October 8, 2012
Dewan Rakyat Speaker makes his own RULES
by Terence Netto@http://www.malaysiakini.com
PKR disciplinary panel chairperson Tan Kee Kwong denounced the new restrictions on parliamentary practice he said were arbitrarily imposed by House speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia even as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak foists the sham of a “best democracy” on the country.
“On the one hand, you have the speaker making his own rules on parliamentary procedure and on the other, you have the Prime Minister proclaiming progress towards the supposed goal of making the country the ‘best democracy’ while he does several things that give the lie to his rhetoric,” said Tan.
“It’s a case of both playing blind man’s bluff,” cracked the former Gerakan MP and Deputy Minister in the BN government, who joined PKR in 2009.
Tan (left) was referring to Pandikar’s recent imposition of a gag on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) until such time as the parliamentary panel is ready to table its findings on any matter it was investigating as “unheard of and arbitrary.”
“It’s an arbitrary imposition that was never heard off during the time I was a member of the PAC between 2004 and 2008,” said Tan.
“Shahrir Samad of UMNO was chairman of the PAC and Tan Seng Giaw of DAP was vice-chairman during the period I was a member of the PAC and they never had to contend with such a rule,” he recalled.
“The PAC during that time delved into such public controversies as the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) and the purchase of offshore patrol vehicles and would meet the press after each session of its inquiry to inform the public of its findings,” elaborated Tan.
“Not once did the Speaker then, Ramli Ngah Talib, intervene to impose restrictions on Shahrir’s steering of the PAC,” he said.
“Now you have a speaker who makes his own rules and pretends that his concoctions are copied from parliamentary procedure from heaven knows where!” he exclaimed.
Time limit on Budget reply
Tan also lambasted Pandikar (left) for limiting Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to one-and-a-half hours for the latter’s reply to the Budget address.
“When I was in Parliament (1995-2008), the opposition leaders Lim Kit Siang and for a brief spell, Fadzil Noor, were not limited to a fixed time slot.
“Kit Siang could speak for hours but now the speaker limits the speech as important as the opposition leader’s response to the Budget address to one-and-a-half hours – a ridiculous restriction,” fumed Tan.
Tan, son of the legendary oppositionist, Tan Chee Khoon, and who is likely to be fielded as the PKR candidate for the Federal Territory parliamentary constituency of Wangsa Maju, then trained his ire on Najib.
“On the one hand, he says he is in pursuit of the ‘best democracy’ and the other, he is absent from Parliament when Anwar rose to respond to the Budget address. Worse, none of his ministers were present.
“This is someone who is a willful trafficker in self-delusion. When his father, Razak (Abdul Razak Hussein) was Prime minister, he once instructed his fellow Alliance ministers to take notes whenever my father Chee Khoon spoke in Parliament because he said Chee Khoon’s speeches were full of facts and data that would benefit ministers and others intending to contribute meaningfully to policy formulation.
“Now you have the son saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. And the public is asked to trust that he is leading the country to the goal of being the best democracy. “He must think the public a bunch of know nothings who can be led a dance around the mulberry bush.”