Plenary session suspended following chaos

A House divided: Legislators get involved in heated arguments and wrestle with one another during a House of Representatives plenary session on the controversial Bank Century bailout on Tuesday in Jakarta. The session was later suspended. Antara/Andika Wahyu

The House of Representatives plenary session to discuss the Bank Century case is currently on a break following chaos triggered by a heated debate among legislators.

"We will resume at 2 p.m.," one of the House deputy speakers, Priyo Budi Santoso from the Golkar Party, told reporters at the House in Jakarta on Tuesday. At the time of writing the session has yet to resume.

The debate began when several legislators insisted the House vote on the case today, rather than the original schedule of tomorrow.

However, the House speaker, Marzuki Alie from the Democratic Party, insisted the legislators commit to the original schedule, which had been decided during a House consultative body meeting.

However, the legislators pointed out that a plenary session was higher than a mere consultative body meeting.

Marzuki was persistent, so a number of angry legislators marched toward the speaker's chair, trying to take his gavel away.

"Topple the speaker! Topple the speaker!" they yelled.

Security guards tried to settle the lawmakers down as they were trying to grab one another’s throat.

One of the legislators, Akbar Faisal from the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), is said to have been punched during the chaos.

So far, Akbar has yet to reply to the text message sent by The Jakarta Post to confirm whether he was punched.

Separately, Maruarar Sirait from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) deemed that Marzuki had displayed weak leadership in hosting the plenary.

"He should have facilitated the legislators, because the House’s internal regulations clearly say that a plenary session is higher than a consultative body meeting," he said.