Tag Archives: perak state assembly

Halt the “Political Circus”

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Malaysians generally are a forgiving lot. But can Perakeans continue to condone the idiosyncrasies of their elected representatives at their behest?

Nothing can be more disturbing than to see our august State Assembly turning into a house of ill repute. No, not in the true sense of the word but literally. That is what it implies if events unfolding, prior to and during a sitting, are anything to go by. Each sitting is being characterised by a shouting match between opposing benches which ultimately ends in a walkout by the Opposition. This has been the trend ever since Barisan Nasional wrested control from Pakatan Rakyat on February 6, 2009.

The latest sitting on Monday, August 15 was no exception. It started at 10.00 a.m. and ended at 12.30 p.m. – the shortest in the annals of the Perak State Assembly. Within a period of 150 minutes, the only issue of substance debated, which elicited some very heated exchanges of words and expletives, was the controversial RM5.8 billion Liquefied Natural Gas in Tanjung Hantu, Manjung.

The Opposition’s ire was aroused over questions as to how a project of such magnitude is being awarded to a “company with no records of business dealings and no contact numbers”. The company “with a paid-up capital of RM100 suddenly had RM5 million in its kitty when a report was lodged with the federal anti-corruption commission”.

Nothing can be achieved if those we elect to office are only interested in going after each other’s throat rather than debate on issues of common interest. Democratic principles are being subverted for reasons of incompatibility among the lawmakers. Malaysians generally are a forgiving lot. But can Perakeans continue to condone the idiosyncrasies of their elected representatives at their behest?

The supposedly two-day sitting ended abruptly when the Opposition walked out after protesting vehemently that Speaker Ganeson was biased. “Whenever it’s our turn to speak our microphones are switched off but BN assemblymen are allowed to speak without disruption,” said former Menteri Besar and Opposition Leader, Dato’ Seri Muhammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

The walkout was prompted by the non-acceptance of a motion by Ganeson to recuse himself from the Speaker’s chair. The issue which the Opposition found wanting was the suspension of Khalid Idham Lim Abdullah (Pas-Titi Serong) which, according to Ganeson, was debated and passed during the April 15 sitting.

Although many may question the sincerity of the opposite bench there is an element of complicity involved here. Barisan Nasional’s propensity for rushing through an assembly sitting and blaming their opposite number, whenever the inevitable happens, only helps to accentuate the misery.

A compromise needs to be reached if our elected representatives have the interests of the rakyat at heart. But will such a situation occur when both sides are continually at logger heads?

There are many issues that need to be discussed and debated in a civilised manner. After all, this is to be expected of a civil society that upholds democratic values and principles.

Over a hundred and fifty questions, posed by all 59 representatives, were being slated for deliberation. Unfortunately, none saw the light of day. The questions ranged from the contentious to the absurd. Most had to do with developments and funding of projects in both rural and urban areas. One which I found amusing is, why two roads in Greentown Business Centre are being turned into a one-way thoroughfare.

The questions, simple though some may be, are indicative of the rakyat’s desire for answers and actions from the authorities. But this is not to be as the assembly, due to the insensitivity of some, is more apt to make a nuisance of matters relating to the rakyat’s welfare.

President Obama miffed by his opponents’ attempt to derail his economic recovery plans, called on the Republicans in the US Congress to “halt the political circus”. I feel the political circus in the Perak State Assembly should be halted as well.

12th State Assembly in Brief

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The fourth session of the 12th Perak State Assembly held over four days from April 12 to 15 went on with few hitches. Notwithstanding that, the sitting, a follow-up of the postponed March session, which was construed as an attempt to deny Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen the opportunity to canvass in the Sarawak state election on April 16, had its fair share of hiccups.

Some of the matters debated and heated exchanges recorded between the two opposing sides, following the royal address by the Regent of Perak, DYAM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, are as follows:

MACC Probe on Senior Exco. Dato’ Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Pasir Panjang) claimed that a senior executive councilor was detained and questioned by the MACC for corruption. Nizar alleged that the exco’s sister and a relative were similarly questioned. He had documentary proof to substantiate his claims. The allegation, however, was refuted by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir who said that he was unaware that there was such an investigation by the anti-corruption commission. “I cannot comment because the matter was not brought to my attention. They (MACC) didn’t brief me,” he told reporters.

Land for Squatters and Civil Servants. Giving land to eligible civil servants to build houses under the Structured Housing Plan (Racangan Perumahan Tersusun) would not deny squatters’ rights, said Perak Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

“Priority is given to squatters while the remaining lots are given to those in the middle income group, including civil servants,” he said when winding up debate on the royal address.

Zambry was responding to a question from Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Sitiawan) who questioned the merit of giving land to civil servants as they could well afford to buy their own houses.

Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) said that the practice should not be discontinued as it did not entail corruption.

Bus Service and Flooding. Ong Boon Piow (DAP-Tebing Tinggi) highlighted the poor and non-existent bus service in Tebing Tinggi. Loke Chee Yan (DAP-Kepayang) raised the problem of flooding in Kepayang due to the bottleneck below the Fair Park Bridge. “No solutions seem to be forthcoming,” he lamented.

Visit Perak Year 2012. Nolee Ashilin (BN-Tualang Sekah) enquired about plans for Kampar District for Visit Perak 2012. The spill-over, she reasoned, would benefit her constituency especially its home-stay programme which she helped developed.

Two Amendments Approved. The assembly approved two amendments – the Menteri Besar Corporation Enactment 1951 (Amendment 2011) and the State Agriculture Development Corporation Enactment (Amendment 2011). The amendments concern the appointment of qualified Perakeans to the post of CEO of the corporations. Zambry allayed fears by the Opposition that the posts would be filled by cronies of the Establishment. “They will be given to deserving Perakeans,” he remarked.

Situation Under Control. In spite of the many heated moments, Speaker Dato’ Ganesan seemed to have the situation well under control. His constant reminder to assemblymen to stick to the issues at hand and the allotted time limit had the desired effect.

Walk Out. The entire 4-day sitting proceeded smoothly until the very last day when the whole opposition bench staged a walkout, minutes before recess. This happened when Speaker Ganeson announced that the Rights and Privileges Committee had suspended Dr Khalil Idham Lim (Pas-Titi Serong) on the first day of the next state assembly sitting.

Khalil was cited for accusing a BN assemblyman of bringing a bomoh into the august house during the 2009 assembly sitting. Khalil rejected the committee’s decision claiming that it had contravened the house standing orders.

Adjournment. Ganeson adjourned the sitting sine die on Friday, April 15 concluding a comparatively tame fourth session of the state assembly.

JAG

State Assembly in Session

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The 4th session of the 12th Perak State Assembly was officially opened by the Regent of Perak, DYAM Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, on  April 12. The Regent inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Royal Malaysian Police before declaring open the assembly session.

In his royal address, Raja Dr Nazrin announced that under the rolling” Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011 to 2012), the Federal Government has approved a sum of RM3.6 billion for 346 development programmes and projects in the state.

They included a police housing complex in Kuala Kangsar, costing RM27 million and the Fire and Rescue Department Headquarters at Bandar Meru Raya, costing RM 20 million.

Under the health programme, expansion and upgrading of hospitals and clinics worth RM371.2 million are in the pipeline. Facilities and services at district hospitals, GH Taiping and GH Ipoh will also be upgraded and improved under the programme.

The Assembly will be in session till Friday, April 15.

JAG

 

 

Perak State Assembly Failed To Reflect a Working State Government

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On the 1st day YAB Raja Muda Raja Nazrin

The Third Session of the 12th Perak State Assembly, which was officially opened by the Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah on March 30, has again failed to reflect a “working state government.”

This is the general view of NGOs and members of public in the city. They said since May 7, last year, the State Assembly meetings have been in shambles.

Even an important meeting, such as the presentation of the annual budget on October 28, last year, was rushed through without much debate following a walk-out by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat’s assemblymen.

And so over the last three sessions, the State Assembly had sat down for a total of six hours during which time no serious debates took place and the meetings hastily concluded.

Although the opening day of the recent sittings went on without incident, the second day saw the house descending into an uproar almost immediately from the start which culminated with the opposition staging a walk-out.

As a result, the debate on a vote of thanks to the Raja Muda and as well as the question-and-answer session were hurriedly conducted and the meeting ended abruptly.

Under normal circumstances, the state assemblymen would participate in the debates and as well as getting their questions answered.

“The people had elected their representatives to air their views and grouses which can only be addressed effectively at the State Assembly forums”, commented president of Ipoh City Watch, Mr Augustine Anthony. “Since for the last three sessions there had been only a few hours of work done it would be best to dissolve the assembly and have a re-election to enable a workable government.”

President of the Perak Bar Committee En Mad Diah bin Endut remarked that the elected representatives should do their job as expected from them even under difficult situations.

Ipoh City is represented by 13 State Assemblymen each of whom are allowed to submit three oral and five written questions to the house per sitting.

Overall the general expectation of the public who called Ipoh Echo to air their views was to have a working state government and hoped it would happen at the next State Assembly meeting. They felt that both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat should stop politicking and concentrate on issues that would benefit the people and the state.

JAG