It’s quite a feat – Parliament inflicted three black eyes on itself in one day!
Yesterday was one of the darkest days in the history of the 56-year Parliament in Malaysia, for in one day, it scaled a new height of shame and dishonour with a trio of disgraceful parliamentary episodes, viz:
• The “cop-out” in the three-minute Ministerial statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi dismissing some 90 parliamentary questions about Najib’s RM2.6 billion and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals in the 25-day budget parliamentary meeting;
• The petty and spiteful persecution of PKR Vice Chairman and MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar virtually convicting her of disloyalty and treason to Malaysia, and referring her to the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges under terms of reference which can only allow the Committee to propose the “commensurate” penalties to be meted out to her; and
• What has been fittingly described by a former Malaysian ambassador as “the final step in the Zimbabweisation of Malaysia”.
It is to the eternal shame of Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia that so many shameful and disgraceful records could be set by the Malaysian Parliament in one day under his Speakership!
How could the Speaker allow the UMNO/BN government to show such utter contempt and disrespect for Parliament as to allow Zahid to make a farcical and outrageous three-minute Ministerial statement that Putrajaya could not elaborate on the RM2.6 billion deposited in Najib’s personal bank accounts as it would prejudice investigations by the authorities after promising for more than six weeks from Oct. 19 to Dec. 2 that the government would answer all the questions about Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal on the last day of the parliamentary meeting yesterday?
Are all Malaysians now to learn that assurances, undertakings and promises given by Cabinet Ministers, including the Prime Minister, are not to be believed or trusted as illustrated by the disgraceful episode of the three-minute dismissal of the questions on Najib’s RM2.6 billion donation scandal?
DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng had asked Najib very specific questions on the first day of the Parliamentary meeting on Oct. 19 – on the source of the RM2.6 billion donation, how was it spent and how much balance is left; who the money was spent on, if taxes were paid and if there was a formal declaration.
How could answer to these questions be sub judice or prejudice ongoing investigations by the authorities unless someone is lying and such stone-walling is to stop exposes of such lies and falsehoods?
If Najib is allowed to set such an outrageous precedent, then he can similarly refuse to answer any question about the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal on the same ground that might prejudice ongoing investigations into the matter by the authorities – and win total immunity from accountability and even being questioned on any scandal in Parliament!
With his refusal to honour the government undertaking to answer all questions about the RM2.6 billion donation scandal, Najib has lost all credibility about the high-falutin promises about commitment to the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance which is supposed to be the core of his National Transformation Programme, which can now be chucked into the drain following Najib’s refusal to come clean on the twin mega scandals in Parliament.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said said that the sub judice reason was the advice given by the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to the Prime Minister for not answering questions about the RM2.6 billion donation.
Is this true? Did the Attorney-General give ‘sub judice’ as the reason why the Prime Minister should not answer questions about the RM2.6 billion donation scandal in Parliament?
If so, Apandi Ali should be sacked as Attorney-General especially as a former Federal Court judge, Gopal Sri Ram and two former Court of Appeal judges, Mohamad Ariff Mohd Yusuf and Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus disagreed with the argument of sub judice put forward by the government as the reason why the Prime Minister did not answer questions in Parliament on the RM2.6 billion donation scandal.
How can Malaysia have an Attorney-General who does not even understand the concept and meaning of ‘sub judice’?
The second black-eye which Parliament inflicted on itself yesterday was the vindictive persecution of Nurul Izzah over the Nurul-Jacel photograph.
It is another shameful episode in the annals of Malaysian Parliament, mobilizing the brute majority of the government coalition accusing and convicting Nurul of disloyalty and treason and referring her to the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges to decide on what “commensurate” penalties to be meted out to her.
If Nurul is guilty of treason, then charge her in a court of law but it is no business of Parliament to become a “kangaroo court” to pass a motion to convict and refer her to the Committee of Privileges on the commensurate penalties to be meted out to her – which is taking parliamentary abuses and excesses in Malaysia to a new heights.
The third self-inflicted black-eye of Parliament yesterday was the indecent haste with which the Najib government rushed through the enactment of the National Security Counci Bill, which former Malaysian High Commissioner to Canada Dennis Ignatius has condemned as “the final step in the ‘Zimbabweisation’ of Malaysia and a prelude to dictatorship”.
As Dennis has eloquently described it, the National Security Council Bill “is more about consolidating power, silencing dissent, stifling the opposition and intimidating the people than anything else. It is a power grab plain and simple, the end game in Umno’s strategy of acquiring absolute and total power.”
This is what Dennis fear will come to pass:
“It will crush what’s left of our democracy. It will institutionalise kleptocracy. It will bring us closer to the day when we will once again be ruled by a national operations council. It will make peaceful change impossible.
“It is an act of desperation by a government fearful of its own people and terrified of change. As the man in the street knows all too well, the greatest threat to Malaysia today is not from subversion, incursion or invasion but from a government which has increasingly abused its authority, corrupted our institutions, and undermined our social fabric just to stay in power.”
How can the Malaysian Parliament inflict three black eyes on itself in just one day under a reforming Speaker!?