Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The 26 absent MPs need apologize not try to justify absence during voting on POTA?

Members of Parliament must attend each and every Parliamentary session without fail - note the dates of Parliamentary sessions are all informed earlier, and so is the agenda.

Save for falling sick, or the sudden passing away of a family member, I see no other legitimate reason for absentism. What about arrest and detention by the police? Well, the police should really avoid doing anything that prevents an MP from attending and participating in a Parliamentary session.

Note that the comments are based on the facts stated in the Malay Mail report below. These comments of mine are meant to bring improvements in our MPs and their conduct so that we will get better Opposition MPs..

So we must Mahfuz Omar of PAS - what are these legitimate reasons that he is talking about? - noting that he too was absent!

We must ask Johari Abdul of PKR, what are the 'concrete' reasons for absence from Parliament. Noting that he too was absent! What was his concrete reasons for absence?

Mahfuz Omar of PAS says that he had 'a planned engagement in Kedah' - this is certainly not an acceptable or legitimate or concrete reason to justify his absence. An MP knows when Parliamentary sessions would be, and he should avoid agreeing to any 'a planned engagement in Kedah'.And all MPs know that Parliamentary sessions can also proceed until midnight or even wee hours of the following morning - especially when it comes to passing of Government Bills, more so controversial Bills like POTA.

no prior instruction for all opposition lawmakers to be present - what nonsense is Mahfuz talking about. You came to the people and asked them to chose you as their Member of Parliament, now the key word is 'Parliament' - and hence, your duty is be in Parliament whenever it is sitting. Your duty as MP is read all the Bills, or Usul(Resolutions) - do your research, get public/constituent feedback and participate fully in the proceedings of Parliament. That is the instruction of your constituents - what do you want? Continuous instructions for every parliamentary session by your constituents, the people, for you to attend - if not, you will be absent? 

Mahfuz, whose instructions are you waiting for? Your party's instructions? The Opposition leader's instructions? The Speaker's instructions? The Prime Minister's instructions? Pakatan Rakyat's leadership instructions? All opposition lawmakers...and government lawmakers must attend every Parliamentary session...that is the people's instructions and what is required by each and every peoples' representative - Members of PARLIAMENT.

To top it all, Mahfuz is allegedly PAS's chief WHIP, and Johari Abdul is PKR's chief WHIP, and it their duty to ensure that all their party MPs are present in Parliament.   

What is a WHIP? Wikipedia says as follows
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers," who typically offer inducements and threaten party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. A whip's role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. - Wikipedia
Certainly, POTA was an important piece of legislation, and when this important vote was taken, 26 Opposition MPs were absent - and worse still the chief WHIPs of both PAS and PKR were absent. 

How can Mahfuz Omar of PAS or Johari Abdul of PKR, the alleged chief WHIPs of their respective political party be 'ensuring party discipline in Parliament' when they themselves are not only absent when POTA was voted on - but who failed to admit their own failings and chose to advance reasons to justify their absence. Really, if there is a GOOD - a VERY GOOD REASON, tell us please...

MPs should be making choices based on their conscience and values after considering all arguments. A 'Whip System', can some times turn MPs into ignorant disinterested persons - not bothered about decision making - but only ready to vote as instructed. I certainly do not want such a person to be my MP...Let's hope that our 'whips' in Malaysia are not offering 'inducements' or threatening our peoples' reps to vote as directed...without thinking.

Reveal now who were these absent MPs - we may want to consider this come next elections if they are again forwarded as candidates from the political parties. We want to know why they were absent? We want to know how many times they were absent? We want to know whether they have been good Parliamentarians or not... Remember, politicians can always do their work as politicians without being MPs, ADUNs or Senators - so step aside and let those with the required capacity, skills and inclination to be MPs, ADUNs and Senators. 

See also related post:- 

26 Pakatan MPs who were absent when POTA was passed in Parliament should resign?

Pakatan MPs defend absenteeism in Parliament after anti-terror law passed unchanged

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — On the defensive after the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Bill was passed unchanged today, opposition lawmakers blamed the Home Ministry for what they claimed to be undue haste in pushing through the new law that revives preventive detention.

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs said their 26 colleagues who were missing during the debate of the bill in the Dewan Rakyat last night had “legitimate” reasons for skipping out, adding that there was no prior instruction for all opposition lawmakers to be present.

“When tabling laws like this, they should give more time as the Act is not a small issue,” PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad told Malay Mail Online, referring to the Home Ministry.

“Don’t make it normal practice to drag proceedings until 2am,” he added when met at the Parliament lobby.
PAS chief whip Datuk Mahfuz Omar, who was himself absent last night, claimed that he had no idea there would be block voting on the anti-terror law.

“I had a planned engagement in Kedah. There was no instruction for us to be present.

“I did not know there would be block voting,” he told Malay Mail Online.

PKR chief whip Datuk Johari Abdul played down the absence of PR MPs, saying that “most” of the them were present.

“Most of them were, only a few were not here and we had concrete reasons,” Johari, who was also absent said.

But DAP Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua asserted that most of his party’s were present, and that federal lawmakers were aware that the Pota would be deliberated yesterday.

“We were here. Of course there would be block voting, the point is to be prepared for that,” he told Malay Mail Online.

The Pota was passed without amendment at the Dewan Rakyat at about 2.25am this morning after a debate of more than 12 hours.

The bill was passed after the ninth block voting, with the final voting favouring the government when 79 MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN) agreeing on the bill while 60 MP from PR disagreed.

Tabled in Parliament last Monday, Putrajaya’s proposed new law will allow authorities to detain suspected terrorists without bringing them to court for up to two years, with a Prevention of Terrorism Board (POTB) empowered to renew the detention order for an indeterminate amount of time.

Judicial reviews of such sentences are not permitted, according to the Bill, except for questions on its compliance with procedural matters.

Opposition lawmakers have claimed such provisions mirror that of the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 which was often used to silence political opposition to the establishment.

They also argued that the government already have strong existing laws like the Special Security Offences (Special Measures) Act to deal with terrorism, noting that it allows for long detention for investigation.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi did not address the question but argued that existing laws were not equipped with preventive powers, which is required to deal specifically with terrorism - Malay Mail

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