Sunday October 28, 2007
By FLORENCE A. SAMY
At the Dewan Rakyat last week
THE holiday mood lingered in the House in the early part of the week, with only a handful of MPs standing up to debate on recent issues that surfaced during the month-long Ramadan break.
At times, they were like lone rangers – with no one standing up to back them.
The momentum picked up by mid-week and the mood became more serious with the members espousing their stands on issues pertaining to fuel, apex universities, road safety, crime and the judiciary.
Several MPs touched on the gruesome death of eight-year-old sexual assault victim Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, the Tioman ferry tragedy that claimed seven lives and the “miracle” heart donations to teenager Tee Hui Yi that crossed racial boundaries.
Despite the advice early in the week by Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib to keep speeches short and sweet, some members just could not resist rambling on and on.
The debates were on the nation's 2008 budget but Datuk Dr Rahman Ismail (BN – Gombak) veered off and spoke extensively about various foreign issues, and some reporters dubbed him “the next foreign minister.”
Dr Rahman spoke at length on how the United Nations viewed Malaysia and thanked Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar for taking him and several MPs to the UN General Assembly in New York.
Much time was also used by some MPs to talk about excessive fruit supplies, farmers and on digging up old “personal” issues.
Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (BN – Jasin) lamented that Karpal Singh (DAP – Bukit Gelugor) kept harping about him being a shipping agent although, he said, “the matter had been settled.”
On Monday, Mohd Said highlighted the Oct 13 incident of the blazing ferry, which did not seem to stir many of the MPs early in the week.
Before that, he talked of the earlier Bukit Gantang bus express accident that killed 22 people.
He said he lost some friends in that tragedy and questioned the lackadaisical attitude of conducting operations after an incident occurs.
“We were busy with operations when the ferry from Mersing to Tioman burnt and people died.
“We were busy with operations after the Bukit Gantang express bus accident that claimed over 20 lives.
“Why must we wait until lives are lost before taking action?” he asked.
He stood alone to talk about it and it was only towards the middle of the week that some other MPs from both sides of the House raised the issue again and asked for stern action.
Datuk Mohd Sarit Yusoh (BN – Temerloh) expressed concern about the country's economic growth being dependent on Petronas and the manufacturing industry.
“Is the economic growth felt by the people?” he asked, worried that only a few sectors were contributing to the economic growth.
“What happens when we become a net importer of oil in the near future?
Responding to the concerns, several backbenchers and opposition MPs agreed that renewable resources needed to be developed from now.
A string of MPs raised the issue of the judiciary, including Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR – Permatang Pauh) and Salahudin Ayub (PAS – Kubang Kerian).
The sole Barisan Nasional backbencher to talk on the judiciary was Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (BN – Kota Baru), who questioned why a royal commission was not set up to investigate the controversial alleged judge-brokering video clip and its authenticity.
Karpal Singh took a pot shot at People's Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas and hit out at backbenchers whose conduct he alleged was un-parliamentary.
He said one MP had even uttered a foul word abusing one's mother in the House, although this had occurred back in the 1990s.
Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin (BN – Jerai), allegedly the MP in question, retorted that the DAP leader too had used disparaging words in the House, such as binatang (animal) and bodoh (stupid).
Going further, Badruddin said Karpal Singh was in a wheelchair because of God's wrath due to his arrogance.
As an afterthought, the Jerai MP apologised to all disabled people, adding that he never meant to insult them.
Tomorrow is the last day for MPs to debate on the budget before the relevant ministries respond to their queries.
Will there be enough time for more MPs to speak, or will time be wasted again on petty issues? And will Badruddin apologise to Karpal Singh?
- Star Online
My wife commented that this posting is the most inappropriate article that has been posted in this blog since its existence. Further, she can't find the relevance of this posting to the spirit of the blog.
Well, to answer such curiosity, the following is the rationale.
I had just wanted to highlight that the Nurin Tragedy has eventually reached Parliament. I do wonder though on what aspect(s) of the tragedy was/were raised. Was it merely the gruesome murder (as a passing remark) or asking the government on how could such tragedy happened, or how effective was PDRM's search and rescue operations or what the government intends to do to avoid any recurrences. Though details on reference to the Nurin tragedy at the House were really very unclear, I'm pretty sure the MPs did not ask about details of the on-going investigations as since the name suggests, investigations are still on-going.
Hopefully, when the reply session starts this week, we would be able to learn on the government position on the matters raised, whatever they were.
p.s. The other reason for the posting of the article was : there was no other news item on Nurin today!