KUCHING: Santubong MP Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has rebuked Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs for using excuses such as “Parliament is too cold” and fatigue for their poor attendance in the Dewan Rakyat.
Wan Junaidi, who was a MP for 30 years and Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat from 2008 to 2013, said such statements showed that PH as a federal government was ridiculing the sanctity of Parliament as the national legislature of the country.
“For them to say that Parliament is very cold, that is nonsense. At my age, I have never complained because it is not cold inside Parliament. That is just their excuse,” said Wan Junaidi, who turned 73 this year.
“On their excuse of fatigue, let me remind them that we used to have meetings in Parliament until 3am the next morning. We did not complain we felt tired. How can they say they feel tired after a meeting from 10am to 8pm or 9pm?
“I can claim to have specialty in parliament administration and laws. I am even consultant for those enquiring about parliamentary privileges. I can speak with authority (on this matter),” he told a press conference after a briefing on projects in Santubong constituency at his service centre.
Wan Junaidi, who was a deputy minister and full minister in the previous government, said another instance of PH “ridiculing” Parliament was when some of the ministers could not even provide answers when queried by fellow parliamentarians.
“Some of them said ‘Refer to the Hansard’ and even one minister said ‘I will answer you in a written reply’. This showed the minister did not even know what his duties are after one year and six months in government, and did not even what is going on in his ministry,” he said.
Parliamentarians from PH also have a problem with management as they did not seem to have a strong minister in charge or a whip to ensure there is attendance, to ensure there is quorum and to to ensure government bill or motion is not being defeated, he added.
He also criticised the manner in which Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Arif Md Yusof used the ‘long count’ or delayed counting during voting of bills to ensure more time for PH to get enough MPs in Parliament.
“In my 30 years since 1990, I have never come across the long count being implemented. The Speaker should be neutral,” he added.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was recently quoted as saying it wasn’t easy for MPs to stay inside the Dewan Rakyat for proceedings because it can be “too cold”.
“It’s not easy for us to stay for a long time, you know? It is very cold sometimes,” said Hanipa as quoted by The Star.
PKR parliamentary whip chief Datuk Johari Abdul was also quoted as saying that fatigue was a factor causing the poor attendance of MPs
On Tuesday (Nov 26) night, the 2020 Budget for the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry was nearly defeated after Opposition MPs called for a bloc vote twice when they noticed that they had more MPs in the Dewan Rakyat than Pakatan.
During the first vote count, the allocation was nearly approved with 32 MPs voting in support while 28 Opposition MPs rejected it.
The final bloc vote called by the Opposition stood at 45-28, where Pakatan saw an increase of 17 in its majority.
Opposition MPs questioned the time it took to tabulate votes from a small number of MPs present, as it took about 20 minutes for the votes to be tallied.