Ibrahim an one-eyed political "frog" who cannot see that Malaysia has the highest truancy rate of  Ministers absenting themselves from Parliament

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ibrahim Ali has ignominously backed down from his earlier statement that the government was  considering changing the law to bar lawyers from politics. It sets a record of its own as the most inane proposal ever to have been made by either a Minister or Deputy Minister in the past four decades.

In trying to save face, Ibrahim Ali said he had been misunderstood and what he meant was that a  practising lawyer elected as a Member of Parliament or state assemblyman  should stop practising during his tenure and be "a full-fledged politician". He said lawyers elected to Parliament or State Assemblies could not attend sittings if they were in court while some cases may have to be postponed if lawyers were in Parliament or State Assemblies.

Ibrahim Ali is the most famous "political frog" in Malaysia, and raises the question as to what is the use of a full-fledged politician if he is also a full-fledged "political frog".  But Ibrahim Ali also  appears to be a "one-eyed" political frog who cannot see that Malaysia has the highest truancy rate of  Ministers absent from Parliament.

It is the rule rather than the exception to see the whole Ministerial bloc in the Malaysian Parliament  totally empty, without a single Minister present - which must be a rare sight  in Commonwealth Parliaments. There are Ministers who do not turn up in Parliament at all, whether to answer questions relating to their Ministry or to give an accountability about the performance of their Ministries.
In the last Parliamentary meeting in July for instance, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad never attended a single sitting.

So far, Malaysian Ministers can get away with such parliamentary irresponsibility because the Barisan Nasional is invariably re-elected into office with a two-third parliamentary majority - which has bred in the Barisan Ministers and MPs a political arrogance which is completely antithetical to the democratic culture and spirit of accountability, responsibility and transparency.

This is an important reason why in the next election the Barisan Nasional political hegemony as a result of unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority should be broken to introduce greater humility, humanity, accountability and justice into the system of governance in Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong