Every legislative limitation upon utterance, however valid, may in a particular case serve as an inroad upon the freedom of speech which the Constitution protects.

— Stanley F. Reed, ex-US Supreme Court Justice

If there is one sport that I can claim to know something about, it would be football. While admittedly I haven’t found the time to stay up until the wee hours in the morning to watch football matches ‘live’ of late, I often liked to read about it the next day.

Although football isn’t technically a contact sport, opinions may differ, most of its high moments are when there are contacts between players especially in the penalty area.

The slightest of touches is considered as contact, be it a callous two-footed tackle, a tug on the shirt, a shove or just a misplaced footing.

More often than not, our footballers today seem very keen to dive, overreact and overdramatise the extent of the contact. What seemed like a light touch was enough for the players to roll around in agony, or at least that is what it seems to us audience.

It is annoying, petty and lacks the proper sportsmanship.

Coincidentally, the last sentence also summed up what I thought of our MPs’ performance during Monday’s parliamentary session.

Right when newly-minted Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun took his oath, instead of showing respect to the new presiding officer or chair of the legislative body — the Parliament — the opposition almost as if competed among themselves on who gets first crack at Azhar.

To be fair, the change of Speaker last time back in 2018 wasn’t smooth sailing either, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) staged a walkout when Tan Sri Mohd Ariff Md Yusof was proclaimed as Speaker by the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

The incident, however, was also best remembered by a photo of Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin sitting on an empty BN bloc all by himself bar then Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who was out of the frame.

But then again, the proclamation ceremony was uninterrupted. No one shouted when the oath of office was taken — no one caused a commotion.

BN, who did not support the appointment, simply walked out.

On Monday however, within the few seconds that Azhar walked to his desk and took his oath, Pakatan MPs made the House sound like a fish market, made tempers flare and started the blame game — the only thing they are good at.

“Yang Berhormat Pagoh, it’s on you. It’s on you Yang Berhormat Pagoh. You did this. It’s on you. Yang Berhormat Pagoh, Perdana Menteri it’s on you,” cried Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto, trying to pin the blame on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“Who voted for this Speaker? Who voted for this Speaker? You also voted for him,” she shouted, referring to Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin who tried to get her to sit down.

Apparently, Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim also did no favours when he made a tongue-in-cheek reply to the Batu Kawan MP.

“Ini semua adalah angkara Yang Berhormat yang tahu diri. Sendiri mahu ingatlah. (All of this is the doing of one Honourable Member that you yourself should know who),” he said, referring to Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose resignation triggered the nation’s political
crisis in February.

Her charade didn’t end there, with her constant interjection during the Monday parliamentary session much to the chagrin of other MPs.

An unfortunate slip of the tongue from Abdul Azeez later, and she, like all other Pakatan MPs saw it fit to play victim. I mean, what is this?

I hope the rakyat can judge for themselves the way that they acted the whole day in Parliament and not be influenced by a three-minute video clip circulated on Twitter.

This is nothing other than just a tactic to create issues that isn’t there to begin with.

On the majority attained by Muhyiddin to pass the motion to remove Mohd Ariff as Speaker, I think it is also a true reflection of the support that he commands in Parliament.

Although it may be a razor thin majority, a majority is a majority nonetheless and puts to rest claims by the opposition that they have the numbers to form the government.

For the prime minsiter, it never was an easy task to navigate the nation in the aftermath of a political crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

But for the rest of the parliamentary session and in the foreseeable future, he has his work cut out for him.