History in Parliament made today with Abdullah’s  directive to Ministers to be present in Parliament to personally answer questions but  Rafidah Aziz should be hauled up for being the first to violate this directive

Media  Statement
Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, deserves praise for his directive to Ministers to be present in Parliament to personally answer questions and address important issues highlighted by the media.

As a result, history in Parliament was made today with Abdullah’s directive to Ministers as never before for decades have there been so many Ministers in the House during question time.

Out of seven questions answered today during question time, six were answered by Cabinet Ministers, viz Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad, the Minister for Works, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Minister for Energy, Water and Communication Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and the Minister for Information,  Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir. The “fly in the ointment” is the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz, who was not present to answer No. 3 on the new national automotive industry policy, as the answer has to be answered by his Deputy Minister.

The Prime Minister should haul up Rafidah for an explanation as to why she had violated his directive to Cabinet Ministers to set an example of parliamentary responsibility by personally attending Parliament to answer questions and address important issues falling under their Ministry.

The Prime Minister should direct the Government Whip, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime Minister to keep a daily watch on the Ministers’ attendance in Parliament, and every Minister who could not be present during question-time to answer questions directed to his Ministry must have a proper explanation – which must be easily accessible to anyone interested – as to his absence.

This will be a significant step in the upgrading of parliamentary effectiveness, as it will be a major stride towards making the Malaysian Parliament a First-World Parliament as well as fulfil the Prime Minister’s aspiration of “First World Infrastructure, First World Mentality” for Malaysia.

Better still, the Prime Minister should make it a point to appear at least twice a week during question time to answer questions coming under either the Prime Minister’s Office, the Finance Ministry or  Ministry of Internal Security.




*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman