Communications and Multimedia Minister Senator Salleh Said Keruak hit the nail on the head when he said yesterday that Parliament should not be turned into a circus.
However, Salleh would not have the guts and gumption to tell it to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is most guilty of turning Parliament into a circus when he delivered a 90-minute 2016 budget without a single reference to the two mega-scandals in the country’s history – the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib personal banking accounts in March 2013.
Salleh would not have the guts and gumption to tell Najib not to turn Parliament into a circus or he would have lost his passport of backdoor entry into Parliament!
The placard “Mana RM2.6 billion” (Where is the RM2.6 billion) which opposition MPs displayed in Dewan Rakyat after Najib’s budget speech resonates in the hearts and minds of 30 million Malaysians, even the three million UMNO members, and a few UMNO/BN Members of Parliament as this the topmost question they want answer from Najib’s 2016 Budget speech.
This was the huge elephant in the Dewan Rakyat Chamber which the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, his Cabinet and most of the UMNO/Barisan Nasional MPs refused to see or acknowledge, although the Opposition MPs, the 30 million Malaysians (including the three million UMNO members), and a few UMNO/BN MPs could see clearly before their eyes.
In fact, for the first week, the UMNO/BN Government had been treating Parliament like a circus, firstly, in blackballing all questions about the twin mega-scandals of RM50 billion 1MDB (according to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister to the UMNO Cheras Division on July 26) and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts.
Malaysiakini reported on Monday that the parliament secretariat had rejected in chambers at least seven questions related to controversies surrounding Najib and 1MDB, three from PKR MP for Alor Setar Gooi Hsiao-Leung, two from PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua, one from PKR MP for Kelana Jaya Wong Chen and one from AMANAH MP for Kuala Terengganu, Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah.
I believe many more questions on 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal had been rejected in chambers.
I have one question rejected by the Parliament Secretary, asking Najib “whether Malaysia has a kleptocrat as Prime Minister and whether there is satisfactory explanation by US Government on investigation by US Department of Justice under its Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative involving the Prime Minister”.
The seven questions cited by Malaysiakini were three questions from Gooi Hsiao-Leung, on the US Justice Department’s reported corruption probe on 1MDB, on whether he had received RM42 million from a company linked to SRC international in his private accounts as reported by the Wall Street Journal and on whether Najib’s lawyers Hafarizam Wan and Aisha Mubarak were being paid by the government for representing him in his pending lawsuit against the WSJ.
The two questions from Tian Chua were whether 1MDB accounts had been frozen in Switzerland and Hong Kong, and if the government would be cooperating with the probe there; and secondly, on the US Justice Department’s reported corruption probe on 1MDB.
Wong Chen asked the finance ministry for a copy of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia’s (YR1M) accounts particularly with regard to what the RM190 million donation from the Genting Group was spent on while Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah’s question was on whether the federal government, through the Terengganu Investment Authority, had wanted to use Terengganu’s oil as collateral.
In fact, the government has been spending the whole of the first week of Parliament avoiding and evading questions about the two mega-scandals.
This was vividly highlighted in a written reply of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Azalina Othman to the Penang Chief Minister and MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng, who had asked Najib on the source of the RM2.6 billion donation, how was it spent, how much balance is left; as well as who the money was spent on, if taxes were paid and if there was a formal declaration.
Azalina parried the question by saying that the government will answer questions about the RM2.6 billion donation received by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and other related queries during the current sitting of Parliament but exact date for this would be determined later.
A question from Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) regarding the donation and the missing US$1 billion payment to IPIC also received the same reply.
Azalina was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to answer parliamentary questions, and not to perform parliamentary acrobatics like circus juggling.
What Azalina had done was completely unprecedented, whether in Malaysian Parliament or in Commonwealth Parliaments, as this must be the first time in world parliamentary history that a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department has been appointed to “juggle” answers!
Azalina has in fact shown supreme contempt of the Speaker and Parliament in her “juggling” of answers when she said that the government will answer questions about the RM2.6 billion donation received by Najib and other related queries during the current sitting of Parliament but exact date for this would be determined later.
Is Azalina trying to say that the government has no real answers to these questions and has not decided what is the best and most convincing way to “bluff” its way in Parliament?
Who is reducing Parliament to a circus?
I do not really want to mention the rigmarole of a parliamentary proceeding over my suspension from Parliament for six months.
The Speaker does not understand that two wrongs do not make a right.
One reason which the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia advanced why disciplinary action must be taken against me was that the Speaker would lose all credibility if he is seen to be taken action against young MPs like the MP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo but dare not take disciplinary action against “veteran” MPs like me.
Firstly, it was wrong for the Speaker to suspend Gobind from Parliament for making an innocuous statement that the Speaker “has to be honest and has to be clear dalam apa-apa keputusan yang dibuat” – which would not cause any disciplinary action in more robust Parliaments or less touchy Speakers.
Having committed a first wrong, the commission of a second wrong with my six-month suspension in Parliament does not make the whole situation right.
As I said in Parliament, I was only the latest victim of the 1MBD “Monster” which is stalking the land devouring critics, which had reduced Parliament into a circus again highlighted by Najib’s 2016 Budget without any reference whatsoever to the two mega scandals.
Najib has disappointed 30 million Malaysians including the three million UMNO members, as well as the Malay Rulers who, in their unprecedented statement of Oct. 6. had called for investigations into the 1MDB scandal to be completed as soon as possible and to take “appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated, when there was no reference whatsoever to these two mega scandals.
Instead, Najib has performed the Disappearing Rabbit Magic Trick for the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals in his 2016 Budget.
But Najib is not the latest David Copperfield in Malaysia – but the country’s sixth Prime Minister and Finance Minister who is expected to account fully for the two mega-scandals undermining the national economy by being the chief cause for the confidence deficit of Malaysians well as foreign investors.
Najib must stand up in Parliament to answer questions from MPs and the nation on the twin mega scandals of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal banking accounts, or he should step down as Prime Minister and Finance Minister!