Forward    Feedback    

Abdullah should respect Parliament and give at least three months’ notice before dissolution of Parliament for general election to allow three Parliamentary Select Committees adequate time to submit final reports which could be debated in Parliament


Speech (2)      
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Ipoh, Thursday) : Speculation on when is the next general election is coming think and fast.   

Although conventional wisdom is that the 12th general election would be before next April so that Anwar Ibrahim would not have fully regained his civil rights including standing for elective office, the preponderant opinion points to an end-of-the year timing, with Nov. 25 pinpointed as the polling date by some quarters. 

In recent days, however, there are more and more vibrations coming from Barisan Nasional component parties that the next polls could be even earlier and might be in August or even July. I for one lean towards the end-of-the-year timetable. 

Whatever the date, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should respect Parliament and give at least three months’ notice before dissolution of Parliament for general election to allow three Parliamentary Select Committees adequate time to submit final reports which could be debated in Parliament. 

The three Parliamentary Select Committees are (i) on National Unity and National Service; (ii) on Integrity; and (ii) on Code of  Ethics for Members of Parliament. 

The Parliamentary Select Committee on National Unity and National Service had submitted an interim report which was debated in Parliament early this month, but it has still to draft and present its final report. 

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity is now in complete disarray with the sudden resignation of its Chairman, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok on the ground of incompatibility for him to function in his capacity in his dual role as Chairman of the Select Committee and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Until Parliament meets on June 18, there is no clue as to how a meeting could be called in the absence of a Chairman – let alone the drafting and presentation of a Report to Parliament on its deliberations and recommendations on integrity. 

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Code of Ethics for Members of Parliament which was formed in early December last year has yet to hold its first meeting. 

If Parliament is suddenly dissolved without notice, all the three Parliamentary Select Committees will lapse and all the meetings and public hearings conducted by the Parliamentary Select Committees on National Unity and Integrity will all come to nought as no report would be able to be presented by the two Select Committees to Parliament.   

This would mean that these two Select Committees would be a colossal waste of time, expenditure and resources if their operations are suddenly aborted with the dissolution of Parliament. 

For this reason and out of respect for Parliament, Abdullah should give at least three months’ notice to allow the Parliamentary Select Committee to fully wound up their work with the completion and presentation of their reports to, and debate by, Parliament.

Abdullah should also give an assurance that he will not follow the bad example set by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for the 1999 general election when Parliament was dissolved when the 2000 Budget was in mid-stream – after its presentation to Parliament but before debate had been completed and the budget passed by the Dewan Rakyat. 

There was no justification for dissolving Parliament when debate on the budget was at midpoint, as there was no constitutional crisis involving the possible collapse of the government because of withdrawal of support of the majority of MPs. 

The dissolution of Parliament in November 1999 when debate of the annual budget was in midpoint was a gross and cynical abuse of power and utter contempt for the parliamentary process – and should not be followed by Abdullah. 

The 2008 budget is scheduled to be presented to Parliament on  Friday, Sept. 7, 2007. Abdullah should either dissolve Parliament before Sept 7, but once the 2008 budget is presented to Parliament, there should be no dissolution until the 2008 Budget had been passed by both House of Parliament and given the Royal Assent by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, which will take the whole process to the end of December. 

So either dissolve Parliament before Sept. 7 or wait until late December when 2008 budget had been approved through all stages before there is a dissolution of Parliament. 

Is Abdullah prepared to show such an elementary respect of Parliament?


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

Your e-mail:

Your name: 

Your friend's e-mail: 

Your friend's name: