Surendran mocks Najib’s empty seat in the House

Dewan Rakyat surendranPETALING JAYA: Najib Razak’s criticism of an opposition walkout during the Budget speech in Parliament yesterday was described today as “hypocritical and laughable”.

PKR’s N Surendran, MP for Padang Serai, pointed out that Najib’s seat in the Dewan Rakyat would be empty on Monday “as it has been every year” after he had delivered the Budget.

Contrary to the tradition of democratic parliaments, Najib had not bothered to attend the reply of the leader of the opposition to the budget speech. “Is this an example of Najib’s and the Barisan Nasional’s respect for the democratic process?” he said.

He said the walkout by MPs of Pakatan Rakyat “was a legitimate and necessary act of protest” against what he called “Najib’s continuing failure to answer our questions” about the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, allegations by the US Justice Department in civil suits, and allegations against Najib himself.

“To table the Budget without addressing these questions of the greatest national importance and economic consequence is to make a mockery of the parliamentary process,” he said

He pointed out that Najib rarely attended Dewan Rakyat meetings and was “only seen on ceremonial occasions” or a set-piece event. “MPs almost never have the opportunity to pose questions to the Prime Minister himself,” he said, a stark contrast to the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session which is the highlight of Britain’s House of Commons.

He accused the BN of enforcing rules to stifle the voice of the opposition. “Until today, no opposition motion or private member’s bills can be heard or debated by the House”.

A record number of opposition MPs had also been charged or investigated for various offences relating to freedom of speech and assembly and said Malaysia was second only to the Republic of Congo in the number of opposition MPs facing criminal charges.