Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Zahid Hamidi ' did not understand what they said and even if I did I would not want to understand' - a disgraceful attitude reflective of Malaysian government?atti

 "I am not a lawyer. I was a banker, so I just listened. I did not understand what they said and even if I did I would not want to understand what they said because they were defending gangsters.
If the Malaysiakini report was accurate, and this was what the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said, then I must say I am most disappointed with the Home Minister, and would suggest that he change his attitude or resign as the Home Minister.

When a MP or a person or a civil society group raises an argument against a government initiative, policy or law, we expect a Minister to (1) Take the trouble to listen and understand the point, and (2) Respond intelligently or reasonably countering the argument made. If he does not understand the point made, then ask for clarification. If he needs to consult others including officers of his Ministry, then do so. If he needs time to consider the points/arguments and prepare his rebuttal, then ask for the time to do so, even if it means that it will delay the passing of a Bill. Here, really there was no real urgency that this Bill had to be passed speedily - for after all Parliament would be sitting again by the end of the month.

As a Minister, to sit there without understanding the counter argument, or  worse still taking the position of not even wanting to understand is shocking behavior. It belittles democracy. It may be even 'disrespective' of Parliament and the Parliamentary system. 

Where is the check and balance, when the majority in Parliament that also forms the government (the executive) refuses to listen to opposing views, and respond to it? 

Democracy is not just the winning of the majority of Parliamentary seats once every 4-5 years, and thereafter behaving like a 'dictator', who does not listen let alone respond to critics. 

Likewise, if we were to listen to the questions and listen to the answers of the executive in Parliament, we find that many a time the question is ignored and not answered, or side-stepped, or just not answered in full. The limiting of follow-up questions in Parliament is a problem - in fact the Speaker must put his foot down and ensure that executive responds to the specific questions, and not distract to generalities and matters not asked. Remember, now Malaysians can see the proceedings live, and I for one am getting rather disappointed with conduct and the quality of Malaysian parliamentary proceedings.

For the good of the image of Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib must seriously reprimand his Home Minister, if not replace him with someone better who understands the importance of listening to alternative views, countering arguments intelligently and rationally, accepting good suggestions irrespective from where ever it comes, and knowing always that we are a DEMOCRACY not a dictatorship of the majority in Parliament - certainly not a government that deals with counter arguments and criticism by simply not listening or just ignoring it. Remember that the refusal to listen and to respond to arguments raised is an indication of a government not competent or wise enough to rule. 

Can't you take into account the points made? Can't you respond with proper rebuttals which will address the points made and more importantly convince Malaysians? 

Consult the people - take the time needed. Then, you could be said to respect Malaysians true to the spirit of democracy.

Ahmad Zahid further boasted about his role in getting the PCA amendments passed in the Dewan Rakyat, including getting speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia on his side.

"The Internal Security Act has been repealed, the Emergency Ordinance has been repealed, the Restricted Residence Act has been repealed, but they (opposition) did not notice the PCA 1959, they did not notice it.

"I discussed (pakat) with the inspector-general of police. I discussed (it) with the ministry's legal adviser, I said this can be used," he said.

NONEAfter being informed of the limitations of the Act by the police, Ahmad Zahid (left in photo) said he pushed for cabinet approval for amendments to the PCA before tabling it in the Dewan Rakyat.

"I (discussed) with (minister in charge of parliamentary affairs) Shahidan Kassim so that when the time comes (for a vote), the ... speaker would be on our side, the Dewan Rakyat secretary will be on our side," he said.

He then related how the opposition bench, where there are many lawyers, had made their case in the Dewan Rakyat against the amendments during the debate which extended to almost nine hours.

"I am not a lawyer. I was a banker, so I just listened. I did not understand what they said and even if I did I would not want to understand what they said because they were defending gangsters.

"Whoever who defends gangsters, I will surely oppose them," he said.

The home minister rubbished opposition demands to respect the human rights of suspected criminals, saying that the police, too, are entitled to have their human rights respected.

Ahmad Zahid said the Bill was passed without any changes, with a convincing majority of 115 votes to Pakatan Rakyat's 66 votes. - Malaysiakini, 7/10/2013, With criminals, we shoot first, admits home minister

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