DAP forms a seven-man Parliamentary Group headed by Sdr. Lee Lam Thye to study and make recommendations on parliamentary reforms to make the Malaysian Parliament more meaningful and effective

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the dinner of 24 DAP MPs held in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Oct.29, 1986 at 9 p.m.

DAP forms a seven-man Parliamentary Group headed by Sdr. Lee Lam Thye to study and make recommendations on parliamentary reforms to make the Malaysian Parliament more meaningful and effective

For the last 15 years, the DAP has been calling for parliamentary reforms to make the Malaysian Parliament more meaningful and effective to enable Parliament to play the premier political role it was intended in the MERDEKA Constitution by the founding fathers.

Unfortunately, the ruling governments had not only resisted calls for parliamentary reforms, the parliamentary procedures and practices had been emasculated over the years to make them even more undemocratic and unfair and denying Members of Parliament, in particular those from the Opposition, full and free opportunities to discharge their elected duties to articulate the hopes and aspirations, fears and worries of the people.

The Malaysian Parliament should have kept abreast with changing times and needs, and made innovatory reforms like the establishment of Specialist Parliamentary Committees for MPs to specialize in different areas of government, or new rules in parliamentary procedures and practices to ensure that the Executive and Ministers are held to more meaningful account by the MPs.

The Malaysian Parliament should be progressing, but instead had been regressing, in the last three decades. Ideally, a Parliamentary Select Committee should be set up to look into the whole question of Parliamentary Reform in Malaysia, but as there is no prospect of the Government agreeing to this move, the DAP Parliamentary Group has decided to establish a DAP Parliamentary Committee to study and make recommendations on needed parliamentary reforms in Malaysia.

The DAP Parliamentary Group on Parliamentary Reforms will be headed by Deputy Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye (MP for Bukit Bintang and DAP Deputy Secretary-General), and comprise the followings:

DAP Parliamentary Reform Study Group

Chairman: Sdr. Lee Lam Thye
Dy Chairman: Sdr. P. Patto (DAP Whip in Parliament and DAP Deputy
Secretary: Sdr. Sim Kwang Yang (MP for Bandar Kuching)
Asst. Secretary: Sdr. Gooi Hock Seng (MP for Bukit Bendera)
Members: Sdr. Fung Ket Wing (MP for Sandakan)
Sdr. Peter Dason (MP for Bayan Baru)
Sdr. V. David (MP for Puchong)

The DAP Parliamentary Group on Parliamentary Reform, has been asked to complete its study on needed parliamentary reforms in three months and to submit a report to the DAP Parliamentary Group, and it is our hope that the Report of the DAP Parliamentary Reform Study Group could be published, for its importance transcends that of Members of Parliament only, concerning the very meaning, purpose and functioning of our parliamentary democracy.

The DAP Parliamentary Reform Study Group, apart from making its own study of parliamentary innovations in other Commonwealth Parliaments, should also seek the views of present and former MPs, Ministers and Speakers regardless of party; as well as seeking the views of interested Malaysians and organizations who are concerned about the need for a more meaningful and effective Parliament.

If necessary, it should even consider having public sessions inviting interested Malaysians to give their views.

I hope that the DAP Parliamentary Reform Study Group will be able to make an important contribution in the history of Malaysian Parliament.

Penang DAP Wanita protests at ‘wolf-whistles’ in Parliament

I have received a letter from Penang DAP Wanita protesting at ‘wolf-whistles’ in Parliament, referring to a press report that DAP MPs had ‘wolf-whistled’ during the reply during the Supplementary Supply Committee stage debate last week by the Deputy Housing Minister, Puan Napsiah Omar.

The Penang DAP Wanita, in its letter, had said that if the press report about ‘wolf-whistle’ is true, then “it has not been in good taste,” that such behaviour indicated a lack of respect for woman in general, regardless of whether the women are from Barisan Nasional or any other political party.

I commend the DAP Penang Wanita for its quickness in taking up the cudgel for what is right, even against DAP MPs and leaders – and this is the spirit to be emulated by all.

I must clarify the ‘wolf-whistle’ incident last week however, as I was in the House then. The so-called ‘wolf-whistle’ was made, not so much because Puan Napsiah Omar was a woman, but at the gallant manner she was replying to points raised by the DAP MPs, although I agree that such whistles are in bad taste and against all proper decorum in the House. This was why I immediately sent a note round to stop such whistles in the House.

As DAP MPs, we must be prepared to admit mistakes if we make them, for it is an unending process to learn to be more effective, courages and outspoken in the House and outside to be the real representative of the people.

Barisan Nasional leaders should be more concerned about the people who steal $2.5 million in the BMF scandal, then in catching people who reveal secrets exposing the BMF scandal.

In trying to justify the draconian Official Secrets Act (Amendment) Bill, Barisan Nasional Assistant Whip and Deputy Health Minister, Datuk K. Pathmanaban, said that people stealing government information should not be given respect and the proposed OSA Amendment Bill would be ‘good’ to deal with such crime.

It is clear that to Datuk Pathmanathan, he is not bothered, for instance, about people who steal $2.5 billion in the BMF scandal, but he would like to catch the people who reveal government secrets leading to the expose of the BMF scandal.

I cannot share Pathmanaban’s moral values, for I definitely regard people who reveal government secrets in order to expose corruption, abuse of power, breach of trust, and all forms of government irresponsibility as the real patriots and nationalists of the country, who should be respected and honoured by all justice-loving Malaysians. In fact, theses ‘whistle-blowers’ who reveal the corruption and crimes being perpetrated under the protection of government secrecy laws should be honoured even more highly than Ministers and Deputy Ministers who utter platitudes about laws and regulations – and who make no protest and are utterly devoid of moral conscience when these laws and regulation become the tools of corruption and wrongdoing in government.