By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Nov 29: The absence of many members of parliament reflects the weakness in the parliamentary administrator, which should be addressed immediately, said Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
The former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker expressed disappointment over the recent absenteeism by his fellow members, which had resulted the Parliamentary sitting to be halted twice, due to the lack of quorum, on Oct 17 and Nov 20.
Wan Junaidi believed he has the weight to be critical on the matter, being a former deputy speaker and MP for almost 30 years, as he has special knowledge in parliamentary administration and its law.
“I am also the consultant for various parties who want to ask questions on parliamentary privilege and I can speak with authority on the matter.
“Lately, there are so many ridiculous excuses by Pakatan Harapan members of parliament for their absenteeism, such as from having to sit at freezing temperature to the extent of complaining that they felt tired during the meeting at the Dewan Rakyat.
“I am much older than these MPs and I never made such ridicule complain of being cold and complaining of being tired in the meeting,” he told reporters at his Santubong parliamentary service centre here today.
This following a briefing by state Public Works Department (JKR) and the state Health Department on projects that were postponed or delayed at his constituency.
Wan Junaidi described all the ridicule excuses by members of parliament as a recalcitrant act, and that the main problem is the management of the parliament by the government chief whip and the assistants.
He said in the previous government, the chief whip’s assistants will help the ministers in the Dewan Rakyat to record attendance of all the members of parliament.
“This to ensure that there is enough quorum during the debate and secondly, to ensure that the government will not be defeated in case there is a split vote by members at the Dewan Rakyat.”
Wan Junaidi revealed many ways were tried by the oppositions in those days to split the votes, but the government always win and there were no objections.
“There was also no delay in counting of votes to support the debate at the Dewan Rakyat and unlike now there is a delay. Even Barisan Nasional (BN) members of parliament objected to it (delay) and said that there are no such regulations when Barisan was the government.”
Despite no timeline for counting of votes in the Dewan Rakyat, he claimed that such actions and practices are very obvious now and that even the speaker was helping the ruling coalition.
“This act has never happened in the Dewan Rakyat before and I never come across such delay tactics of ‘long count time’ being implemented.
“This means, it is the management. The government chief whip is not in place, their people (Pakatan Harapan MPs) do not hear instructions and their minister or deputy ministers are nowhere to be found unlike before,” he alleged.
He called on all MPs to uphold the Dewan Rakyat laws and regulations, as it is their duty as lawmakers to do so as a responsible government.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had questioned the professionalism of some members of parliament who had been absent from the parliamentary sessions.
He said that he would talk to the MPs, following the second incident that the current sitting had to be halted due to not enough quorum in the Dewan Rakyat.
“They were anxious to become candidates before the elections, but after they were elected, they don’t seem to be very serious about serving the people,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying on Nov 21. — DayakDaily