2017 Second Parliamentary Session: Week 3
7th August 2017, 11.14 a.m.: A Wild Employment Insurance System Bill Appears
Good morning from Parliament. I have a severe headache this morning and my nose is congested. The Parliament doctor prescribed me some medication and it is making me a bit drowsy.
I am now awaiting to debate the Valuers bill at around 11.30 pm. This bill will in all likelihood be passed later today. The Employment Insurance System bill has also made a reappearance at no. 11 on the order paper. This means that the government has decided to slightly delay the bill to amend something. However there is no amendment disclosed yet. The mystery deepens.
7th August 2017, 11.14 a.m.: Selangor and the Water Crisis
Good morning from Parliament. 1st Minister Question Time is on why the takeover of water assets in Selangor taking so long?
The water crisis in Selangor is ongoing and the state government needs to take full control of the assets before carrying out a total revamp to the system.
Minister Maximus Ongkili claims that the delay is caused by the Selangor govt’s failure to make a willing buyer, willing seller offer. MB Selangor replied that it is the federal government had hired Deloitte to do a valuation but then refuse to disclose what the price is. So how then can the Selangor govt make an offer because the bulk of the financing will be from the federal government?
My view of this is simple. The deal can only close if the Federal government finance the deal as a loan to the state government. That is the standard model for the all water asset takeover in Malaysia. The federal government is facing a cash crunch and as such cannot finance this deal. It can’t even pay the first 1MDB installment, what more the ability to finance this water deal.
That being the case, the minister is just buying time, coming out with excuses and blaming others. In the meantime, the people of Selangor will continue to suffer water cuts, thanks to the fiscally unsound federal government.
8th August 2017, 2.47 p.m.: Durian Fest!
Parliament will sit until 8.30 pm tonight. I have been a strange day. In late morning, I had a long discussion with interns from Rafizi Ramli‘s office.
Then at lunch, the Agriculture Ministry hosted all MPs to durians. It was all smiles in Parliament. Durians are now so expensive, the Musang King at RM80 per kilo. So today’s lunch was a real treat. For an hour or so, all hostilities were suspended.
9th August 2017, 9.53 a.m.: What is This Lah?
Here is another glaring example of why Parlimen Malaysia is a third world Parliament. Every morning the guys in charge play musical chair on the order of bills to be debated. Yesterday, the order was for the Tabung Angkatan bill to be debated after the Merchant Ship bill. Then the Securities commission bill. So my staff, interns and I worked on my speeches for all 3 bills.
This morning, the order has been changed completely to a new order of Border Patrol, Prevention of Crime and Marriage reforms. This is absolute madness, how are MPs suppose to research and debate these bills on a drop of a hat?
9th August 2017, 9.53 a.m.: The Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2017
I just gave my speech on Merchant Shipping. I raised several questions with regards to the Ordinance:
1. Does the Bill affect ships transiting in Malaysia, i.e. do these ships have to register as well;
2. What is the real objective of the liberalisation of the Ordinance: Is this in accordance with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), regardless of the indication that the Agreement may be disregarded by Donald Trump, or is this to accommodate the anticipated growing China investment;
3. What will be the fee imposed for registration of ships, and what is the estimate revenue from the fee collection;
4. The scope of the powers given to the Director of Marines;
5. Does the Kuala Linggi International Port, a RM50 billion Chinese-lead project, fall under the purview of the Malaccan Port Authority; and
6. What is the fiscal target of the Malaysia Shipping Developing Fund and who will be managing these funds?
I am now rushing my notes on the Border Security debate. I will most likely debate the POCA bill too.
Earlier, I had a policy meeting at 10.30 am with Dr. Ong Kian Ming – 王建民, Liew Chin Tong, Steven Sim Chee Keong 沈志强 and Dato Saifuddin Abdullah. I then had a short meeting with DPM Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Minister regarding the status of a Subang Jaya based charity. Other than speeches, I utilise my Parliament time to develop public policies and also take up local issues with respective ministers in charge.
On a separate note regarding YB Rafizi Ramli‘s OSA appeal, the judge will make a ruling on 23rd August, 2 weeks from now.
9th August 2017, 12.59 p.m.: I Hope You’re Satisfied
In an earlier heated exchange in Parliament, YB Lim Lip Eng of Segambut asked the Speaker to rule if PAS MPs have violated the Speaker’s ruling to ban 1MDB discussions, when PAS met with Arul Kanda on 1MDB.
The fact that PAS is satisfied with the 1MDB explanations is laughable and also disturbing. We know that Hadi Awang and Najib are buddies, but for Tuan Ibrahim to be satisfied on 1MDB, is a very serious political development. Is PAS beyond reason when their most reasonable leader accepts 1MDB’s explanations?
Anyway, the hall broke into a verbal war on the issue. PAS MP Takiyuddin tried to defend the PAS meeting with Arul Kanda. To this defence, several MPs jeered him and asked him to just fill up UMNO membership form. Kuching MP, Chong Chieng Jen 张健仁 asked PAS MPs to cross over and sit with Barisan Nasional MPs.
9th August 2017, 7.28 p.m.: The Malaysian Border Security Bill 2017
Parliament is now debating the Malaysian Border Security Agency bill. I took part in the committee stage debate later. Zahid Hamidi is personally debating on behalf of the Home Ministry and he has been here for about 7 hours.
We disagree on politics but his work ethics is admirable. He is way better than Najib. In this 3 weeks of Parliament, Najib clocked in a total of 20 minutes, two appearances of 10 minutes each.
We still have 2 more bills to go. The Speaker has ruled that Parliament will continue until we finish all 3 bills today. At the current speed of debate, Parliament will probably end around midnight. Minister Shahidan Kassim provided MPs free dinner of nasi lemak. Everyone is feeling a bit tired. The hall is about 30% full.
I am quite exhausted having done 5 key policy speeches in the last 3 days. Tomorrow will be our last day of this Parliament session.
On Friday, I will be taking my annual holiday. As a politician, I plan my holiday when everyone is working since I have to work during public holidays. My family and I will be doing cuti-cuti Malaysia in Penang for 6 days. My office will still be open as usual as Nadirah, Tania and Tina will hold the fort and serve the constituents.
9th August 2017, 9.25 p.m.: “You Have Sinned”
The Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) bill is being debated now. The BN government has basically reneged on its promise to add in clause S88A, which will make unilateral conversion illegal.
Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat is giving an electrifying speech on the matter. He has been fighting for 8 years on the Indira Gandhi case on a pro bono basis. He speaks with knowledge and pure conviction. Indira Gandhi and daughter are both in attendance in Parliament.
This is one of the best speech I have ever heard in Parliament. Kula is making BN MPs pay for their feckless cowardice for failing to keep their own promise.
10th August 2017, 10.16 a.m.: Final Round!
Good morning from Parliament. I left Parliament at 1.30 am after the unilateral conversion debate. Human rights lawyers stayed back to debate the Prevention of Crime Act bill, which deals with triads and gangs. The session ended at 4.06 am. It’s super late but not the record. The record belongs to the last sitting, the pre hudud debate when we sat until 5 am.
I got to Parliament at 8.30 am today and briefed my interns and staff. I am exhausted but will most likely take part on the Securities Commission bill later.
Lastly it’s Anwar Ibrahim’s 70th birthday. The P104 office wishes him a very happy birthday regardless of the circumstances he is in. We continue to pray for his well being. His incarceration inspires us to fight for a better Malaysia.
10th August 2017, 10.16 a.m.: Final Round!
I just delivered the last policy speech of this entire Parliament session on the matter of the Securities Commission bill. I gave a congratulatory speech to the SC and the Finance Ministry for amendments that improves good governance. I also thanked everyone in the hall, in case this proves to be the very last sitting before GE14.