Rafizi sets new standard for opposition

rafizi-ramli parliment

It is professionalism and the clear use of facts that is called for in parliamentary debates

Scott Ng, Free Malaysia Today

With the PM at his lowest in opinion polls, Umno and the Putrajaya administration are probably at their weakest in anyone’s memory. And yet, the Opposition has so far been unable to capitalise on that. To do so, one essential tool is needed – an orator par excellence, one who is capable of highlighting the weaknesses of the administration without being distracted by cheap insults, frivolous feuds and other petty matters.

For all their fire, our opposition leaders are often prone to burning themselves by allowing provocation to dictate their responses. They thus get dragged down into an intellectual quagmire that shames Malaysians when their speeches and remarks make it to the news.

But there’s one man who seems to be sincerely trying to make up for this shortcoming, and lately he’s made quite a credible job of it.

Many of you may have already read the text of Rafizi Ramli’s speech in the debate on Budget 2016. It’s on Facebook, and it’s going viral. The speech, delivered calmly and with great audience command, is concise and makes excellent use of the information at hand. It is possibly the best speech that has come from the Opposition in the past year.

It is clear that Rafizi has grasped the torch for this session of Parliament in cognisance of the fact that there is work to be done. Knowing full well that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker is a formidable opponent, Rafizi in great form quashed the Speaker’s reasons for refusing to let him table his private member’s bill. He pointed out that the rule requiring written submissions was archaic, now that one could email such submissions. He turned the Minister’s Function Act against the Speaker by framing it as an act of defanging the Dewan, but without impugning the Speaker with accusations.

This is a thinking man’s game. It is professionalism and the clear use of facts that will win out in our parliament, and Rafizi is blazing the path forward for the Opposition, which at times has been all too eager to engage in fiery discourse (read: shouting matches with little substance) with those across the floor.