The passage of the 16th constitutional amendment bill was briefly thrown into confusion when parliament chamber’s sound system noisily malfunctioned, apparently embarrassing Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The chamber’s sound system started to emit an ear-splitting noise around 8:29pm just as JaPa chairman HM Ershad started his speech in favour of proposals for eliciting public opinion and sending the draft law to the Select Committee of the Jatiya Sangsad for further examination.
The audio coverage of the live telecast of the session stopped. Panic was clearly visible on the faces of many MPs because of the deafening noise.
For around one minute, the prime minister and the speaker looked at each other. Parliament secretary Ashraful Moqbul and serjeant-at-arms Ashraful Huq rushed to the sound system room.
But the situation persisted.
The frantic effort of the engineers finally restored the internal sound system to order, enabling the speaker to continue the sitting.
This is the second known episode in Bangladesh parliamentary history that the speaker and parliament secretariat officials have been embarrassed by a technical glitch.
During the inaugural session of the conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in 2003, speaker Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar and then prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia were embarrassed by a sound system failure.
At the opening function of the conference, an announcement was made asking delegates from all 52 commonwealth countries to stand up to honour the national anthem of Bangladesh.
All the guests stood for several minutes, but the anthem was not played because of a technical fault. Begum Zia repeatedly looked at the speaker and the parliament secretary officials, but the anthem still was not played.
Finally, BNP MP Moazzem Hossain Ratan went up to the podium and sang the national anthem.