Sunday, December 25, 2011

Is the Dewan Negara another government department churning out bills?

Dewan Negara speaker ticked off the 8 Pakatan Rakyat Senators for calling for a division in voting for the employment act 1955 after the debate on the bill on 22/12/2011 afternoon.

Earlier during the sitting two others bills, Kampong Baru Development Bill and

Peaceful Assembly Bill out of 14 bills tabled so far, were also called for division in voting.

The speaker reprimanded the 8 PR senators for wasting time and that it becoming very frequent. He added that he knows what to do the next time a bloc vote is asked for and that he will not allow it.

He forewarned that hereafter anybody wanting to speak, need not give your names but just stand up and I know whom to call to speak. It seems a veiled warning that unless you guys are subservient and follow my dictates, you will not be allowed to speak. It is very sad that the speaker who is supposed to uphold the dignity and legislative role of the Dewan is instead stifling and strangling the legislation process of the upper house.

The Dewan Negara standing order clearly stipulates that a minimum of 8 Senators can call for a division in voting. The PR Senators acted well within the provisions of standing order and yet the speaker can reprimand and tell them off. He seems more concerned and interested in getting the 24 bills that will be tabled this sitting, rushed through because the prime minister’s office wants it so. This action of the speaker makes the Dewan Negara another department in the prime minister’s office churning out bills that will be used to perpetuate the BN rule forever. Dewan Negara has become a rubber stamp and a waste of public fund.

On Wednesday night (21/12/2011) at 11 pm the bill on housing developers act was tabled by the deputy minister of housing and local government. 8 speakers wanted to speak but only 5 speakers were given about 5 minutes each to wrap up and 3 other speakers were told to write directly to the minister to get his reply by the speaker. The housing developer’s bill was rushed through because the deputy minister is leaving for overseas the next day. The employment bill on 22/12/2011 was also rushed through by giving 10 to 5 minutes each to 13 speakers who commended on the bill. If this is the way bills are enacted by Dewan Negara, do we really need the upper house in the parliament? The speaker keeps repeating and reminding the members of senate that the bills have to be rushed through because there is not much time left. Instead of extending the dewan Negara sitting for another day, the speaker choose to rush through all the bills.

We the 8 PR senators call upon all leaders of PR component parties to voice their concerns over the developments in Dewan Negara.

Senator Dr. Syed Husin Ali
Senator Dato’ Johari Bin Mat
Senator Tuan Haji Muhamad Yusof Bin Husin
Senator Puan Hajah Mumtaz Binti Md. Nawi
Senator Mustafa Kamal Bin Mohd Yusoff
Senator Saiful Izham Bin Ramli
Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz Bin Tunku Ibrahim
Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan A/L Suppiah