Rejection of two urgent motions on the “burning issue” of Burma highlights the urgent need for the Speaker to discard obsolete thinking which are obstacles to the achievement of a First-World Parliament
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Friday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that civil servants should shed work cultures that are no longer relevant in this era, where people’s expectations of them are now much higher than they used to be.
In the same spirit, the Parliament Speaker should discard obsolete thinking which are no longer relevant to national aspirations that the Malaysian Parliament should transform itself into a First-World Parliament, playing its full role as the highest deliberative chamber of the land.
It is a setback to efforts to transform the Malaysian Parliament into a First-World Parliament that after the very successful and ground-breaking Workshop of ASEAN Parliamentarians on Myanmar organized by the Malaysian Pro-Democracy Myanmar Parliamentary Caucus on Nov. 26-28, two attempts to move urgent motions of definite public importance on the Burmese question were rejected by the Speaker on the most tenuous, untenable and unacceptable grounds.
My first motion was on the year-long extension of the house-arrest of Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi – which raises the question of the sincerity of the seven-step Roadmap to Democracy of the Myanmese military junta and the propriety for Myanmar to take over the ASEAN Chair for 2006 – and the second one on the warning by the United States to boycott ASEAN meetings if Myanmar takes over the ASEAN Chair, which would have far-reaching economic and other repercussions in the relations between ASEAN and individual ASEAN nations with the rest of the world, particularly the United States and the European Union.
The rejection of the first motion on the ground that it was not urgent was most unsound and unfortunate as the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has admitted in his Ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday that the Myanmar issue had remained a “burning issue” for the region. Furthermore, Hamid had been surprised by the Speaker’s rejection of the first motion, as he told me that he had come to Parliament that day fully ready to take part in the debate on my urgent motion.
The rejection of the second motion on the technical ground that it was the same matter as the first rejected motion was also misplaced, as they dealt with separate and distinct issues although both were on the Myanmar question.
The rejection of the two urgent motions on the “burning issue” of Burma highlights the urgent need for the Speaker to discard obsolete thinking which are obstacles to the achievement of a First-World Parliament
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman