Call on Barisan Nasional MPs to speak up to support the live telecast,  reform and modernization of Parliament

Media Conference Statement (3)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Tuesday): I find it very disappointing that Barisan Nasional MPs, although they dominate over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats, have been silent on the issue of the live telecast, reform and modernization of Parliament. 

I call on Barisan Nasional MPs to speak up to support the live telecast, reform and modernization of Parliament, which should not be regarded as a political party matter, but a strictly parliamentary issue where every MP, regardless of whether ruling coalition or opposition, should be allowed to speak his or her mind without being subject to the party whip or discipline. 

All MPs of the 11th Parliament, whether government or opposition, should demonstrate the “Malaysia Boleh” rather than the “Malaysia Tidak Boleh” spirit on the live telecast, reform and modernization of Parliament. 

The Information Minister, Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir wants RM54 million to provide live telecast of Parliament this year, on the ground that it would cost RTM RM100,000 just to telecast one hour of the Parliament sitting. 

I do not believe that RTM requires RM54 million to provide live telecast for 89 days of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara proceedings for this year, as it must only be a fraction of the astronomical amount quoted by Kadir. 

If Kadir or the government is serious about live telecast of Parliament as an important step to open up the Parliament to the Malaysian citizenry to usher in a new era of good governance, accountability and transparency, then the government should be prepared to offer anyone who is prepared to provide the public service of live telecast of Parliament a free television franchise. 

In any event, DAP is on public record as offering to provide live webcast of parliamentary proceedings through the Internet at only one per cent of the RM54 million quoted by Kadir, and I would ask the Cabinet to seriously consider my request for a start-up grant of RM500,000 to launch such a live webcast of parliamentary proceedings. 

Barisan Nasional MPs should be in the forefront to propose reform and modernization of Parliament so that Parliament  can play a leading role to resolve the “Governance Crisis” in Malaysia. 

The Indonesian Parliament has some 40 researchers to help MPs to ensure quality debate and participation in parliamentary deliberations – but Malaysia, which is supposed to be more advanced and progressive than Indonesia in this regard, does not have a single researcher to help MPs in Parliament after half a century of parliamentary history.  This and many other important  areas of parliamentary reform and modernization must be urgently looked into and resolved if we are going to have a “First World Parliament”!


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor