Yesterday, another dubious parliamentary "first" was created when for the first time in over four decades of Malaysian parliamentary history, the parliamentary secretary to the Ministry for Education replied on behalf of his Minister in a policy debate.
Where was the Education Minister, Tan Sri Senator Musa Mohamad and two Deputy Education Ministers, Datuk Senator Abdul Aziz Samsuddin and Hon Choon Kim that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry, Dr Mahadzir Mohd Khir had to take the floor to reply to MPs in Parliament in the winding-up of the Royal Address debate yesterday?
If Musa Mohamad was so busy that he could not attend Dewan Rakyat to discharge his Ministerial duties, why couldn’t anyone of the two Deputy Education Ministers stand in for him?
Or was the Education Ministry so busy that all three of them were too busy, and if so, they should make public the reasons for their absence from Parliament.
Already, three of the four key posts in the Education Ministry are occupied by unelected Senators, which is a most unsatisfactory arrangement.
The appointment of two academicians is supposed to signifiy the depoliticisation of the education ministry, but it cannot also mean the downgrading of the importance of Parliament as the important forum for the Education Minister and his two Deputy Ministers to appear and answer to speeches and questions from MPs.
The new Education Minister should ensure that the dubious parliamentary "first"yesterday would not be repeated in the rest of the parliamentary session.