Friday, April 02, 2010

Real live telecast of Parliamentary sessions - Secret electronic voting need be introduced.

When will we be getting real live telecast of Parliamentary proceedings? [Now, what we have is a live television program from Parliament with an host, interviews, commentaries - but not a live continuous broadcast of all the proceedings in Parliament.]

The 'live telecasts' that we are now being given for a few hours in the morning does not allow the viewer to see what is happening in Parliament. Whilst parliament session is going on, this program is giving us 'interviews' with Parliamentarians, MPs who should be participating in the sessions are giving interviews and commentaries. This program is in fact encouraging MPs to 'ponteng' and it is so wrong. They should be in the Dewan listening, considering the different opinions/views, contributing their own opinions, weighing the arguments and voting accordingly. [Maybe, they do not do this because they have no freedom of choice - they have no choice but to vote according to what the party wants them to vote. So why waste time in Parliament listening to views - for how to vote has already been decided for them. This really must change...]

At a separate press conference, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the BBC members were shocked over Shahrir’s decision to resign.

“It is not that we disagree with Shahrir but it’s an opposition motion and we usually reject their motions. - Star, 5/5/2006, Shahrir quits as Backbenchers Club chief

If you have visited Parliament, you will know that there is already a live broadcast of what is happening in the Dewan Rakyat (or Dewan Negara) which is being transmitted to television sets in the lobby, in the canteen, etc.. What the people deserve is for this live feed to be broadcasted  to our televisions at home so we can also sit and see what is happening in Parliament - see who is saying what? and who is present...and who is absent. The people want to follow the proceedings. 

We do not want pro-UMNO-BN summaries of what transpired in Parliament that is given to us in the Parliamentary Reports that RTM screens.

Give the people the live-feeds from the Parliament - and if there to be commentaries and interviews, these must be done when Parliament is not sitting.

It is so simple - and, I believe continuous live broadcasts of parliamentary sessions (that exist in many countries, including neighbouring Thailand, will definitely make Members of Parliaments more accountable, and will also force them to do more work, more preparation and contribute better in the Parliamentary debates. 

There is also a need for a reform of voting procedures in Parliament - No more this 'voice voting' - where the Yes is more than the No... It is so archaic. Maybe, there must 'secret electronic voting' - so that the people will know the results - i.e. the actual number of votes in support, the actual number of votes against and the number of abstention. 

MPs should be encouraged to vote according to their conscience and beliefs - not so much blindly along party lines . Ask most MPs why he supported or opposed a motion, and I am sure most may not even know the reasons save that it was the party position. The 'whips' should only come in for fundamental issues - not for each and every matter. People's representative must be allowed to vote according to his/her judgment (and better still, in accordance with what his/her constituents want).

Secret ballot - MPs key in their votes, and there will be no revelation as to how she/he vote. MPs must have the freedom of choice in voting in Parliament.

I may be a BN MP - but, I may not be in support of all that is suggested by the BN. I may also sometimes support things raised by the Opposition. 

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