Malaysia's Parliament voted to suspend a prominent opposition member for one year Monday after he accused the next prime minister of being a murderer in connection with the 2006 slaying of a Mongolian woman here.
Opposition leaders decried the suspension of Gobind Singh Deo, calling it an abuse of power by the National Front coalition that controls nearly two-thirds of the 222-member Parliament.
Gobind, a well-known lawyer, stunned the lower house of Parliament on Thursday with a tirade against Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is scheduled to become premier in early April.
Gobind wanted Najib to respond to opposition accusations that he had a hand in the killing of a young Mongolian woman in 2006. Gobind shouted "Answer me, you murderer" before Parliament's speaker ordered him to leave the hall.
A Cabinet minister made a formal proposal Monday to suspend Gobind without pay for a year, saying he was in contempt of Parliament and that he had committed a breach of his rights as a legislator.
Government lawmakers approved the proposal through a unanimous vote after opposition legislators staged a temporary walkout to protest the move.
Lim Kit Siang, a senior leader in Gobind's Democratic Action Party, said the suspension entered "into Malaysian parliamentary annals as another black-lettered day." He said the National Front had used its "brute majority to summarily punish Gobind."
Opposition lawmakers have grown increasingly vocal after general elections last March saw them seize an unprecedented 82 seats in Parliament, denying the National Front a two-thirds majority for the first time in four decades.
It was the first time that a lawmaker has been booted out for such a long period after another Democratic Action Party member went through a six-month suspension in 2001 for allegedly insulting Parliament.
Woman's body blown up
Najib has persistently denied any involvement in the slaying of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian translator who had an affair with one of Najib's close friends.
Government lawyers say Shaariibuu was shot in October 2006. Her body was then blown up in a forest outside Kuala Lumpur, and only fragments were found.
Prosecutors alleged Abdul Razak Baginda, Najib's friend, ordered Shaariibuu killed after she pestered him for money. Abdul Razak was acquitted last October of abetting the slaying. A court will rule next month whether to convict two policemen accused of the killing.
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