Archive for November 4th, 2008

Three Higher Education Ministers in 4 years


A rare parliamentary sight not seen for decades – eight UMNO Ministers queuing up in Parliament till 11.30 pm last night to reply

A rare parliamentary sight in Parliament for decades – eight Umno Ministers queuing up in Parliament till 11.30 pm yesterday to take their turn to reply in the 2009 Budget debate yesterday.

Clearly, my Sunday speech to the DAP Kuala Lumpur Convention castigating Umno Ministers for neglecting their parliamentary, Cabinet and national responsibilities because of the protracted Umno party elections and suggesting that they take five-month leave so as to ensure that the people and country do not suffer because of their party politicking when Malaysia faces the worst global economic crisis in 80 years has hit home and taken instantaneous effect.

On Thursday, two Umno Ministers, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein played truant from their Ministerial duties when they were absent in the winding-up of their Ministries, passing the buck to their deputy ministers.

If Hamid and Hishammuddin think that their deputy ministers were equal to them and could reply of behalf of their Ministries as effectively as they themselves could, then it is time they resign and give way to their two deputies to become full ministers! Read the rest of this entry »


Azmi’s unilateral rush as PAC Chairman to whitewash Eurocoper helicopter deal fiasco

Public Accounts Committee Chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid has provided the most eloquent testimony why there is a Commonwealth parliamentary convention that a senior Opposition parliamentarian should be head of the PAC (and why a Minister who has just stepped down from the Cabinet should not head the PAC) if the parliamentary watchdog committee is not to be bullied or overawed by the Executive to rubber-stamp or whitewash controversial government decisions like the RM1.6 billion 12 Couger EC725 Eurocopter deal fiasco.

Yesterday, Azmi announced that the PAC had cleared the government of any procedural abuse in the RM1.604 billion Eurocopter helicopter deal and that the deal “was done in accordance with procedures”.

Is Azmi aware that his announcement clearing the government of any procedural abuse in the helicopter tender process has created consternation, disbelief and dismay among right-thinking Malaysians and undermined public confidence in the institution of Parliament for it runs counter to the clear and grave procedural abuse in the tender process requiring physical evaluation and in this case, test flights of the helicopters shorted-listed?

How can Azmi claim on the one hand that there is no procedural abuse in the tender process and yet in the next breath admit to the fact that there was the grave procedural abuse of no physical evaluation and test flight of the helicopters concerned? Read the rest of this entry »


Are MCMC/Ministry dumb or just subservient to Telekom Malaysia?

“Are MCMC/Ministry dumb or just subservient to Telekom Malaysia?”

This is the question I posed to the Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor in Parliament at close to 11 pm last night when winding up the debate on behalf of his Ministry on the 2009 Budget debate.

I had queried Shaziman on why Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) was awarded the RM11.3 billion HSBB (High Speed Broadband) project, subsidised with RM2.4 billion of taxpayers’ money, when there was an alternative proposal by HSBT (High Speed Broadband Technology Sdn Bhd) offering to build a similar network without any subsidy?

I also challenged the government’s rationale in awarding the HSBB to Telekom when Telekom must bear the greatest responsibility for Malaysia’s failure to become a broadband power, left far behind in the past decade by other countries when Malaysia had started on an equal broadband footing with them.

South Korea has now a broadband penetration rate of 93 per cent and Hong Kong at 30 per cent, as compared to Malaysia’s 13 per cent (Shaziman corrected me and claimed that Malaysia’s broadband penetration rate is now 17%) which includes Malaysia’s most extraordinary “low broadband speed”! Read the rest of this entry »