Najib set a bad, undesirable and unacceptable parliamentary precedent of choosing the date to answer parliamentary questions about 1MDB which will be followed by other Ministers undermining Parliamentary control over the Executive

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has set a bad, undesirable and unacceptable parliamentary precedent of choosing the date to answer parliamentary questions about the twin mega scandals of RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal bank accounts for the 13th General Election, undermining the important principle of parliamentary control over the Executive.

On the first day of the present parliamentary meeting on Monday, October 19, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, in her replies to Members of Parliament including DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng and the DAP MP for Segambut Lim Lip Eng, said the government will answer questions about the RM2.6 billion donation received by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and other related queries during the current sitting of Parliament.

She said the government will also answer questions related to the alleged missing US$993 million payment from 1MDB to International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) but the exact date for this would be determined later.

She said in written replies that answers to similar questions would be made at a date to be determined later, during this parliamentary session.

Guan Eng had asked Najib on the source of the RM2.6 billion donation, how was it spent and how much balance is left.

The Penang Chief Minister also wanted to know who the money was spent on, if taxes were paid and if there was a formal declaration.

Lip Eng’s question was in regard to the RM2.6 billion donation and the missing US$1 billion payment to IPIC.

The Speaker, Tan Sri Pandkar Amin Mulia should not have allowed Azalina to evade parliamentary answer to questions posed by Members of Parliament, which undermine the principle of parliamentary control of the Executive, and which could be followed by other Ministers making a total mockery of the doctrine of the separation of powers.

When Azalina said that the government would answer the questions directed at the Prime Minister about the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals at the date of its choice, which has not been decided, could it end up on the last day of the 25-day budget parliamentary meeting on Dec. 3, allowing MPs no room or opportunity to pursue the question if the answers are totally unsatisfactory – which MPs would be able to do if such unsatisfactory answers had been made in the first week of the six-week budget meeting?

Furthermore, what could be the reasons why Prime Minister is unable to answer the questions which Members of Parliament had to submit by September 23, 2015?

Does this mean that the control-and-command headquarters of the Prime Minister’s Deparment could not decide on how to answer questions about Najib’s various goings-on with regard to 1MDB and related matters despite a month’s notice and even more worrying, about matters and happenings in the 1MDB scandal going back to a few years?

The imagery of top officers and highly-paid propagandists in the Prime Ministers’ Department spending day after day for months to decide what answers to give to Members of Parliament about the mega scandals of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” do not inspire confidence about the openness, transparency, accountability, sincerity, uprightness and integrity of the Najib government or about its competence, efficiency and professionalism.

Has the Najib government come to a stage where even the highest-paid propangadists in the world find it a herculean task to package the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals in the best possible light in their answers to Members of Parliament, despite months of mulling and strategizing over the subject?

Will the whole sorry story of Najib’s Parliamentary democracy in Malaysia end up with Members of Parliament given unsatisfactory answers on the 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals on the last day of the budget session on Dec. 3, which would not permit MPs to pursue the issues any further?

When answers are given on Dec. 3, with questions having to submitted by Sept. 23, this would mean that the Prime Minister would have close to three months to prepare for the replies – which is not an advertisement of a competent, go-getting, vigorous and vibrant Prime Minister!

Even more shocking, will this set a disastrous precedent for Ministers to evade and avoid answering parliamentary questions posed by Members of Parliament by pushing the questions to the very last day with totally unsatisfactory and unacceptable answers?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah