Am in Parliament again today for a meeting. I received an email from someone called Xingji a couple of days ago, asking if I am working on a climate change and transboundary haze legislations.
Here is my answer:
With the laws and Parliamentary procedures as they are, any legislation on the haze or climate change can only be introduced and tabled by the cabinet.
While private members bills exist in theory, these private initiatives cannot be tabled without government endorsement or support.
As such MPs can voice concerns, ask ministers questions when Parliament is sitting and most of the time, we will get non-commital answers.
So to your question, am I drafting laws on haze and climate change? NO. I want to but it all depends whether the cabinet will invite me to help to draft such laws. The way things are, where the PH cabinet does not like internal criticisms, I won’t be holding my breath for an invitation.
That is why Parliament needs to go through a major overhaul of fundamental reforms. Parliament needs to be given independence and enough resources to create ministerial standing committees, to ensure a corrupt-free, transparent and accountable cabinet.
Only after major reforms, can backbench MPs start to take meaningful part in the law-making process. Only then can we independently draft laws, and form committees to influence, shape and pressure government policies effectively. Without Parliamentary reforms, and if the cabinet is uninterested in haze or climate change matters (other than providing lip service), then nothing meaningful will happen on those fronts.
It is a sad reality that many well intentioned and hardworking MPs, are under used in the legislative process. There is still limitations to what MPs can do in the so-called New Malaysia. We can issue critical press statements like my good friend YB Charles Santiago but will risk being labelled a traitor to PH. As such, many MPs are using their time for more constructive matters.
I meet Nurul Izzah a lot more frequently nowadays since we are both in the PAC. We have been sharing notes and ideas on how to serve our constituents in the New Malaysia post GE14. Nurul Izzah has decided to focus on her Public Accounts Committee (PAC) work, which is to fight corruption and wastage. She also attends some international forums, and also have some exciting grassroots projects (batik and tech farming) in her constituency. I too have a similar workload as hers. I do my PAC work diligently, focus on United Nation’s SDGs, and speak at international and ASEAN events on geopolitics and international trade. I do my best to frequently engage foreign diplomats, hosting dinners for academics and researchers. In my own constituency, my officers do endless community projects, repair schools and handle complaints. I also spend a bit of time training my interns to be critical but constructive citizens.