Cenbet: Don’t turn question time into pick-and-choose question time

Simon-Lim-1mdbPETALING JAYA: A think tank today said the Dewan Rakyat’s rejection of some 30 questions related to 1MDB was not only an affront to democracy but would also give rise to unnecessary speculations.

“On questions surrounding 1MDB, the Dewan Rakyat would have been a legitimate avenue for the cabinet and various agencies to set the record straight, amid mounting bad press,” said Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) spokesman Simon Lim.

“So long as the questions are valid and legal, the executive should never shy away from answering them.

“The standing order in Parliament should not be abused, as it risks turning question time into pick-and-choose question time.”

On Monday, the opposition’s move to push for a motion to discuss 1MDB in the Dewan Rakyat was rejected.

Deputy speaker Ismail Mohamed Said said it was rejected on grounds that it was considered sub judice.

However, opposition leaders dismissed the explanation, with DAP’s Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo saying the Dewan Rakyat was the best platform to explain such matters.

He said there was nothing in the standing orders that excluded opposition MPs from asking questions about the investigation status on 1MDB here in Malaysia and what steps the government had taken in the civil cases filed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) in the US.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said subsequently denied that there was a deliberate move to prevent opposition MPs from asking questions on 1MDB.

She added that there were in fact four questions on the subject listed in the order paper for the first sitting of the current meeting of the Dewan Rakyat that day.

“The opposition’s action in alleging that Parliament is deliberately hiding information related to the 1MDB issue (by disallowing questions) is very baseless,” she said.

“In fact, to claim that not even one question on 1MDB is being answered is also not proper.”

Speaking today, Lim said giving clear and quality answers in the legislature was part of a vibrant and matured democracy.

He added that the Dewan Rakyat’s reasons for rejecting some of the 1MDB-related questions, such as sub judice for court cases taking place in another country, needed further clarification.

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