"Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Razak slammed opposition MPs for walking out of his budget speech. He suggested that we did not respect the democratic process.
Our walkout yesterday was a legitimate and necessary act of protest against Najib's continuing failure to answer our questions revolving around the 1MDB scandal, the US DOJ revelations and the allegations against him.
To table Budget 2017 without addressing these questions of the greatest national importance and economic consequence is to make a mockery of the parliamentary process.
To then accuse the opposition of not respecting the democratic process for having walked out, is richly hypocritical and laughable coming from Najib and the Barisan Nasional.
Contrary to the tradition of democratic parliaments, Najib himself has not bothered to attend the leader of the opposition's reply to his budget speech. Come Monday, his seat will be empty, as it has been every year. Is this an example of Najib's and the BN's respect for the democratic process?
Worse, Najib rarely ever attends the Dewan Rakyat. He is only seen on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of parliament by the King or a set-piece event such as the budget speech. MPs almost never have the opportunity to pose questions to the Prime Minister himself. This is in stark contrast to the weekly prime minister's Q & A, which is the highlight of the U.K. House of Commons. Is this an example of Najib's and the BN's respect for the democratic process?
On top of it, since independence, the BN has enforced rules which prevent the Dewan Rakyat from properly carrying out the duty of being a check and balance to the government.
Until today, 59 years after independence, no motion or private members bill by the opposition can be heard or debated by the House. The House has been reduced to the function of passing laws brought by the BN, and nothing else; it is for this reason that it has been frequently criticised as being a 'rubber stamp'. Is this an example of Najib's and the BN's respect for the democratic process?
( The recent amendments to the standing orders are too little, too late. The various suggestions towards democratisation which I had made as a member of the standing orders committee were never accepted by the government.)
Worst of all, under the prime- ministership of Najib, a record number of opposition MPs have been charged or investigated for various offences relating to freedom of speech and assembly, including under the Sedition Act, Peaceful Assembly Act, MCMC Act etc. In a report published in March 2016, the Inter-Parliamentary Union ( IPU) expressed concern over 19 opposition MPs charged with offences or being investigated. According to the IPU report, Malaysia is second only to the Republic of Congo in the numbers of opposition MPs facing criminal charges! This is giant stain and embarrassment for Malaysia globally. Is this an example of Najib's and the BN's respect for the democratic process?
The above list of undemocratic and unacceptable actions does not even take into account the panoply of oppressive laws passed and maintained by the BN, particularly since Najib became PM. These include the Sedition Act, the MCMC Act, NSC Act, POCA, POTA, PAA and the notorious new offence of ' activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy' in section 124B of the Penal Code. None of the preceding laws have any place in any nation that calls itself a democracy.
Are all the above actions and conduct, Najib's and the BN's idea of respecting democracy?"
Member of Parliament,
Member of Parliament,
22 October 2016
(Press Release via YB Nurul Izzah in Facebook)