Fong Chan Onn set the first bad Ministerial
example in new Parliament in giving a most irresponsible and unsatisfactory
answer, evading the real issue of his own negligence and culpability for
the unconscionable delays in referring industrial disputes to Industrial
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Thursday): Human Resources Minister, Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn has set the first bad Ministerial example in the new Parliament in giving a most irresponsible and unsatisfactory answer, evading the real issue of his own negligence and culpability for the unconscionable delays in resolving industrial disputes and referring cases to the Industrial Court.
DAP Acting Secretary-General and MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran had asked Fong about the long and oppressive delays in the industrial relations system to dispense industrial justice, whether at the industrial relations office, Ministerial or the industrial court level.
Fong had given a completely unacceptable, unsatisfactory and irresponsible answer in failing to address one of the biggest causes of the oppressive delays in the industrial relations system - his own Ministerial irresponsibility to act conscientiously to expedite the entire process of dispensing industrial justice.
He knew what I was referring to when I interjected during question time to ask him to explain his Ministerial failure and negligence, making him a Minister for Industrial Injustice, in particular taking six long years for him to refer a dismissal case, involving a Malay driver of a bus company to Industrial Court - who was dismissed in January 1998 and Fong only referred his case to the Industrial Court six years later in January 2004.
I also asked Fong why there are 6,000 disputes, mostly over dismissal, which are still on his desk awaiting his decision to refer them to the Industrial Court, but which he did not have the courage to answer!
If Parliament is to be a “First World Parliament”, Ministers must change their mindset by giving top priority to their parliamentary duties with regular attendance and not as in the past, delegating their responsibilities to Deputy Ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Equally important, Ministers must do their home work beforehand and give full respect to Parliament by coming with responsible answers and not avoid the real issues, as Fong had done this morning.
We give notice that in the Ministerial winding-up in the debate on the Royal Address next week, Fong should stop evading the issue of the six-year reference of a dismissal case to the Industrial Court (which is a gross injustice in itself) and the backlog of 6,000 cases on the Minister’s desk for reference to the Industrial Court, and explain what he has done to end all the delays and clear all the backlog of 6,000 outstanding cases on his desk for which he and he alone is responsible.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman