Facebook Twitter Google Plus Vimeo Youtube Feed Feedburner

ROS LBoard 1

Even sensitive issues debated in Parliament in Dr M’s time, says Syed Hamid

 | November 18, 2017

The former minister recalls that only questions which touched on the monarchy, religion and race were rejected by the Dewan Rakyat.

Syed Hamid: All questions submitted were answered by the government, although some answers did not satisfy the opposition.

Syed Hamid: All questions submitted were answered by the government, although some answers did not satisfy the opposition.

KUALA LUMPUR: Issues deemed sensitive were debated freely in the Dewan Rakyat during the premiership of Dr Mahathir Mohamad unlike under current Prime Minister Najib Razak, says former minister Syed Hamid Albar.

He also said questions that censured the government were answered by government leaders, either during the debates or question time.

Hamid, who was in charge of parliamentary affairs from 1990 to 1995, said all questions submitted were answered by the government, although some answers did not satisfy the opposition.

“As examples, the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) and the foreign exchange (forex) trading issues. All were debated. The government would either table or distribute the answers,” he told FMT.

He said the BMF and forex controversies were debated in the Dewan Rakyat because the huge financial losses posed a threat to the Malaysian economy.

The BMF scandal in early 1980s shook the nation after the finance company’s Hong Kong branch gave out loans to dodgy companies that included a unit of Carrian Holdings Ltd.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were lost after the Carrian group sank under the weight of its debts in the largest bankruptcy in Hong Kong’s history.

An auditor of Bank Bumiputra, the parent company of BMF, sent to the then British colony to investigate the dubious deals was murdered. Subsequently, the government had to bail out Bank Bumiputra with the injection of billions of ringgit.

Syed Hamid acknowledged that some questions submitted to the Dewan Rakyat were rejected, but these concerned issues touching on the monarchy, religion and race.

Johari says Mahathir never placed controversial issues under the OSA before they were debated in the Dewan Rakyat.

Johari says Mahathir never placed controversial issues under the OSA before they were debated in the Dewan Rakyat.

Opposition MP Johari Abdul (PKR-Sungai Petani), who used to head the National Civics Bureau (BTN) under the prime minister’s department, also did not recall any sensitive issues being avoided in the Dewan Rakyat’s debates during Mahathir’s time.

“There were sensitive issues such as the forex scandal and BMF. They were brought up in Parliament and debated,” he said.

Johari said Mahathir never placed controversial issues or scandals under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) before they were debated in the Dewan Rakyat.

“Whatever you may say about Dr Mahathir, he didn’t do that. But, now, the report by the Auditor-General (on 1MDB) is deemed sensitive and placed under OSA (in March 2016),” he added.

Ministers and their deputies were also often accused of providing evasive answers to questions and avoiding answering questions on sensitive issues, such as 1MDB and the goods and services tax (GST).

Hanipa is tired of questions concerning 1MDB being ignored by the ministers responsible.

Hanipa is tired of questions concerning 1MDB being ignored by the ministers responsible.

Amanah’s Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said he was tired of questions concerning 1MDB being ignored by the ministers responsible.

“Many times (the questions were not answered). For instance, I asked for the account number belonging to the prime minister said to have received a sum of money but got no answer,” he said.

“Questions that we call kampung development committee (JKKK) questions, like street lights, traffic congestion, clogged drains, are answered but not those on 1MDB.”


Comments

Readers are required to have a valid Facebook account to comment on this story. We welcome your opinions to allow a healthy debate. We want our readers to be responsible while commenting and to consider how their views could be received by others. Please be polite and do not use swear words or crude or sexual language or defamatory words. FMT also holds the right to remove comments that violate the letter or spirit of the general commenting rules.

The views expressed in the contents are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of FMT.

Comments