20th March 2017: Jumping Right Back into the Fray
Good morning from Parliament. I had a busy weekend attending community functions. On Saturday I had 4 events and another 2 on Sunday. The Saturday events saw me hanging out with orphans riding karts, talking about Parliament bills in a teh tarik session, officiating an organic garden and a community get together makan.
On Sunday I attended a wedding and caught up with YB Tengku Razaleigh and several senior academics. The host is a professor who was in Oxford with my wife. I then attended the Pakatan Harapan Felda Convention and gave a public policy speech.
This morning, we will be debating with Ministers on our King’s speech. I am standing by to debate the Home Minister on my police reform proposals.
21st March 2017, 9.44 a.m.: The Breakfast Club
Good morning from Parliament. It was a very busy day in Parliament yesterday. The sitting ended at 9.30 pm. I took part in a few rounds of debate with YB Nur Jazlan, Deputy Minister of Home and then with YB Johari Minister Finance II. I debated with Nur Jazlan on the public relations disaster from the Beauty and the Beast ban. For Johari, I asked him to improve on performance of DFI, fiscal ratio of emolument to supplies and services and also 1MDB. I also joined YB Rafizi Ramli on Peter Sondakh and the St Regis Langkawi deal. My attack on 1MDB actually preceded the blowout 1MDB “bodoh” shouting match between YB Gobind and Johari.
After the heated debates, all in good outside the hall. I bumped into Johari and we shared policy ideas on how to improve management and fight corruption.
I particularly enjoy debating Johari, who is one of the very, very few capable ministers in the cabinet. Before his appointment as minister, he was part of my “breakfast club”; the MPs who come very early to Parliament. The club basically consists of 5 MPs; YB Sim of Kota Melaka, YB Laksmana Imran of Lumut, YB Noraini of Parit Sulong, YB Johari and myself. Sim and Imran are old school guys who believe in being very early and punctual. Noraini, Johari and I come from corporate culture and therefore are strict on punctuality.
21st March 2017, 2.54 p.m.: We Got a Answer?!
Hello, Nadirah here! The staff is not in Parliament at the moment, but as long as there is WiFi, nothing can stop Wong Chen from communicating with us.
This time, though, he came bearing good news! We posed a parliamentary question on why the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine hasn’t been approved for use in Malaysia, and it turns out that the government has already given a conditional approval.
It’s always nice to have our questions properly answered once in a while.
21st March 2017, 5.00 p.m.: Answer My Question, Please!
Am taking part in some fierce debate on Plantation Commodities and also International Trade. The ministerial answers have been absolutely elusive.
I pressed Minister Mah Siew Kong 3 times to tell us whether he will spend more to promote and protect the palm oil industry. In 2016 we spent a mere RM43 million to defend a RM65 billion export industry. This is grossly inadequate. But to get the minister to commit to asking the PM for more money is worse than extracting tooth. This Gerakan Minister is just non committal unlike the late Lim Keng Yaik!
As for the MITI Minister II, Ong Ka Chuan, he is no better. I asked twice for him to commit to releasing the RCEP trade agreement text to the caucus. Again he cannot commit to anything. So looks like RCEP is also going to be a super secretive deal just like the TPPA.
This trend is really sad. The Ministers, I am certain have some idea on the issues that they need to tackle but it appears from their answers that both lack the political will to fight for their own ministries. If Gerakan and MCA ministers cannot do their job or get the budget to help them do their job, what real influence do they have in BN?
22nd March 2017, 11.41 a.m.: Answer My Question, Please!
Good morning from Parliament. It seems that the government has introduced a slew of new legislations this morning. It has now pushed Hadi Awang’s 355 bill further down the ladder to number 11 from number 6. Is the UMNO BN government developing cold feet in their 355 bromance with Hadi Awang? What will the spurned MP do today? Maybe he will just continue not to show up in Parliament. For the entire session of Parliament this past 2.5 weeks, I have seen Hadi Awang being in Parliament only once. Even Najib made two appearances so far.
Yesterday, a delegation from Johns Hopkins University visited Parliament. YB Ong Kian Ming received them and invited me to join him for a question and answer session. YB Nurul Izzah also joined us for a short time but had to rush off to try to see her father Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was at a public hospital for a check up. YB Ong and I took a barrage of questions from the students and professors.
After the q&a session, I was asked by a professor if I would be interested to give a talk at their Nanjing branch one day. Perhaps, after the elections.
A bit of good news. The government has decided that Beauty and Beast will be released on 30th March without cuts. I like to believe that my debate with Nur Jazlan 2 days ago helped to get the ban lifted. Sometimes the government just misses the big picture and ends up destroying further what little international reputation it has.
Lastly, even better news. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Jho Low will be facing criminal charges in America very soon. Let’s see what the RM2.6 billion man will do next. Is this the start of the end?
23rd March 2017: 355 Findings
Good morning. Today is the last day of Ministers’ answers to the King’s speech. All eyes are on the Prime Minister department which is slated for debate around 3 pm. Next week, we start on legislative work. My office is finalising debate notes for 2 major legislation; the bankruptcy bill and the stamp duty bill.
In less than one hour from now, YB Rafizi Ramli will announce a major finding on the explosive 355 bill. So stay tuned for that very important announcement.
Lastly, YB Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has issued a press statement on the attack on the UK Parliament last night.
MEDIA STATEMENT: MALAYSIAN OPPOSITION CONDEMNS WESTMINISTER TERRO ATTACK
On behalf of the Malaysian Opposition Members of Parliament, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of those killed and injured in the terror attack which took place outside of Westminster in London on Wednesday.
We also strongly condemn this senseless and heinous crime against humanity which attempted to sow terror in the people of Great Britain as well as being an attack on one of the oldest institutions of parliamentary democracy in the world.
We stand together with the government and the people of Great Britain during this very difficult time.
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail Opposition Leader Malaysian Parliament
23 March 2017