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Saturday, April 10, 2004


No Live Telecast of Parliament

The DAP chairperson who will return to Parliament after a 5 year haitus has called for Parliamentary reforms. Lim Kit Siang, who is now the MP for Ipoh Timor, after winning in the recently concluded 11th election, is keen to see some changes in Parliament. He is likely to be the opposition leader in the new 11th Parliament. He has called for live telecast of Parlimentary proceedings and would like to see new parliamentary select committees set up on information technology, human rights, women’s agenda, environment, mass media and corruption. Lim has also called for extension of question time and allocation of certain days every week to deal specifically with matters involving the opposition. All these sounds good.

But it looks like all that Lim is thinking of is unlikely to see the light of day. The new MINIster-in-charge of Parliament has different views. This is reported by Bernama, quoting the new MINIster-in-Charge of Parliament, Datuk Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, as saying :: "I will recommend to the prime minister not to agree to this [Lim's] proposals. There are more negative consequences rather than positive outcomes." And what are these negative consequences worrying Nazri, the poor soul is worried that certain quarters might play to the gallery and fights might break out among our MPs! "There are scenes of MPs fighting in some countries. We don't want the people to watch such things here...furthermore there are times when the house may look deserted because the quorum is only 26," he added. Don't we the taxpayers have a right to be made aware of such things and happenings?

Live telecasts of Parliamentary proceeding would allow the people to see their MPs in action and also at the same time allow for those who are slacking and sleeping or nodding away to be spotted. They will also ensure that the MPs will be kept on the toes, will behave appropriately and discharge their responsiblities. The sexist remarks made in the past will be things of the past. Another possible good effect will be the lack of quorum during Parliamentary sessions will not occur as the MPs will realise that the electorate will be watching. Look on the bright side, Mr MINIster-in-Charge, there will surely be more positive consequences than negative ones.

We call upon the PM, who likes the truth and transparency, to give some thoughts to Lim's suggestion and make the new Parliament more transparent for all to see and hear.


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