Isnin, 21 Mac 2011

At the Dewan RakyatOf spying, Interlok and the Bible

SO THERE is a spy in the House, an agent of Singapore, our first world neighbour which is perceived by some people as flaunting its wealth, its management efficiency and orderliness at us and which never tries to conceal its disdain for our bumbling ways.
The WikiLeaks confirmation seems to have vexed and irked some of us even more, to an extent that they see Singaporeans, or at least their hands, everywhere. And that probably explains why the country's rambutans are called Singapore lychee in the United States.

"How can the fruit be marketed as such when it is our fruit crop?" asked Datuk Ismail Kassim (BN-Arau) during the debate on the royal address on Tuesday. "This is embarrassing."

He probably would have gone on to ask the marketing agency whether the word "rambutan" was being cleverly marketed. It's not clear whether he is right in referring to rambutan as "our fruit crop" unless by "our" he meant countries in the region.

But he was interrupted by Datuk Bung Moktar Raden (BN-Kinabatangan) who said: "Oh, you need to ask Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) that question since he is a Singapore agent."

The burly Sabahan expected the uproar that followed his remark and he smiled as he sat down amid shouts of "retraction" ringing in his ears. But Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee pacified the protesting MPs by saying that Bung Moktar was only joking.

But Pua, who was not in the House when Bung Moktar referred to him as a Singapore agent, was not amused and on Wednesday asked Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to direct the Kinabatangan MP to retract his remark.

"I cannot overrule the ruling made by my deputy Ronald Kiandee," said the speaker whose decision was met with loud cheering from government backbenchers and protests from DAP, PKR and PAS MPs.

Pua said he will use the decision as a precedent.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak came early and answered the second question of the day. Zulkifli Noordin (Ind-Kulim Bandar Baru) had asked the prime minister that since there are Malaysians who after two years still do not fully understand the 1Malaysia concept whether it needed to be re-defined and re-branded. Najib said all the concept needed was a relentless explanation campaign to make more people understand it.

As he was speaking, ministers began trickling in one by one until towards the end of question time almost all cabinet ministers, including Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Idris Jala who Wee Choo Keong rebuked on Tuesday for not attending the Dewan Rakyat sittings, were in their seats.

The occasion was the debate on the government's motion of condolence to the Japanese government and victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11.

Earlier Najib, after answering question 2, did not answer question 3 by Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) who asked the prime minister "to state the roles and contribution of the first lady in her series of visits overseas".

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who had been answering all questions relating to the roles of the prime minister's wife since the meeting began last week, mentioned the countries Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor visited and explained why she visited them.

It is clear from the sittings this week that a few MPs are not happy with Rosmah's high profile public role. On Thursday, at least two of them, Siti Zailah Yusof (PAS-Rantau Panjang) and Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) criticised Rosmah in relation to her message of condolence to the Japanese people.

On Monday and Tuesday, Nazri had to answer questions about the prime minister's wife having a FLOM (First Lady of Malaysia) office and government officers as aides and whether she could be called first lady.

A project, Permata Pintar High School Programme for gifted children, which she inspired and is managed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, also came up for scrutiny on Wednesday.

Among other highlights in the Dewan Rakyat this week was the cynical smile DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang beamed at government benches and the backbenchers when commenting on the release of the Bahasa Malaysia Bibles.

He was surprised that it was announced suddenly by Senator Idris, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department, and not by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

On Wednesday, Speaker Pandikar Amin rejected a motion by M. Manogaran (DAP-Teluk Intan) to debate the use of the novel Interlok in Malay literature class for form five.

It was a convincing performance yet by glamour lady Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen on Tuesday when she spoke at length about the advertising and promotion contracts awarded by her ministry. It wasn't her swan song.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

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