When Nazri Aziz urged Malaysians not to be harsh to the Members of Parliament who "forgot" to file their questions for the coming Parliamentary session, I take it that he's asking the rakyat not to questions MPs. How can ? If the Prime Minister can be asked with questions and even demands, why can we grilled the MPs ? It's not fair to throw all the questions and demands to the PM alone.

For forgetting to file their questions in the Cabinet, those MPs are being irresponsible to the voters who voted for them. If a simple task of filing questions can be conveniently forgotten, imagine the repercussion for those MP in forgetting to do their job i.e. to uphold fair and just constitutions and to ensure the betterment of their constituency. Later on, those MPS might reply "Oh, saya lupa tanya Perdana Menteri" or "Saya lupa minta peruntukan". Then how ? Wait for another 5 years !

By not questioning MPs will only breed bad habits of ignoring the mistakes of MPs which in future, he or she may even commit bigger mistakes. By questioning and scrutinizing those elected MPs, we keep them alert and perform betters for our own benefits and advantages.

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* Parliamentarians lost their voices

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Source: thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/4/22/nation/21024343&sec=nation (Apr 22, 2008)

Attitude of MPs in question

Comment by ESTHER NG

IT’S not the first time that MPs have failed to submit their questions to Parliament for the Question Time segment.

It has happened in the past but they went unnoticed and unreported.

However, things are different now after the March 8 general election. This is a new era and transparency is priority.

Now, public figures, particularly politicians, are subject to intense public scrutiny and they just have to get used to it.

The people are watching their representatives, from both the Government and Opposition, and this is evident from the blogs and SMS sent by the public.

The fact that 29 MPs – some old, some new, from both the Government and Opposition and constituting just over 10% of the total number of parliamentarians – had not submitted questions to check on government policies is something Malaysians find difficult to accept.

Even some of their fellow MPs said it was inexcusable. As newly-elected Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said, it was the duty of parliamentarians to ask questions.

Question Time, which takes up the first 90 minutes of the daily proceedings, is an important segment as it allows MPs to query and monitor decisions and policies made by the Government in various fields.

So, naturally, the people were hard on MPs who did not even bother to hand in their queries on time.

The point made by several of the “errant” MPs – that all was still well as they were more prepared to ask supplementary questions anyway – was not good enough.

What if none of the original questions touched on what you really wanted to ask?

The nation has been eagerly awaiting the new Parliament session and its proceedings will definitely be the focus when it convenes next week.

This will be the first time the Barisan Nasional and Opposition MPs will meet after the general election.

It is ironic that after the hard-fought elections where candidates went all out to win, some of them forgot to carry out the most basic of tasks.

One interesting note – what’s the point of having Parliament proceedings broadcast live over television when MPs do not submit their questions?

As Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said: “It is unfortunate that this involved those who wanted very much to become an MP by virtue that they were outspoken outside Parliament and are among those who demanded the proceedings be broadcast live.”

The “errant” Opposition MPs – five from DAP and nine from PKR – came under fire more than others, as they had vowed to be the new voice of the people.

The 15 MPs from Barisan were also taken to task. These MPs included four ex-ministers and two ex-deputy ministers.

The DAP has to be commended for taking the matter seriously and announced that its five “errant” MPs were told to file eports on why they failed to submit their questions.

This, according to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, was to ensure that this would not happen again.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Datuk Dr James Masing also expressed his disappointment that two MPs from his party did not submit questions to Parliament, saying that they, too, would be asked to explain.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, on the other hand, urged Malaysians to not be too harsh on the MPs, saying that he believed they had not done it on purpose.

Speaking up for the former frontbenchers, he said they were more used to replying questions than filing them.

While some may agree with him, many are reminding him that again, this is the new era and every politician is up for public scrutiny.

The new Parliament session is going to be hot. This episode only proves that the show has already begun even before the MPs are sworn in and take their seats in the House.


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