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Tag: parliament (page 1 of 15)

End of a Parliament Session

As I have said before, today’s Parliament sitting may very well be the very last one for the 13th Term since GE14 is around the corner.

It is very strange to say goodbye to friends and foes, knowing very well that some will be dropped, some are barred, some are retiring and some will lose in GE14. I want to wish all the best of luck and thank everyone for their service to the nation. Opposition MPs who stayed till the very end of today, spontaneously got together and took this last group photo.

 

Reform the Parliamentary Voting System!

Good morning from Parliament. Am having a breakfast meeting with YB Darell Leiking, YB Sim Tong Him and my intern Kevin. We are still talking about the vote event last night. I note many angry comments about the no show of many MPs from the Opposition. In light of the very close vote last night, I can fully understand the extra anger.

We are all adults. We all took an oath to serve the rakyat and Parliament. If MPs decide not to turn up they should be accountable to their own constituents. To be fair, some may have valid excuses for their abscene.

However I am fully aware that people are fed up with the state of politics in Malaysia. Politicians from both sides are failing the expectations of the public. This unhappiness has to do with the lack of transparency of government and the rise of spin politics.

To address this growing unhappiness, it is high time for Parliament to publish a daily attendance list. It is also high time for the vote count to be fully transparent.

Currently MPs are asked by a designated counting agent how they will vote. These votes are then tabulated by block and handwritten on a sheet of paper. The papers of all the blocks are then collated into a final number. We have no access to these papers. Other than your immediate MPs seated next to you, you will not know who voted which way. In the case of yesterday’s vote, the two PAS leaders that abstained sit right in front of me. After every important vote, I get reporters asking me for a detailed list, a list which I have no access to.

Therefore we must reform the voting system. The best way is to read out the name of every MP and ask them to individually state their position. This event should also be televised. If the vote count becomes fully transparently, I am certain attendance of MPs will improve dramatically!

Politics Aside, Civility is a Priority

After a 3 hour long battle with Dato Johari Ghani, Finance Minister 2 yesterday on the policy stage budget yesterday, we bumped into each other in the Parliament lounge at around 3 pm today.

We shook hands, had a quick friendly chat and posed for a photo.

Before he became a minister and when he was a backbencher, we got to know each other well. He was one of the informal “breakfast club” members; he came an hour early to Parliament, prepared his files and notes ahead for a day of debate. Back then while waiting for Parliament to start, we swapped many corporate stories and occasionally consulted each other on economic and banking issues.

We may have our differences, but I respect his “rajin kerja” work ethics. We will resume our fight tomorrow when the Ministry of Finance budget goes into committee stage.

Defamation against Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Together with a few Pakatan Harapan MPs, we went to JAWI to file a “qazaf” report against the Tambun MP, Husni Hanadzlah for defaming Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament. Husni in his budget speech last Wednesday, claimed that Anwar had sodomised his relative.

This is the same Husni that resigned as Finance Minister 2 last year and all his UMNO posts. The talk in Parliament then was his resignation was due to his refusal to defend the 1MDB issue. There was also rumours that he might join Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu.

So the speech that he gave last Wednesday was a real surprise to all. It was a 180 degree turn; Husni is now firmly back as a Najib hardcore loyalist. Rumour in Parliament is that he will seek to defend his Tambun seat and is also eyeing an ADUN seat too. Perhaps he is angling to become the next MB of Perak?

He also made an incredible proclamation in his budget speech that Najib will leave behind a “no corruption” legacy for Malaysia.

After JAWI, we gave a press conference in Parliament on the same issue.

Question to the Health Minister

Good morning. It is a rainy morning and at around 7 am, the sky had a strange heavy yellow tint.

After 4 years plus, I have finally been given the number two slot today in Parliament for Question Time. My question to the Health Minister on the high cost of intensive care in private hospital is based on a real life experience of a Subang Jaya family. My question is expected to be answered around 10.10 to 10.30 am this morning.

The family visited my office more than a month ago asking for help to transfer a family member from a private hospital to a public hospital. The victim was in intensive care for 2 months and they ran out of money. The bill came to a staggering RM450,000. We did manage to transfer the victim to a public hospital but unfortunately he passed away 2 weeks later.

The basic policy issue is such; the government must do a comprehensive big data study on the average number of days spent in intensive care units for specific critical illnesses. This study must also encompass baseline costs of such treatment, so to prevent the private sector from overcharging. Such a study can then help to provide a good estimate of costs to families requiring such care, so that they can make informed big financial decisions.

The current situation where consumers are not given proper estimates and information and at the same time, are driven by high emotions to save their loved ones, can be abused and lead to financial ruin of the entire family.

Today, I would recommend the minister to undertake such a study, then follow up with some form of new regulations after consulting with private hospitals on what constitutes reasonable fees. The sad truth is our government hospital’s intensive care beds are extremely limited. The waiting list for such transfers are very long and may take up to a month or more.

In the final analysis this matter is about money; either the private sector lowers its fees or the government will need to build more intensive care facilities.

In that context, please note that MO1 (the kleptocrat in charge), has happily allocated himself for 2018 a whopping development budget of RM12.2 billion to spend, compared to the entire health ministry development budget of RM1.8 billion.

So when the government tells you there is no budget for better schools, hospitals to treat cancer, better policing to fight crime, they are not telling you the full picture. There is money. Just poorly allocated to the kleptocrat.