Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee was wrong when he said that it was only customary for the Dewan Rakyat to observe a minute of silence for the deaths of heads of states or MPs when he rejected the request by the DAP MP for Sandakan, Steven Wong, today that Parliament observe a minute of silence for Sarawakian Bernard Then who was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
Bernard was kidnapped in Sandakan on May 15 and was held as a hostage by Abu Sayyaf terrorists for six months in Jolo, Sulu.
The present Parliament elected on May 5, 2013 had on three occasions observed a minute of silence in memory and respect of those who were neither heads of states or Parliamentarians, viz:
• On March 25, 2014, Parliament observed a minute of silence to pay its respects to the 239 passengers and crew members aboard the missing MH 370 after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the aircraft had ended its journey somewhere in the south Indian Ocean.
• On March 10, 2015, when Parliament observed a minute’s silence to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of MH 370 flight.
• On June 8, 2015 when Parliament observed a minute of silence for those who died in the earthquake that hit Ranau over the weekend.
Parliament should have observed a minute of silence at the beginning of its meeting today not only to convey the nation’s sorrow, grief and condolence to the family of Bernard Then, but also to express the nation’s outrage at such heinous crime committed by Abu Sayyaf terrorists against an innocent and defenceless Malaysian.
Parliament should move on from the mistake this morning, and ensure that there is a full emergency debate on the unspeakable crime committed by the Abu Sayyap terrorists against a Malaysian citizen, so as to send a clear message that the killers of Bernard must be sought out to pay for the murder of an innocent Malaysian.