2017 Second Parliamentary Session: Week 2
31st July 2017, 10.23 a.m.: Work, Work, Work
Good morning from Parliament. We enter the 2nd week of legislation and we are now facing 11 new laws to be debated and passed. This morning we started work at 8.30 am. My staff, interns and I researched and worked on the Biodiversity bill. I am slated to debate the same around noon.
The Biodiversity bill has taken 24 years in the making since the Rio Summit of 1992 (coming into force in 1993) to become legislation in Malaysia. This is not a straightforward matter and I will be raising 5 main points which will require the minister to clarify before I consider my support. I will provide a full report after my speech.
Over last weekend, since my kidney stones have passed out, I have restarted my community meets with my constituents. Last weekend, I focused on the Seri Setia (Kelana Jaya) side as the community spending freeze has severely affected most of them. My office will continue prioritising the urban poor needs in the next few weeks. So my sincere apologies to my Subang Jaya constituents for not being able to attend some of your functions last weekend.
On our community spending freeze saga, I have been told that the Selangor government will issue me a reply sometime next week. I hope to receive good news on this front so that we can restart our Bulan Kebajikan.
31st July 2017, 6.12 p.m.: Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing Malaysia Bill 2017
Good afternoon, everyone! Nadirah here, and I’ve just returned from Parliament with our interns. Wong Chen managed to speak during the debate on the Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing Malaysia Bill 2017. He made several interesting points:
Why did Malaysia take a whopping 24 years to ratify the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (or more commonly known as the Rio Conference) and are we opening our forests to exploitation;
What exactly are “smallholder farmers” and do they fulfil the requirements as per the Rio Convention;
The commercialisation of biological resources, and why isn’t the ratio for benefit sharing set;
Who actually receives the monetary benefit—the state or the federal government; and
How much would the implementation of the Bill cost?
1st August 2017, 10.43 a.m.: Kara-not-oke
Good morning from Parliament. Today we have a new set of interns visiting Parliament. The morning started with a breakfast meeting at 8.30 am. After that I gave them a short tour of Parliament. The interns and staff are now researching at the 14th floor, on the Legal Aid bill, which is slated for debate next week.
1st August 2017, 4.37 p.m.: Much Ado About Parliament
Parliament sessions are where MPs meet to chart political and policy directions. This afternoon we had our Keadilan MP pre-council led by Leader of the Opposition Dato Seri Wan Azizah and Chief Whip Dato Johari Abdul.
Click here for a report on my comments on fiscal issue related to the national debt.
2nd August 2017, 10.43 a.m.: Haze, Haze Go Away
Good morning from Parliament. There is a very strong burning smell in the air. It seems that the Indonesian forest burning haze could be back.
This morning, a new set of interns joined me for a breakfast meeting at 8.30 am. It is good to catch up with ex-intern Nadira Hussain.
2nd August 2017, 6.30 p.m.: The Price Control and Anti-Profiteering (Amendment) Bill 2017
Hello, Nadirah here! Wong Chen partook in the debate of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering (Amendment) Bill 2017. While generally in support of the bill, which implements a single pricing system, he took the opportunity to point out the advantages of implementing unit pricing as well. Primarily, unit pricing allows consumers to make smarter, more informed decisions.
3rd August 2017, 10.47 a.m.: When Truth is Replaced by Silence, the Silence is a Lie
Good morning from Parliament. This is day 4 of the 2nd week of Parliament. Yesterday I took part in two debates; the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering debate and the Trade Descriptions debate. I will post up the video of the debate PCAP debate later.
This morning some 30 Opposition MPs led by Dato Seri Wan Azizah, marched to Bank Negara from Parliament to hand a memorandum on 1MDB. The MPs urged the Bank Governor to take appropriate actions and investigate several accounts including that of Prime Minister Najib.
3rd August 2017, 12.20 p.m.: The Employment Insurance System Bill 2017
With basic math, Wong Chen shows a RM1.1bil disconnect between how much the Government proposes to collect from employers and workers for this insurance scheme, and the estimated payout to those retrenched every year.
Reporters’ questions start at [08:29].
3rd August 2017, 5.30 p.m.: The Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 2017
Past and passed: the Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 2017, on which Wong Chen debated last Thursday in Parliament.
While the bill’s extension of legal-aid companion services for child victims of sexual offences is laudable, here are a few unwelcome points in the bill that Wong Chen raised in Parliament:
Legal aid services are restricted to Malaysians only. But really, does the Gov’t know how much it’ll cost to provide legal aid to the ~6 million legal & illegal migrant workers? Is this a question about cost to the Gov’t, or is this a moral obligation on our part? What about stateless children born out of wedlock?
The Minister gets blanket discretion to determine the legal-aid registration fee, which previously was set at RM2 only.
The Director-General of Legal Aid gets sweeping powers as well: to determine if a person can receive legal aid; to require payment from a child(!) obtaining legal companion services; and to withdraw these legal companion services from a child at any time.
Lastly, “Financial Implications: This Bill will involve the Government in extra financial expenditure the amount of which cannot at present be ascertained.” Much like your son asking you to pass his request to purchase a car, the cost of which cannot at present be ascertained. Can the Gov’t please be more transparent?