MP SPEAKS Congrats to the speaker, Pandikar Amin Mulia on his improving Googling skills but it is obvious he has still some distance to go to acquire general proficiency expected of any ordinary internet user.
Early this month, Pandikar “congratulated” the DAP MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, for discovering on the internet an episode that revealed that in 1981, several parliamentarians had left the House of Commons when the finance minister tabled the budget - in rebuttal of the speaker’s earlier remark on the walkout staged by Pakatan Harapan MPs when Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak tabled Budget 2017 in Parliament on Oct 21.
Pandikar had at the time admitted to not being as well-versed, or careless, in 'Googling'.
Yesterday, in his weekly media conference, Pandikar said I appeared to have forgotten that my attempts to speak freely was once curtailed during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s time - referring to my attempt in the 1990s to table a motion under Standing Order 18(1) to debate the Perwaja Steel controversy, which was rejected by the then-speaker, Mohamed Zahir Ismail.
I have forgotten the number of times I had attempted to adjourn Parliament on a motion of urgent, definite public importance under Standing Order 18 (1) in my 43 years in Parliament , from 1971 when Parliament reconvened (excluding the 10th Parliament when I was not a MP), under six of the eight speakers in the nation’s history, namely, CM Yusuf (1971-74), Nik Ahmad Kamil Nik Mahmood (1974-1977), Syed Nasir Ismail (1978-1982), Mohamad Zahir Ismail (1982-2004), Ramli Ngah Talib (2004-2008) and Pandikar Amin Mulia (since 2008).
But I do not think that there is another MP who had submitted more motions under Standing Order 18(1) to adjourn the House on an urgent matter of definite public importance than myself, and to have to such motions rejected by the speaker of the day.
Going by Pandikar’s logic yesterday that a speaker’s rejection of Standing Order 18 (1) is tantamount to the curtailment of freedom of speech of a member of Parliament, then all the five prime ministers (Abdul Razak Hussein, Hussein Onn, Mahathir, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib) and the six speakers during my time in Parliament, had been guilty of such curtailment of freedom of speech of members of Parliament.
Does Pandikar agree with such an implication?
Pandikar would have found all these facts if he had just done some simple Googling.
At his media conference yesterday, Pandikar admitted Najib was in Parliament during the final winding-up of the debate on the 2017 budget on Monday, and that Najib was “observing” Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani from the speaker’s chambers with him.
This is a major parliamentary faux pas by both the prime minister-cum-finance minister and the speaker.
The prime minister-cum-finance minister should be in the parliamentary chamber and not in the speaker’s chamber to personally wind up the debate on the 2017 budget, and Pandikar had failed in his duties as speaker when he failed to remind the prime minister-cum-finance minister that the latter should be in the parliamentary chamber to wind up the debate instead of in the speaker’s chamber to watch the live telecast of the parliamentary proceedings.
Even worse, the prime minister-cum-finance minister compounded his “parliamentary faux pas” and committed a major breach of parliamentary discipline for Barisan Nasional MPs by not appearing in the parliamentary chamber during the division to vote on the 2017 budget, although present in the precincts of Parliament.
Is there another prime minister-cum-finance minister in another parliamentary democracy who behaves like Najib on Monday?
In his media conference yesterday, Pandikar “thanked” me for bestowing upon him a shortened version of “mahazalim” label. I made no such bestowal. In fact, I should thank Pandikar for it was the speaker’s earlier use of the term “zalim” that inspired me to use the term “zalim”. Pandikar should thank himself.
I am mystified by Pandikar’s statement that one day I might stop calling him “mahazalim” or “firaun” if we ever end up on the same side in politics, as firstly, I had never called him names, and secondly, I thought Pandikar had renounced involvement in partisan politics. Or is Pandikar still politically partisan?
LIM KIT SIANG is the DAP parliamentary leader and Gelang Patah MP.- Mkini