Articles, Opinions & Views: Do politicians really care about Parliament? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Do politicians really care about Parliament? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Malaysiakini : “The only politician ever to have entered parliament with honourable intentions, was Guy Fawkes.”- Terry Deary
COMMENT | I keep hearing from people of how this backdoor government is hijacking Parliament or how Parliament has somehow become some sort of totem for democracy in this country. I really do not get this.
Does the average Joe Rakyat really care about what is happening in Parliament? First, because we have an education system that does not place any sort of emphasis in the legislative or judicial process, the average Malaysian does not understand the function of Parliament or indeed the function of these committees in Parliament.
When Pakatan Harapan was in power, its MPs had a very lackadaisical attitude towards Parliament and their functions as MPs. For the sittings that did happen, there was always a lack of quorum. Press reports of these incidents were met with indifference and most people could not be bothered – certainly not politicians – for justifying their absence from what has suddenly become a sacred duty of those elected into office because of the palace coup by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
In November of last year after the Dewan Rakyat failed to make its quorum for a second time, then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (and Harapan chairperson) said that he would speak to lawmakers and remind them to attend Parliament and represent the interests of their constituents.
Mahathir said: “They were very anxious to be candidates for election but after having been elected, they are not behaving as if they are serious about serving the people.” When the debate of Budget 2020 was halted, then minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong sent out a circular and made public statements where he reminded political operatives that attendance should be "improved".
Of course, this being Harapan and all the subterfuge going on, the then prime minister had to remind everyone if they had an issue with him, they should confront him openly and not use their absence from Parliament as some sort of message.
“There are many other ways to express their views. If they don't like me, they can say so openly. I am subject to criticism... if you are a leader, you are expected to be criticised,” he said.
So much so that of all people, out in the cold then opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob (now senior minister) said - "It looks as if the parliamentarians and the ministers from Harapan are not interested in the Dewan. I think if you are not interested in the debates and not interested in being in the Dewan, then I suggest to the government to just dissolve this government.”
Of course, in that particular incident, Ismail Sabri did not know how many opposition MPs were in attendance but he did give a rational answer as to the importance of government representatives to attend - "Because this budget was tabled by the finance minister, so this is the government's budget. They should be in the Dewan to hear the debates from the opposition.”
So when Harapan was in power they really did not seem as interested in the sanctity of Parliament as they do now when they are out in the cold. Of course, if all you are using Parliament for is to gain power instead of exercising it, this would be a problem.
Lack of quorum
Check out the behaviour of Perikatan Nasional (PN) aligned groups, who attempt to subvert power in various state governments, for the full range of racist or uncouth behaviour to understand the mentality of some Malaysians politicians and their respect for legislative houses.
All this makes a mockery of the democratic process. not to mention desensitises us from the very dire consequences of actions by people who believe that fascism, either religious or racial, are acceptable forms of democratic platforms.
All of this did not go unnoticed by some political operatives from Harapan, some of whom posted messages on Facebook and Twitter of the lack of quorum and made statements encouraging active participation by Harapan lawmakers to represent their constituents instead of just loitering around Parliament and engaging in factional politics. The same can also be said of Umno and MCA representatives who also attempted to get MPs to take the process seriously.
All you have to do is a little research online to see how a lack of quorum and missing MPs have resulted in votes which narrowly pass “dumb” policies or put “good” policies in limbo. What we are dealing with here happens in most democracies but the reality is that for Harapan, which is dealing with a monolithic racial and religious establishment, it does not have the luxury or the MPs for these types of shenanigans.
Now, of course, it’s all about how this backdoor government is scared of Parliament but when Harapan had the power to carry of reforms and draw attention to issues that were important to the base, they really did not seem interested to carry out the functions of elected representatives. Let us not delve into why they didn't do it but rather how their incompetence and political skulduggery continues to return to bite them on their behinds.
Harapan when they were in power, demonstrated that all the parliamentary special committees essentially meant bupkis. Those special select committees that we were told were there to act as checks and balances to the government turned out to be fait accompli to the old maverick.
Selayang MP William Leong, a political operative who I think is one of the more rational political operatives around, apparently had no idea of the scope of his Select Committee on Major Public Appointments, even publicly asking for a meeting with then prime minister Mahathir to define the scope of his committee.
Select committee member Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (Kubang Kerian) said: "If we want to continue with this select committee, let it function. Otherwise, we might just as well dissolve it."
There are so many lessons to be learnt from this backdoor government, but more importantly from what Harapan did wrong in their brief time in power. I remember when before the historic elections, there were many political operatives who were rearing to champion their constituents in Parliament. Finally, they said the people had a voice in Parliament.
What happened? What happened to all those political reformists that wanted to change the system? When you have the chairperson of your alliance and the prime minister complaining of a lack of quorum and meaningless sub-committees which makes no difference, the base has been sold up the river.
I sincerely hope Harapan is learning lessons from all of this. Most folks are thinking about how they are going to overcome this pandemic than obsessing over when Parliament is going to reconvene. The irony is that when Parliament could have meant something, Harapan treated it like the way how they said BN did over the long Umno watch.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:02 PM  
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