|By : Eileen Ng
MIED chief executive officer P. Chitrakala Vasu
and Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan at the press conference at the
Parliament canteen on Monday.
KUALA LUMPUR: How did Maju Institute of Educational Development chief
executive officer P. Chitrakala Vasu get past the "beefed-up" security
to hold a press conference at the Parliament canteen?
The unprecedented event, the latest move by the embattled businesswoman
to hit out at MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu over their ongoing
spat involving MIED, caught many by surprise.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who
has responsibility for Parliament, was caught off-guard by the event,
especially with tighter security in the wake of Karpal Singh's run-in
with Umno Youth members last week.
Apparently, there was a
hidden hand involved. Parti Keadilan Rakyat member of parliament (MP)
for Padang Serai, N. Gobalakrishnan, signed her in with a telephone
call to the guardhouse.
The MP's use of parliamentary privilege
to bring Chitrakala into the high-security area for the express purpose
of a press conference riled many, especially those in Barisan Nasional.
Backbenchers were particularly incensed because of the
indignation expressed by Pakatan Rakyat MPs in the wake of last week's
Gobalakrishnan admitted that he played a part in Chitrakala's
well-attended press conference as he knew about her plans and arranged
for her to enter the grounds.
"I found out from reporters that she was coming to Parliament to have a press conference.
"So, I called up the guardhouse to let her in," he told the New Straits Times.
He said he wanted to help her as they had known each other since his
MIC days, when he was a close ally of Samy Vellu (they parted ways
On Monday, tighter security measures were put in place to prevent a recurrence of last week's disturbance.
Visitors driving to the building, including the media, civil servants,
ministry's officers, and contract workers, have to register at the main
guardhouse at the entrance.
They have to surrender their professional accreditation tags or identity cards in exchange for parliament tags.
Only contract workers and visitors who had prior permission from the
parliament authorities or MPs are allowed into the premises.
Nazri ticked off Gobalakrishnan for his irresponsible action.
"Be careful. She's not an MP. How can she hold a press conference
here?" Nazri chided Gobalakrishnan in full view of the media outside
the members' lounge.
Nazri said it was highly irresponsible of
Gobalakrishnan to abuse his perks and privileges to allow Chitrakala to
speak to the press at the Parliament canteen.
However, he said his hands were tied when it came to stopping parliamentarians from bringing in guests.
"If they flout the rules, what can we do? There's nothing we can do.
"There are no specific rulings in the Standing Order that disallowed MPs from bringing guests or having press conferences,"
He pleaded with parliamentarians to cooperate with the parliament authorities in enforcing better security.
"Members must respect the rules and sanctity of the House.
"For example, it is all right for an MP to make a press statement, but how could you allow others to do it here?" he asked.