Has Najib no respect for Parliament? Insulting the oppositions during budget
As Prime Minister as well as Finance Minister, he must be responsible enough to attend the debate on Budget 2013.
JAYA: The national budget is so important that the Federal Constitution
requires a fresh election if the government of the day fails to get
majority support for it.
Today is the first day of Parliamentary debate for Budget 2013, but
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and senior cabinet members are missing
from the Dewan Rakyat, leaving only the ruling coalition’s backbenchers
to represent them.
This is nothing short of contempt of Parliament.
Worse , Najib used the weekend to criticise Pakatan Rakyat’s shadow
budget and even said that the opposition’s Buku Jingga was not worth the
paper it was printed on.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, a former finance minister, was appalled by the situation and he has made his anger known.
Indeed, the entire nation should be appalled.
With the entire government machinery behind him and the mainstream media
to carry his statements without rebuttal, it is convenient and easy for
Najib to insult the opposition.
But the true mark of a man, in this case a national leader, is how he is
able to convince others of the excellence of his decisions against
Najib, especially since he is also the Finance Minister, must be
responsible enough to sit in the Dewan Rakyat and defend the budget
against Pakatan lawmakers.
It is not only about engaging opposition lawmakers, who are also
mandated by the rakyat, but also about being responsible enough to
explain his decisions for Budget 2013.
The opposition MPs may point out some flaws in the policy that may have
escaped government scrutiny, and the ministers, being absent, are guilty
of gross negligence.
If the Finance Minister himself is absent from Parliament, how is he to
note the points mentioned by Pakatan lawmakers? Did Najib ask any of the
backbenchers to take notes and deliver them to him?
Worse, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia is keeping silent about this instead of rebuking the Finance Minister.
Some may argue that Najib is a busy man, being Prime Minister as well as
Finance Minister and Women’s Minister. True indeed, but no one forced
him to shoulder those additional burdens.
Najib and the other ministers need to get their acts together and
respect the House. The budget is an important piece of document and it
must be debated thoroughly to ensure every issue is addressed.
If Najib thinks he has no time to debate the budget he himself
presented, perhaps he should relinquish the Finance Minister’s post to
someone who has the time.