Parliament website classic example of “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” afflicting Malaysia and stunting national potentials and capabilities to achieve Vision 2020 objectives

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang,  Sunday): The Parliament website,, 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 Standing Committees.

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 revolutions. 

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.

Although 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 website. 

For instance, the website of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom,,  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 Publications.
  • 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,,  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.

Are Malaysian  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 April 8?


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman