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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Uproar over "doctors licensed to kill" statement

“LICENCE to kill” was a subject that dominated 20 minutes of argument but it was not about Ian Fleming’s secret agent James Bond that the MPs were at loggerheads about.

It was the sentence “doctors have the licence to heal and licence to kill” in a supplementary answer by the Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad (BN-Mersing) that sparked a furore among the Pakatan Rakyat representatives.

Dr Mohd Hatta Mat Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) started the ball rolling by asking Abd Latiff to withdraw his statement as it gives a wrong impression about medical doctors.

Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali (PAS-Titiwangsa) was next to voice her dissatisfaction, citing concern that there would be misunderstanding amongst the students who visit the House frequently.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia fi rst waved it off and asked for proceedings to continue but this did not go down well with opposition parliamentarians, with Mohd Hatta standing up to ask Pandikar Amin to order Abd Latiff to withdraw the statement.

And this was also called for by a few other MPs like Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) who cited Point of Order that the statement had not complied with the Standing Orders of the House.

Opposition Leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) said doctors took an oath to protect the lives of their patients and Abd Latiff’s statement was inappropriate.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAPKepong) also said he hoped Pandikar Amin would rule that such words would no longer be used and for Abd Latiff to withdraw the phrase. Pandikar Amin agreed with Tan and looked for affirmation from Abd Latiff by saying that he did not hav bad intentions when he uttered the phrase. “Yes, I had not meant it in a bad way,” Abd Latiff said. After much ruckus, Pandikar Amin asked for the parliamentarians to refrain from using terms or phrases that may insult their peers and can be defi ned through other perceptions.

Further, he asked Abd Latiff to withdraw the statement. Abd Latiff said: “I am sorry to have said that and I had no mean intentions. I will not repeat it but I will not withdraw my statement.”

This caused another loud roar from the side of Pakatan Rakyat but Pandikar Amin then ticked off the MPs, reminding them of their shared responsibility in ensuring smooth proceedings that adhere to the Standing Orders. He said he had taken note that this was not the first time Abd Latiff had used the phrase but was also sure that he had no bad intentions in saying it.

“From what I gather, what he meant was sometimes there are doctors who are careless and that was what he meant,” he said.
The Rules in the Standing Orders were thrown across the House, asking for Pandikar Amin’s actions and when he had seemed to have had enough, he quipped: “I have memorised all these rules – up, down, left and right.”

Pandikar Amin refreshed the memory of the MPs that he had fi rst decided to ignore the phrase and carry on with proceedings and the decision could only be reviewed with a motion under Standing Order 43.

“You all have this responsibility of ensuring that the meeting goes smoothly. Next time, don’t use that term.” At this point, Lim stood to refer to a Standing Order allowing parliamentarians to refer the act of a fellow MP to a special committee.

Abd Latiff put an end to the issue when he said: “I will not apologise for the remark but I will withdraw it.”

Taken from : TheSun

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Now I learn that it's hard to say "sorry".

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