Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Batu Gajah Branch anniversary dinner held at Batu Gajah on Saturday, Feb 16 at 8pm.
DAP calls for a more meaningful celebration of the 25th anniversary of Malaysian Parliament which should aim at restoring to Parliament to its rightful political role.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, has announced that the Cabinet has decided that there should be a I celebration
to mark the 25th anniversary of Parliament, and a celebrations committee comprising government officials had been formed, There would be an exhibition at the end of next month on 25 years of Parliament, and essay competitions in schools would be held.
I think Malaysia must be the only country which profess to
practise parliamentary democracy where even the Silver
Jubilee celebrations of Parliament is regarded as a government
rather than as a Parliamentary matter. lt is a reflection of the very
subservient and subsidiary role of Parliament in the Malaysian political
scheme of things, despite the lip-service claims of the top
government leaders about the supremacy of Parliament.
Fifteen years ago, in l970, when the present Prime Minister, Datuk
Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, wrote his critique of the government of the day.
in his book ‘The Malay Dilemma’, he attacked the practice where Parliament
was regarded as a mere formality to give legitimacy to Cabinet decisions.
The Situation had not changed very much, although the author of this
critique is now the Prime Minister, and Parliament is regarded merely as an
appendix or even a minor department of government,
instead of according to Parliament its rightful role as the highest
legislative and deliberative chamber in the country?
The usurpation of the organisation of the Silver Jubilee
celebrations of the Malaysian Parliament by Executive is another example of
a long series of usurpation of Parliamentary powers by the Executive in the
last 25 years, especially in the legislative sphere.
The DAP calls for a meaningful celebration of the 25th anniversary
of Parliament, which must give emphasis to a national examination of the
role and function of Parliament, over the last 25 years, and how to make it
more effective in the next 25 years. A commission, comprising MPs, former MPs and
non-MP academicians and eminent Malaysians, should be set up to review the
role, the weaknesses and shortcomings of the Parliamentary system, and make
recommendations as to how to restore to Parliament its rightful political role.
There should be nation-wide debate and discussion of Parliament’s
function and role as part of the Silver Jubilee celebration of Parliament,
so that there could be a national participation in making the Parliamentary
system of government more effective and representative of the people’s
hopes and aspirations.
The culmination of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Malaysian
Parliament must be a Parliamentary debate on the role of Parliament, considering
the various recommendations and findings of the nation-wide debate as well
as the report of the commission of MPs, former MPs and non-MP Malaysians on a review
of Parliament. Such a celebration should transcend party lines, or even
government and opposition division, but must involve all Malaysians and
political parties and organisations who wish to see our Parliamentary system
of government continue and regain its original purpose and meaning.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to
respect the distinction between Government and Parliament, just as there must
be a distinction between Party and Government, and to hand over the Parliamentary
Silver Jubilee Celebrations to a Parliamentary Committee instead.