MPs, ministers need to do better in Parliament, says analyst

Pakatan Harapan ministers have been urged to work closely with experienced civil servants so that they will be able to provide better answers in the Dewan Rakyat. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: An analyst says the recent Dewan Rakyat sitting, the first following the May 9 general election which saw Pakatan Harapan (PH) sweeping to victory, left much to be desired as far as the performances of MPs are concerned.

Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the PH government appeared to be still adjusting after 61 years of being in the opposition.

He also noted that the PH Cabinet comprised many first-time MPs.

Speaking to FMT, he said neither PH nor opposition MPs had performed satisfactorily, “but then again, the people do not really have high expectations”.

Awang Azman was asked to comment on the performance of the parliamentarians in the most recent Dewan Rakyat sitting, which ran from July 16 to Aug 16.

PH holds the lion’s share of seats in the Dewan Rakyat, having secured 125 seats out of 222 in the election.

Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS hold the remaining seats in the lower house.

Awang Azman said although Malaysians might have low expectations of their parliamentarians, they still wanted members of the lower house to debate issues in a courteous, cultured and orderly manner.

“Profanities and cursing reflect the mentality of the MPs. It shows how confused they are and that they lack class.

“And then, there are those who like to use dual languages, which shows a poor command of the language,” he said.

In terms of answering questions, he said, PH ministers still had a lot to learn from those with more experience.

He advised them to work closely with civil servants who were familiar with the issues and had served in the different ministries.

“The PH backbenchers need to be wary of sliding into the unhealthy attitude of worshipping their own leaders, much like how BN MPs used to defend former prime minister Najib Razak.

“If they continue to put their own leaders on a pedestal, not only will the rakyat get sick of it, the PH government will start to get complacent.”

Among the highlights of the last Dewan Rakyat sitting was the repeal of the goods and services tax (GST), as well as the Anti-Fake News Act, which was passed just four months ago.

A few BN MPs also opted not to walk out of the lower house together with other opposition MPs who had objected to the way Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was appointed.

Several BN MPs also backed a motion tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng calling for investigations into the 1MDB scandal to be reopened and its findings made public.

Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin meanwhile dominated news headlines when he used the “F” word in the lower house.

The incident occurred during the debate on the sales bill, after Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin asked Bung Moktar if he had gone to a casino.

Bung Moktar had responded by telling Mongin that he was rude and calling him a gangster.

“You want to fight? F*** you,” he added.

Ariff had warned MPs that he would expel anyone who resorted to vulgar language after BN’s Lipis MP Abdul Rahman Mohamad used an obscene term on DAP’s Jelutong MP RSN Rayer.

Rayer himself used the term “kepala bapak” and was asked to retract his remark by deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming.