website classic example of “First World Infrastructure, Third World
Mentality” afflicting Malaysia and stunting national potentials and
capabilities to achieve Vision 2020 objectives
by Lim Kit Siang
The Parliament website,
http://www.parlimen.gov.my, is a classic example of the “First World
Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” afflicting Malaysia and stunting
national potentials and capabilities to achieve Vision 2020 objectives of
a fully developed nation.
A visit to the parliamentary website at 4
p.m., a day before the official opening of the fifth session of the tenth
Parliament tomorrow for a 17-day meeting of the Dewan Rakyat till April 8
and a 10-day meeting of Dewan Negara from April 14 – 29, will show an
absolute lack of any information about tomorrow’s royal opening of
Parliament, the Royal Address from the Throne or the about the
forthcoming parliamentary meetings – no order of business, no information
about parliamentary questions, motions or bills which will be debated by
MPs in the forthcoming meeting!
The Malaysian parliament website does not
breathe life but exudes decay and death – with useless and dead
information such as the times and dates of the parliament sittings.
It does not communicate any sense of
Parliament as the apex of the system of parliamentary democracy in
Malaysia, at the very centre of stirring events and forces in the country
and the world, whether it be the looming war in Iraq, the recent 13th
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit with Malaysia taking over the Chair of
NAM for the next three years; the worst dengue epidemic in the country
which has caused the most number of dengue cases and dengue fatalities in
the history of the nation and still killing people; the national economic
crisis from the looming war, the international perception of Malaysia as
an international “terrorist centre” and Malaysia’s serious slippage in the
battle for international competitiveness; the national education crisis
whether the controversy over People’s Religious Schools, the use of
English to teach mathematics and science in primary schools or the second
Mahathir education review committee; or other burning issues of the day
like the proposed national service programme, the failure in the war
against corruption, police abuses of power, human rights violations, the
glacial restoration of confidence in the rule of law; etc.
The parliament website is under the
responsibility of people who have no notion or respect for parliamentary
practices, conventions and traditions or the webpage under
“Jawatankuasa” would not be listed in the order of “Pemilih, Hak &
Kebebasan, Peraturan Mesyuarat, Kira-kira Wang Negara”, when the
Committee of Selection is the “mother” of all standing committees, as the
Committee of Selection, appointed by the Dewan Rakyat, is the appointing
body for all the other Standing Privileges, Standing Orders and House
It is not only a classic example the
recent stricture of the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi, of the “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality”
malaise, but positively a disgrace to Malaysia’s IT ambition to be at the
cutting edge of the information, communications and scientific
The parliament website still lists the MP
for Rompin, Dato' Dr. Jamaludin bin Dato' Mohd.
Jarjis as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, although Jamaludin
ceased to be PAC Chairman four months ago when he was appointed second
Finance Minister on 19th November last year.
Parliament had not met to appoint a new PAC chairman, the listing of
Jamaludin as PAC Chairman shows that the parliament website was as good
as left untouched for the past four months since the adjournment of the
last parliamentary meeting – an anathema in the 24/7 world of IT!
In fact, one
cannot but get the impression that the webmaster of the parliament website
regards himself as a Member of Parliament, who only starts work like MPs
when they gather in Parliament for the start of a parliamentary meeting –
and what work!
A quick visit to the other parliamentary
websites will highlight the grave shortcomings of the “First World
Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” of the Malaysian parliament
For instance, the website of the House of
Commons in the United Kingdom,
http://www.parliament.uk/, provides information not only about the
parliamentary business “The Week Ahead”, but also “Future Business”.
The materials available on the UK
Parliament website includes:
- Hansards of daily
debates including oral and written questions;
- Select Committee
- Questions for oral
and written answer (The “Question Book”). Available currently are
questions from the 10th March to 20th March, 2003.
with the oral questions listed for March 10, 11 and 12 while for the
sittings for March 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20, the explanation is given: “No
Questions have as yet been tabled for this day”
- Full text of all new
Public General Acts as originally passed by the UK Parliament – with the
declared aim to publish all new Acts of the UK Parliament on the
Internet simultaneously with or, at least within 24 hours of their
publication in printed form. (There is not a single Act passed by the
Malaysian Parliament which is available on its website despite its
seven-year Internet history!)
- Full text of Bills
before the UK Parliament.
A search engine to locate all UK
legislation going back to 1988.
A visit to
the Australia Parliament website,
http://www.aph.gov.au, shows that available online are not only the
latest information on current parliamentary business, Hansards, Acts and
Bills, but even research papers and publications by its Information and
Research Services Department of the Australian Parliametnary Library such
as Background Papers, Current Issues Briefs, Hot Issues and E-Briefs,
Research Notes, Research Papers, etc.
MPs content that the Malaysian Parliament should remain the most
classic example of “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality”
afflicting Malaysia – or whether they going to revamp the Parliament
homepage to send the message of “First World Infrastructure, First World
Mentality” before they disperse at the end of the parliamentary meeting on
* Lim Kit Siang,