Khairy says walkout by BN and PAS MPs was inappropriate

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 16): Former Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin, who stayed put in his seat as his Barisan Nasional colleagues walked out of the Dewan Rakyat in protest against alleged violation of the procedure in the appointment of the Speaker, said their action was inappropriate.

"We must respect the House and the oath-taking ceremony," Khairy told reporters after being sworn in as the third-term parliamentarian for Rembau. "It's better to respect the event and not make any move that would mar BN's image to show that we are an opposition with integrity."

"We can oppose Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof's appointment during the debate when Parliament is officially opened tomorrow or to challenge it (vis-a-vis) the House standing orders on Wednesday.

The walkout was led by Umno president and Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, and more than 60 BN and PAS lawmakers participated in it.

They included former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, MCA deputy president Datuk Wee Ka Siong, both MIC MPs and PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang.

However, former foreign minister Anifah Aman, and former Puteri Umno chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Shamsudin, who is now an independent after leaving Umno, remained in the House.

Asked about the BN lawmakers' action, Khairy said: "I don't want to comment about the others."

"I am (also) not sure of any repercussions (towards me for refusing to walk out). I made the decision because in my opinion it was right to respect the oath-taking ceremony," he added.

Separately, Najib told reporters that BN and PAS did not oppose the Speaker's appointment but were protesting the House's alleged failure to adhere to its Standing Order 4(1) that requires the Speaker nominee's names to be submitted 14 days before the appointment.

"We learnt from the deputy prime minister that they (new government) decided on Mohamad Ariff's appointment on July 9.

"As the opposition, we will hold on to the principle and laws, and in the context of rule of law, we will defend this principle based on what was promised to the people. The standing orders must be observed to the letter, and the people demand it without any doubt," he said.