January 15, 2019
It is almost 5 am in London. I went to bed at 11pm and had about 5 hours of sleep. I am still slowly adjusting to the time.
Yesterday was our first day of UK Parliament meetings. We had four excellent meetings organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The discussions have been centred mostly on ideas and reforms that we can adapt and/or adopt for the New Malaysia. Some of the people we met provided interesting historical explanations of how these British rules of fair play came to be. The Malaysian Parliament is in dire need of a major overhaul to bring back democratic rules, separation of powers, and Parliament sovereignty to check and balance the executive.
Inadvertently, we have found ourselves here at a most crucial time of UK modern history. We are holed up in UK Parliament CPA meeting room, smack in the middle of a decisive Brexit vote week. The vote will take place about 10 hours from now. There is talk of another vote of no confidence against the PM if her Brexit plan is defeated.
Last night, we had a grand dinner hosted at the UK Speaker’s Apartment. I was seated next to Sir William Cash, one of the chief Eurosceptics and promoters of Brexit. We had a good discussion on many things, including his time as Thatcher’s advisor. His wife spent her childhood in Malaysia. I also had a good conversation with the Rt Hon Ann Clwyd, whom I met together with Rafizi a few years ago. She is well and as fiesty as ever, pushing her good governance agenda. Bill (Conservative) and Ann (Labour) are from the furthest opposite ends of the UK political spectrum, but both are friends of Malaysia.