When Malaysia’s first parliamentary session of the year convened this morning, it didn’t take long for things to get salty.
Scenes of some MPs making fun of other speakers led some online to complain that the first parliamentary session of the year was rife with “uncouth” behavior from a few MPs who should have been focused on debating several motions affecting the welfare and economy.
“See what happens when the youth tries to debate properly? Syed Saddiq was made fun of and heckled by elder officials, who were elected members of parliament. What is their problem?” wrote Twitter user @Luqmanlong of independent Muar representative Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, 27.
Nearly two months after a one-day session on May 18 made for the shortest parliament in the nation’s history, 222 members reconvened this morning at the Malaysian Houses of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur.
Luqmanlong also uploaded a clip from the morning’s session, going on to say they should focus on the nation’s work.
“Taxpayers pay them good money. Let the youth take care of this country,” the caption added in the message which was retweeted tens of thousands of times, including by Syed Saddiq himself.
In the clip, Syed Saddiq was beginning to present his motion to former PM Mahathir Mohammad when other representatives began heckling him, calling him a “grandchild” and telling him to stop speaking.
Baling constituency representative Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim can be heard telling him, “Ask your grandfather why he resigned,” apparently referring to Mahathir’s abrupt resignation in February.
Syed Saddiq is a progressive minister on youth issues and a prominent anti-corruption voice in the government. He has publicly expressed his disappointment in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for allegedly inviting “kleptocrat” members into the government.
Responding to today’s episode, critics online complained that they expected better from their representatives.
“I feel ashamed of this parliament. All they need to do is to act professionally and respect each other. It’s so sickening to see them behave like kids, unlike how people their age should act,” @Blqsmhmd said in reply.
According to the video, which runs under two minutes, the other MPs dissing Syed Saddiq were Tanjung Karang rep Noh Omar, Jempol rep Mohd Salim Sharif, and Jelebu rep Jalaludin Alias, all members of Barisan Nasional (The National Front), who were delivered a crushing defeat in the 2018 election following the collapse of scandal-plagued former PM Najib Razak.
Democratic Action Party politician and Kluang rep Wong Shu Qi took to Twitter to express her disappointment at her colleagues.
“I am sick of people who keep belittling (sic) young MPs by calling them cucu (grandchild) or the sort,” she said. “They don’t understand that the young will soon occupy and lead. Respect your colleagues, even when they are a few generations younger than you.”
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