannot yell with everybody because it will add to the din. I might as well join the crowd," he said.