KUALA LUMPUR, April 8, 2015:
While the passing of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill (Pota) in Parliament yesterday irked Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), the absence of Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers rubbed salt into the wound.
The youth NGO said it was bad enough that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak “contradicted” his promise of moderation by allowing detention without trial as a provision in Pota.
The number of PR Members of Parliament present seemed to anger SAMM which noted that there were 64 present during the voting for the second reading and that went down to 60 during the voting for the third reading.
“This is not the first time PR Members of Parliament were missing from Dewan Rakyat.
“Even in the last term there were PR Members of Parliament who were playing truant when important bills were being passed, including the Kampung Baru Development Bill,” SAMM national coordinator Roslee Mohd Shariff said in a statement today.
Roslee also refused to accept any “excuses” for the absence, be it Members of Parliament having other appointments or that Barisan Nasional held the majority number of seats in Parliament.
He saw the excuses were being used to deny their own faults and weaknesses, or were “recycled” ones.
On the reason that the agenda was prepared by BN, Roslee said SAMM realised that point, but said this week was the last for this session’s Parliamentary sitting.
“As a Member of Parliament, can’t you prepare yourselves to face any eventuality? Pota 2015 is a bill needed by the BN regime.
“It is impossible that this regime will not pass this bill in a haste.”
Roslee added that citizens already knew who held the majority, but complete attendance in Parliament was a condition that should have been met.
“This will have reflected honesty and integrity of those who have pledged themselves as the people’s representatives.”
He further criticised the absent Members of Parliament by noting that Parliament’s official website had shared the year-long Parliamentary agenda dates.
“Hence, Members of Parliament could have planned around these dates when conducting their separate programmes.
“Can’t external meetings and programmes be held from Friday to Sunday?
“Even if there is a meeting with the residents of their constituency, don’t Members of Parliament have Special Officers to help in such matters?
The people, he added, would understand if Members of Parliament were not in their constituencies if they were attending Parliament.
Roslee also accused Members of Parliament of clocking in the morning and leaving early, receiving “attendance allowances”.
He warned that the list of those who were not present that day had already gone viral.
“SAMM suggests that each political party use the one candidate, one seat method in the coming elections.
“This is important to ensure that each Member of Parliament and assemblyman focuses on his roles and responsibilities.”