Parliament next week will be at its most irrelevant and inconsequential as it will be completely overshadowed by the 54th UMNO General Assembly and Mahathir’s last appearance as UMNO President
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): Parliament reconvenes tomorrow for a two-week meeting, but it will be at its most irrelevant and inconsequential next week as it will be completely overshadowed by the 54th UMNO General Assembly and the last appearance of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as UMNO President.
Apart from the first sitting tomorrow, Parliament will be denuded of UMNO Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs for the rest of the week, with second, third and even fourth-string substitutes from other Barisan Nasional component parties to stand in for the UMNO Ministers during question time and debates on government bills to respond to Opposition queries and speeches.
National media attention will be focused on the Putra World Trade Centre and not on Parliament, although Parliament occupies the apex of the Malaysian system of parliamentary democracy, but which has become so perverted that there is live telecast of UMNO General Assembly debates and proceedings but not the case with parliamentary proceedings.
May be the most sensible thing MPs should do is to adjourn the Dewan Rakyat proceedings for the week at the end of tomorrow’s sitting, and to compensate for the early adjournment by lengthening the parliamentary meeting to the first week of July instead ending on 26th June as scheduled.
Unfortunately, the Dewan Rakyat is so irrelevant and inconsequential that no Barisan Nasional MP would dare to make such a proposal to spare Parliament the embarrassment of total marginalization by the UMNO General Assembly proceedings.
Parliament’s irrelevance and inconsequence is also self-induced as is evident from the desert of the Parliament website (http://www.parlimen.gov.my). Any visitor who wants to find out what parliamentary business will be transacted next week or tomorrow will be met with the information “The page cannot be displayed” when checking on “Aturan Urusan Mesyuarat”, “Penyata Rasmi”, “Rang Undang-Undang” and “Akta”, although all the other dead information about “Dewan Negara”, “Dewan Rakyat” and “Jawatankuasa” are still available.
This has not just happened today, as it was also the case last Sunday when I had wanted to check its “Penyata Rasmi”, which continued for the following three days which I had taken the trouble to check. Nobody knows how long this has been going on with the Parliamentary website despite the astronomical sums of money spent on it.
The government should stop boasting about its e-government programme with the new e-government and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Advisor Datuk Dr. Muhammad Rais Abdul Karim claiming that Malaysia is a model of e-government for other countries, in particular in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), until it could ensure that the Malaysian Parliament can put up a decent website which is not the international badge of IT shame for the country for the past six years.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman