Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 4th
A rare parliamentary sight not seen for
decades – eight UMNO Ministers queuing up in Parliament till 11.30 pm
last night to reply
A rare parliamentary sight in Parliament for
decades – eight Umno Ministers queuing up in Parliament till 11.30 pm
yesterday to take their turn to reply in the 2009 Budget debate
Clearly, my Sunday speech to the DAP Kuala Lumpur Convention castigating
Umno Ministers for neglecting their parliamentary, Cabinet and national
responsibilities because of the protracted Umno party elections and
suggesting that they take five-month leave so as to ensure that the
people and country do not suffer because of their party politicking when
Malaysia faces the worst global economic crisis in 80 years has hit home
and taken instantaneous effect.
On Thursday, two Umno Ministers, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid
Albar and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein played
truant from their Ministerial duties when they were absent in the
winding-up of their Ministries, passing the buck to their deputy
If Hamid and Hishammuddin think that their deputy ministers were equal
to them and could reply of behalf of their Ministries as effectively as
they themselves could, then it is time they resign and give way to their
two deputies to become full ministers!
I hope that this unprecedented show of discipline and responsibility is
not a “one-shot” affair but will become a directing principle for all
responsible Ministers for the rest of the parliamentary term – and we
will see Ministers taking full charge of the debate for each Ministry
during the 16-day Committee stage debate of the 2009 Budget beginning
tomorrow till 4th December 2008.
Yesterday, the Umno Ministers put up a responsible show, but the MCA
Ministers fell short, with two MCA Ministers absent from their
parliamentary posts during the reply, viz the newly-elected MCA
President and Transport Minister, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat and the
newly-elected MCA Vice President and Women, Family and Community
Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, who had to depend on their
deputy ministers to save the day.
There can be no excuse for the absence of Cabinet Ministers from their
parliamentary duties for the parliamentary calendar for the Ministerial
winding-up in the 2009 budget debate had been fixed many months ahead of
schedule and there can be no excuse for Ministers to be away from
Parliament, whether overseas or somewhere else in the country.
I hope today, the fourth and last day of the Ministerial winding-up of
the 2009 Budget debate, will see other Umno Ministers continue to set a
good parliamentary example to their other BN Cabinet colleagues.
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor