Parliamentary Replies II: In Session
The very first question is just banal, courtesy of UMNO Sabak Bernam.
After getting an empty reply on my MAS RM6 billion issue, it is annoying to see Parliament spend 20 precious minutes answering this banal question: “Can the Prime Minister describe steps taken by the govt to make sure 24 hour and fast-food restaurants like McD and Starbucks serves halal food”.
Firstly, everyone in Malaysia knows that McD and Starbucks already have halal certificates! The halal logos are displayed openly.
Nevertheless, the Minister went on to describe in detail how to apply for halal certs, the processes, training, enforcement, online actions etc for 20 minutes.
If only the BN Ministers are as gung ho and detailed in answering the tougher questions.
The Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi is being grilled over illegal internet gambling premises all over towns and cities. Why is it so difficult to shut down these activities?
The Minister said that when police raid these premises they also cut the utilities of these premises. Then the Minister said these premises operate again the next day using neighbour’s utilities. So according to the Minister, clamping down illegal gambling is very difficult.
YB Julian Tan of Stampin asked if the government realises that these gambling operations are most likely in cahoots with PDRM.
The Minister replied there is no proof of this but said that if an illegal gambling premise is found near a police station, the Minister will mark down the particular police station’s KPI!
Marking down the KPI of the station is the recommended action of the Deputy Home Minister? Shouldn’t the police station chief be hauled up for internal investigations and charged/sacked for neglecting his duties?
Now, The MITI Minister is answering budget questions.
I asked the Minister to give a more elaborate comment on the UN economist computations that we will lose out RM5 billion a year if we sign the TPPA.
The Minister replied that the UN economist paper is a personal paper thus is not a UN finding. Then he said that it is based on several flawed assumptions. He said that intermediate goods were not considered in his computation, that his paper is based on just finished goods. Therefore the Minister concluded the computation by the UN economist is flawed. So far I would say the Minister gave a fair reply.
So I then asked him if the assumptions are wrong and why haven’t MITI issued its own counter calculations.
The Minister tried to avoid answering this.
I pressed again and asked him, did MITI prepare an alternative calculation? He finally said no. He said it is not yet appropriate to do the math as many factors are unresolved.
I am not convinced. How can someone criticise the calculation of the UN economist and yet not produce his counter/alternative calculations? This kind of reply only adds to the secrecy of the TPPA. What data is the government hiding from us?
Anwar was in Parliament today for about 2 hours and about 10 Pakatan MPs caught up with him in the hall. As he approached his car, reporters surrounded him to ask why Hadi has been absent from Parliament and Pakatan meetings.
Speaking of truancy, seated 4 seats from me is Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s chair. He has been absent since this Parliamentary session started. He even missed the Budget speech, the most important day in Parliament.