Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's Wrong With Our Ministers?

The House ruptured into disorder again this morning, all within the live TV coverage as well, this morning in Parliament.

Yesterday, we had the Deputy Minister of Health, Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad creating a smaller storm by saying that doctors have the "license to kill", in describing the fact that doctors may cause fatalities via human failures. While the deputy minister in all probability didn't mean it in the literal sense, his lack of tact and respect for the medical profession caused a furore amongst many doctors sitting on the opposition bench including KEPONG, KUALA KRAI, TITIWANGSA as well as PERMATANG PAUH.

Despite the controversy and despite initial instructions from the Speaker to retract his statement, the deputy minister refused causing the proceeding to be further delayed by demands from parliamentarians who were rightly offended by the Deputy Minister. It was also not helped by the Speaker who was swung between decisions on whether to enforce the retraction or just secure a promise that the phrase will not be used again.

At the end, the Deputy Minister stood to retract his remarks, but stated that he will not apologise for the remarks made.

Today, we have the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Idris Harun, creating another unnecessary ruckus by using a obscene Tamil swear word when responding to a valid question raised by Nasir Zakaria [PAS/PADANG TERAP]. Most of us were oblivious to the term used, but M Kulasegaran [IPOH BARAT] and N Gobalakrishnan [PADANG SERAI] caught the use of the term loud and clear and demanded, rightly so, that the Deputy Minister retract and apologise for his use of the word.

The Deputy Minister gave the most thuggish of replies, despite leading the Higher Education Ministry, shouting and challenging PADANG SERAI to "repeat the word" that he allegedly used. The Speaker clearly lost control of the House then he'll always qualify his response with the excuse that he does not know the meaning of the word expressed and hence the House should move forward while he obtain the understanding of the word utilised before making a ruling subsequently.

The situation was really quite a disgrace. Unfortunately, BAGAN SERAI took matters into his own hands and chose to walk towards the Speaker to whisper the explanation of the word to him. It was unfortunate because it then created a total diversion from the unparliamentary act by the Deputy Minister, allowing the BN backbenchers to create another ruckus demanding that BAGAN SERAI be punished for breaking all decorum and showed disrespect towards the Speaker.

The party whip for PKR, Azmin Ali [GOMBAK] took the most honourable and admirable stand that BAGAN SERAI will apologise for his action to the House, which the latter did accordingly. Much less could be said for the integrity of the BN whip and parliamentarians who chose not to chastise their own colleague for bringing disrepute to the House.

As the Question time proceedings restarted, the disgraceful Deputy Higher Education Minister got away scot free, without even a need to retract his use of the word.

Are these the only people Barisan Nasional or the Prime Minister could find, who are competent enough to shoulder our Government ministries? And I'm not even referring to the quality of answers, which deserves another post altogether.
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