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May 1, 2008

Opposition Flexes Muscles As Malaysia Parliament Descends Into Chaos, Insults And Jeers

mysinchew - (AP)Malaysia's resurgent opposition flexed its newfound muscles Wednesday (20 Apr), disrupting Parliament's first business session with noisy arguments as lawmakers from both sides traded insults and jeers.

The record 82 opposition lawmakers who were elected to the 222-member Parliament in the March 8 elections shouted down, in one voice, ruling National Front coalition lawmakers in an argument over a technicality.

Karpal Singh, from the opposition Democratic Action Party, called National Front member Bung Mokhtar Radin a "Bigfoot," who retaliated by calling Singh a "Big Monkey."

"This is not meant to be a shouting match!" yelled Speaker Pandikan Amin Mulia, trying to calm the screaming rival partisans who rose up to vociferously support Singh or Bung Mokhtar.

The chaotic scenes were shown live on national television, the first time proceedings are being broadcast, albeit only the first 30 minutes every day.

The scenes looked more like the often-rambunctious parliament sessions of India or Taiwan rather than the sedate meetings that Malaysia has been used to for the last 51 years.


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