Serian MP raises concern over ‘militia-style’ parade issue, warns of it creating ‘unnecessary tension’

A screengrab via a broadcast of Riot raising the issue when debating the Royal Address in Parliament yesterday (Feb 21, 2023).

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 22: A minor commotion broke out between MPs in Parliament yesterday when Serian MP Dato’ Sri Dr Richard Riot Jaem raised concern that the act of parading in “medieval war costumes and being armed with replica weapons” by a Peninsula-based political party recently could trigger unnecessary tension in the country if not curbed.

As one of the longest serving members in Parliament for eight consecutive terms in one constituency, Riot said he felt the need to bring this matter that had gone viral recently to the august House, while reminding that Malaysia is a developed country with a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

“A political party in a state in the Peninsula (had) used (costumes and weapons) replica, the like of medieval militia-style (in a parade).

“As a peace loving citizen of our beloved country Malaysia, this matters for me as personally, I feel afraid. To be very frank, it makes me feel afraid because if this is not curbed, it could trigger tension,” he said when debating at the Royal Address in Parliament, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

While Riot did not name the party when he raising the matter, Jasin MP Zulkifli Ismail could be heard saying while interjecting that the matter has been looked into by the police and that it was not an offence.

In response, Riot said he was entitled to his opinion and view, and hoped no one would interrupt.

“I have sat in Parliament since 1990. I rarely speak but when I do the meaning is significant.

“I did not mention the name of the party. So whoever ‘makan cili akan terasa pedas’ (whoever eats chili will feel the heat),” he said.

Zulkifli interrupted to tell Riot not to make accusations, while two other members in defending Riot could be heard questioning “what is the fitnah (accusation)” and “where is the proof of fitnah”.

Urging members to stay calm, Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul said: “When a senior member expressed his views, we should listen to him and whether we agree or otherwise, it is another matter. We should respect the senior member and that’s why he is given time to speak.”

The parade in question was part of a two-day PAS Youth gathering – Himpunan Pemuda Islam Terengganu (Himpit) – that had taken place in Setiu, Terengganu recently.

The viral video clip and pictures of PAS Youth members dressed as Islamic warriors and wielding fake swords, spears and shields have raised many questions about the party’s motives in organising such an event. — DayakDaily