(Ipoh, Tuesday): Tonight’s forum on parliamentary
reforms has been organized by Perak DAP to specially mark the end of the
six-month victimization of the nation’s youngest woman DAP MP for Batu Gajah,
Fong Po Kuan by a mindless, brutal and tyrannical
Barisan Nasional four-fifth parliamentary majority, punishing her by
suspending her as an MP for six months without allowance – unheard and
unprecedented in Commonwealth parliamentary history – for daring to discharge
her parliamentary duties to speak
up for the people, particularly over the Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP)
examination multiple scandals of leakage of examination questions and falsifying
I congratulate Fong Po Kuan for passing
the six-month “baptism of fire” with flying colours, proving that “True
Gold Fears No Furnace Fire” and demonstrating her gut, gumption and grit to
defend the peope’s rights and to continue with vim, vigour and vitality to
fight for her political convictions.
Po Kuan is a credit not only to the
voters of Batu Gajah who elected
her into Parliament but also to the
people of Perak and Malaysia, as well as to Malaysian women and youths, as a
shining example that political idealism, selfless public service and dedication
to the cause of the people are not
dead in materialistic and hedonistic Malaysia of
the 21st century – giving hope for a better tomorrow where there is justice, freedom, democracy
and good governance for all Malaysians.
When Po Kuan returns to the Parliament
chambers next Monday on June 17, she can hold her head high and
look in the eye all the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs, including the
Speaker, who had brought shame and dishonour to Parliament and the Malaysian
nation, locally and in the international arena, with such a blatant abuse and
flaunting of majority strength in
Parliament in utter disregard of
the basic notions of decency, justice and fair play.
The Fong Po Kuan case is the latest
illustration that Malaysia does not
have a strong Parliament and why the nation fails the three tests as to whether
there is genuine
representative democracy, a good and accountable government and whether
Malaysians have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.
does sound paradoxical to say that there is
no strong Parliament when the
Barisan Nasional commands four-fifth majority in Parliament and
the ruling coalition had enjoyed
unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority in the past 44 years
the strong Parliamentary dominance of the Barisan Nasional does not translate
into a strong Parliament and is actually the
cause for the emasculation and castration of Parliament by a domineering
Executive which, particularly in the past two decades, had relentlessly
encroached into Parliamentary privileges and usurped Parliamentary powers –
producing an effete, impotent and even useless Parliament.
is why when for close to half a century, Commonwealth Parliaments had produced
tombs of reports on parliamentary reforms and modernizations, and experimented
with innovative ideas and proposals to make the legislatures more authoritative
and respected by their governments to give substance to the principles of
parliamentary democracy and accountable government, Malaysia has gone backwards.
Commonwealth Parliaments have set up specialist committees, even with one
committee for each Ministry to monitor and hold the government to account, but
Malaysia has not only refused to embark on the road of parliamentary reform,
traditional Select Committees, like the Privileges, Standing Orders and
House Committees have been stripped of their functions and powers although they
continue to exist in name.
Po Kuan’s case, for instance, should be referred to the Committee of
Privileges of the Dewan Rakyat for an inquiry as to whether she had committed
any breach of privilege, but the over-mighty Executive decided that reference to
the Privileges Committee was superfluous when it had the four-fifth majority to
allow it to be prosecutor, judge, jury and executor all in one and turn
Parliament into a “kangaroo court”.
had also been the plight of the House and Standing Orders Committees, existing
only in name but effectively denuded of their functions by the
Executive, which decides how the Speaker should decide in Parliament!
first step to restore Parliamentary democracy where Parliament is the keystone
of democractic accountability of government and
cease to be the rubber-stamp
of the Executive, is to elect a strong Parliament to ensure greater checks and balances in
our system of government.
unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority of the ruling coalition is the fatal
flaw of the Malaysian system of parliamentary democracy, creating
not a strong Parliament but a strong Executive and even stronger Prime
Minister rendering Parliament effete, impotent and even useless to carry out
effectively the trinity of its functions to legislate, to deliberate and to hold
the government to account.
is no chance or hope whatsoever for meaningful parliamentary reforms to restore
a meaningful system of parliamentary democracy
unless the political hegemony of the ruling coalition is broken by
bringing to an end its suffocating
Only then is it possible to restore
Parliament as a place where the Executive is held properly to account by Members
of Parliament, where the Government policy is first announced and tested and
where the terms of trade between the Government and Parliament are shifted back
in favour of the latter.
Fong Po Kuan case of victimization highlighted by a too strong Executive
and too weak Parliament be an eye-opener to Malaysians as to why they should
rally behind the call to attain the elusive goal in Malaysian history in the
next general election to deny the Barisan Nasional its unbroken two-thirds
parliamentary majority and to crush once and for all its political hegemony –
to allow the flowering of democracy, freedom and a vibrant civil society.