Parliament, where laws are made (UPDATED with Chinese Translation)

Do you know that if you indulge in oral sex you can go to jail for ten years? That is the law. Oral sex is a crime and punishable by a long jail sentence. However, if they implement this law then 80% of Malaysians will go to jail, maybe more. Anal sex too is the same, even if you do it with your own wife.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Since last week the Malaysian Parliament has been ‘hot’. Many ‘newly-independent’ Members of Parliament have taken centre stage to whack their opponents on the ‘other side’. The fact that they are supposed to be ‘independents’ and yet they whack the opposition means they consider the opposition as the ‘other side’. How would this then make them independents? Zulkifli Noordin, in fact, defended Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, which gives an impression that he is now ‘Najib’s man’.

Now, when Malaysia Today says it is independent that may be almost close to the truth (I said ‘almost’ because Malaysia Today too takes a stand; so that does not quite make us totally independent). Even Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim are not spared.

The pieces I wrote saying that Anwar is better off in jail since he is not addressing the problems of his party and that of the opposition while Khalid should resign as MB and hand over his post to Azmin Ali really hurt the feelings of these two personalities. But, hey, this is a no holds barred column. And that is the nature of the beast, no holds barred.

This current session of Parliament has been reduced to a mud-slinging match where everyone tries to outdo each other in how much shit they can dredge up. It has become so downright personal. It is about how bad a scumbag and slime-ball the ‘other side’ really is.

Exposes, revelations, shit stirring and mud slinging is the work of Malaysia Today. That not is the work of Parliament. Parliament should be above this gutter politics. Leave that to Malaysia Today. We live in the gutter.

Since Parliament has infringed into Malaysia Today’s turf by embarking on exposes and revelations about the indiscretions, wrongdoings, violations, etc., of politicians, Malaysia Today is going to infringe on the work of Parliament. Let Parliament take over the work of Malaysia Today. Malaysia Today will then take over the work of Parliament.

There are 222 Members of the Malaysian Parliament. And Parliament is where laws or Acts are enacted. Parliamentarians are voted into office by their constituents. So they represent their constituents. Most times, however, the Parliamentarians are not too concerned with what their constituents want. They are more concerned with their own personal needs. That is why Parliament has been reduced to an arena where you make personal attacks on those from the other side of the political divide.

How many of the 222 Members of the Malaysian Parliament meet their constituents before each session of Parliament? This should have been done in early March for this current session of Parliament. Do they conduct regular meet-the-voters sessions or dialogue sessions with the people who voted them into office to get the voters’ views and opinions on what they would like to see raised in Parliament?

Ex-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Malaysia is a country with first-world infrastructure but third-world mentality. Well, maybe not quite first-world infrastructure but certainly third-world mentality. When you watch the Malaysian Members of Parliament in action you can certainly see that even they have a third-world mentality.

How can the Malaysian Parliament transform itself into a first-world institution when you have third-world Members of Parliament? It is like putting the lunatics in charge of the asylum. I would not consider even 20% of the 222 Members of Parliament as being worthy of their office. And it is even worse when you look at the more than 500 State Assemblypersons. I would not employ some of them to drive my car or tend to my garden let alone represent me in the State Assembly. Takde standard langsung.

Almost two weeks have been wasted and so far nothing good has come out of the current session of Parliament. Is this how we are going to continue until the end of this Parliament session?

I remember back in 1999 when the then opposition coalition, Barisan Alternatif, set up a Shadow Cabinet. Committees were also set up to assist each ‘Cabinet Minister’ from the opposition. I was in some of those committees. We did research and prepared papers for the opposition Members of Parliament so that they could indulge in quality debates in Parliament.

In 2004, when the opposition was almost wiped out in the general election, this practice was not continued. Nevertheless, in 2004, I was engaged by a few Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament to help them do research and to prepare questions and identify issues for them to raise in Parliament.

In 1999 we did this free of charge for the opposition. In fact, we spent our own money to fund the activities. So in that sense it may have been free for the opposition but it certainly cost us quite a bit of money. In 2004, when a few Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament who had heard of our work approached me, I agreed to do it for them — not because I support Barisan Nasional but because I wanted the peoples’ voice to be heard. And since the opposition is not able to do this then I work with anyone else who can, Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament included.

The Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament told me that the 1999-2004 session of Parliament was hell for them. The opposition Members of Parliament gave them a hard time. They were so well prepared and raised some very good issues in Parliament. After the 2004 general election things toned down a lot and it was plain sailing for Barisan Nasional.

Since 2008 I no longer do research or prepare papers for the Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament. Most of them have been kicked out of Parliament anyway because of the 80 seats that the opposition won. I thought, with 80 seats in Parliament, surely the opposition is well poised to handle matters on their own. It appears, however, this is not so.

Parliament is where laws are made or reviewed. Parliament makes the laws by which we have to live under. Old laws need to be reviewed as to whether they should be repealed or amended and new laws to address new developments need to be introduced. Is this being done? Are our 222 Parliamentarians even concerned about this?

I do not intend to write a book so it would be impossible for me to cover all the issues. I shall just offer some examples to demonstrate what I am talking about. But this is far from the entire ‘shopping list’. There are just so many issues, which I can’t cover in a short article.

Let’s first talk about the Internal Security Act (ISA). This was a law introduced in 1960 after much debate. The Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, introduced the Bill in Parliament and the Opposition Leader, D.R. Seenivasagam, stood up to question the rationale of a draconian detention without trial law.

Tun Razak explained that there are about 800 Communist Terrorists operating in the Pahang jungles and along the Malaysian-Thai border. The ISA is to address the Communist Insurgency and for no other purpose. And with that assurance even the opposition supported the introduction of the ISA.

Well, the Emergency is now over and the Communist Party of Malaya signed a Peace Treaty with the government in 1979. So there is no more Emergency or Insurgency. But the ISA is still in force. And it is no longer used against Communist Terrorists but against political dissidents and alleged ‘Islamic ‘ terrorists.

Why aren’t the 222 Parliamentarians debating this?

The ISA states that it is supposed to be used against ‘a body of persons’, which means an organised group, not against individuals. And the ISA is meant ‘to combat the Communist Insurgency’. In the first place, is the ISA even legal? Does the ISA breach the Constitution, which says one cannot be detained without first being told of his/her crime, without being allowed access to a lawyer, without being brought before a court of law to be charged, and so on?

So the ISA is clearly being abused. In fact, it may even be unconstitutional. Read the Parliament Hansard of 1960. This is all on record. Is the ISA now a law to cover non-Communist activities as well? In that case this needs to be debated in Parliament and the government needs to clarify this. As it stands now, the ISA is illegally being used against those who should not be detained under the ISA (non-Communist Terrorists). But the 222 Members of Parliament are not concerned one bit.

What about the Petroleum Development Act (PDA)? This law was introduced in 1974. But is this law legal (the same question with regards to the ISA)? Does Parliament have a right to take control of the states’ natural resources? When the states agreed to join the Federation it was agreed that natural resources are state matters and do come under the control of the federal government.

The ISA and PDA are not the only laws that Parliament passed, although legal from the point of ‘majority vote’, which may not quite be legal according to the Constitution.

Okay, the legal eagles would argue that since Parliament passed those laws then they are legal. There are provisions in the Constitution that allow Parliament to pass ‘illegal’ laws’ during an Emergency. And Emergency has been declared in Malaysia. And Emergency has not been undeclared up to now.  So, under the Emergency, laws that violate the Constitution can be passed.

Agreed. And that is why we have the Police Act where they can prevent gatherings of more than four people. And this law is being used against the opposition to the fullest. So it is not illegal for the police to arrest those who assemble in a crowd of more than four people in spite of the fact that the Constitution allows freedom of peaceful assembly.

In short, because we declared an Emergency in Malaysia 50 years or so ago, Parliament can ignore what the Constitution says and can pass laws that sidestep the Constitution.

That may have been the proper course of action 50 years ago. 50 years ago there were bombings and shootings and people were dying. And the culprits were the Communist Terrorists and, later, the Indonesians during the 1962 Konfrontasi. But with the end of the Emergency and Konfrontasi, why is Malaysia still applying emergency laws? And why are the 222 Members of Parliament not debating this?

Enough examples. Let me stop here before this piece gets too long. Suffice to say much needs to be debated and corrected in the event a correction is in order. But the 222 Members of Parliament are not doing this. Instead, they use Parliament as a personal battlefield.

I can easily draw up a list of 100 issues, starting with the ISA, PDA, declaration of the Malayan Emergency, and so on, that parliament needs to address. We have inherited many laws, which at the time the laws were introduced were suitable, but may not be so today.

Do you know that if you indulge in oral sex you can go to jail for ten years? That is the law. Oral sex is a crime and punishable by a long jail sentence. However, if they implement this law then 80% of Malaysians will go to jail, maybe more. Anal sex too is the same, even if you do it with your own wife. Do these laws need to be reviewed? Do they need to be repealed? Are they still applicable, even for Muslims?

Hey, the days when you can have sex with your wife only after obtaining the consent of the English king under the ‘Fornication Under Consent of the King’ law (F.U.C.K. for short) are long gone. This is the new age. And the oral and anal sex laws have also gone the way of those other archaic laws. Malaysia too has many laws that are archaic. They may have been appropriate 50 years ago. They may not be so today. And Parliament must address this. But the 222 Members of Parliament are too busy doing other things and do not have time to look into this.


Translated into Chinese at: