Media Statement by MP for Iskandar Puteri, Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on 4 December 2020:
Malaysian kakistocracy at its worst – three examples yesterday including assigning observers to tellers during parliamentary division voting which is a declaration that MPs in Malaysia cannot be trusted to carry out simple tasks
It was kakistocracy in Malaysia at its worst – with three examples yesterday especially assigning observers to tellers during parliamentary division voting which is a declaration that Members of Parliament in Malaysia cannot be trusted to carry out simple tasks.
This assignment must be the first of its kind in Commonwealth Parliaments but it sends out the wrong messages, firstly, that MPs cannot be depended upon to carry out simple tasks; and secondly, which is more serious, that MPs cannot be trusted at all!
1. Assigning observers to tellers to save PN MP from punishment
This assignment was solely to avoid referring the PN MP for Tasek Glugor, Shahbudin Yahya to the Committee of Privileges for reckless, negligent and irresponsible violation of the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders when carrying out his duties as teller in the division voting on Monday during the Committee Stage debate on the 2021 Budget.
Shahbudin should have been sacked as a teller in division voting in Parliament, but this had not been done, as he is still teller for division voting in Parliament.
Parliament owes Malaysians an explanation as to why Shahbudin is still a teller, when he has been proved to incapable of either performing a simple task or trusted to perform a simple task.
All that a teller is asked to do is stipulated in Standing Order 47(i) which states:
“When a division has been ordered, the Tellers shall ask each member separately how he desires to vote, and the Setiausaha shall enter on the Votes and Proceedings a record of each member’s vote and of the members who abstained from voting.”
All Shahbudin is required to do is to ask each MP in the block he is assigned to “how he desires to vote” and the C block that Shahbudin is assigned to has 26 MPs.
If he is unable to carry out such a simple task among 26 MPs, how can Shahbudin be fit to be an MP?
I do not agree that there was a miscount, as what happened was a gross violation of his privileges as a Member of Parliament, which is why I had proposed that he should be suspended as an MP.
This is a case where the cure is worse than the disease, for in refraining from referring Shahbudin to the Committee of Priivileges, all Malaysians MPs are made to appear to the world as untrustworthy or incompetent nincompoops.
I call for the system of observers to be removed, reverting to the old system – and that Shahbudin should be stripped of his position as teller for division voting.
2. Government’s insensitivity to the rights of women and children
The second example of Malaysia suffering from kakistocracy at its worst is the government’s insensitivity to the rights of women and children shown by the Deputy Home Minister, Ismail Mohamed Said.
In his reply during Question Time in Parliament yesterday, Ismail cited national security concerns in denying citizenship for the children of Malaysian women with foreign spouses.
Is Ismail aware that Malaysia belongs to a minority of countries in the world where nationality laws do not grant women equality with men in conferring nationality to their children, which is a cause of statelessness and a concern for United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under its mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness?
UNHCR’s survey of nationality legislation reveals that equality between men and women relating to conferral of nationality upon children has not yet been attained in 27 countries in the world, and Malaysia is one of these 27 countries.
I agree that Ismail’s ignorant and ill-thought comment showing insensitivity to the status of Malaysian women and chidren, marksa major step backwards in the battle for gender equality and discrimination in Malaysia.
In a modern progressive and just society, all citizens must be treated as equal before the law and be given equal rights to confer nationality on their children, regardless of gender.
In 2010, the then home minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysian mothers have the same rights as Malaysian fathers to pass on their citizenship to their children born overseas.
Why is Malaysia going backwards? Will Ismail withdraw his comment and apologise for his insensitive statement in Parliament?
I refer to the statement made by the Deputy Home Minister, Ismail Mohamed Said as reported by Malaysiakini in a news…Posted by Hannah Yeoh on Thursday, 3 December 2020
3. A Menteri Besar that is ignorant to the right of others
The third example of kakistocracy at its worst is the appointment of an “ignorant man” as Menteri Besar.
I did not say this. It was the MIC President and former President of the Senate, S. Vigneswaran, who slammed the Mentri Besar of Kedah, Muhammad Sanusi Mohd. Nor for saying that MIC should be banned if it incited people to break the law – referring to the issue of a temple demolition and lack of funding for non-Muslim places of worship in the state.
“This is what happens when you pick an ignorant man to be the MB. We have the right to ask because freedom of worship is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“If defending the rights of our community can be considered instigation, then PAS should be banned, judging from the number of demonstrations they have held on international issues and claims of some of them being linked to terrorists.
“This is what you get when immature people become MB. Does he remember his party president previously vowing not to demolish any temple?”
In this connection, the Kedah Mentri Besar should provide a satisfactory explanation for the demolition of the 80-year-old temple in front of Alor Star station in July this year.
The temple was built during the colonial period before most of the Malaysian laws were enacted.
Why was not alternative land provided for the temple before its demolition?
Is Tan Sri Muhyiddin proud that he is Prime Minister of a kakistocracy?
What steps he is taking to ensure that Malaysia is not mocked by the world as a kakistocracy?
Lim Kit Siang,
MP for Iskandar Puteri.