Umno MP: Look At Big ‘PSC’ Picture
PETALING JAYA: A Barisan Nasional MP has urged both sides of the political divide to put down their arms with regard to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform.
Abdul Rahman Dahlan stressed that there was no point in politicising the matter since both BN and Pakatan Rakyat want a more efficient Election Commission.
“What is important is that the opposition can express their views without hindrance. Remember, this is something that will be scrutinised by everyone, including NGOs and the international media.
“There’s really no way for you to wriggle your way out,” the Kota Belud MP told FMT RAW yesterday.
In view of this, Abdul Rahman urged all parties to “take a deep breath, stand down a little, and look at the big picture.”
The Umno leader also defended the presence of more BN MPs in the PSC on the ground that it represented the current composition of the Dewan Rakyat.
“BN has the majority and that is reflected in the PSC,” he said.
The government announced that the PSC would be headed by a minister and would consist of five BN MPs, three from the opposition and one independent. But Abdul Rahman assured that it would not be biased.
He stressed that both sides might have their opinions and “the people have to decide who is right and wrong” in the next general election.
“In every Parliament, the government usually will have an advantage… If the public thinks the government is no good, they can be thrown out in the the next general election,” he said.
“The Speaker will always say that the minority will have its say, but the majority will have its way. But the government must also give ample space to the opposition,” he said.
‘Ambiga must be called to testify’
Abdul Rahman, who sits in the Public Accounts Committee, said from his experience, a PSC was a fair platform to address issues and added that it was a “good idea” compared to calling for an emergency Parliament sitting.
“With the PSC, we will be able to look at things more precisely. It (the committee) will sit outside the hours of normal proceedings, will have its own meeting rooms. A lot of time will be spent interviewing witnesses. We can call up experts,” he explained.
Abdul Rahman said it was likely that Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan would be called to testify alongside the Election Commission.
“If the opposition doesn’t call her, I will call her if I was a member of the PSC. Ambiga will have to testify, because there are a lot of things she has to answer,” he added.
Abdul Rahman also dismissed the suggestion that if an opposition leader chaired the PSC, it would be impartial.
“Here’s the thing, I can also say, if an opposition leader is the chairman, how sure are we that he is going to play his cards fairly? He can also be biased,” he said.
Asked if Bersih 2.0?s eight demands would be implemented, he replied: “We have already talked about this. There are some good suggestions, but there are things you can only do when you amend the laws.”
On Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz reportedly ignoring the existence of Bersih 2.0 as it was an “illegal body”, Abdul Rahman said BN cannot deny that something happened on July 9, but stressed that Bersih 2.0 must also be non-partisan.
Quizzed on the date for the next general election, the Kota Belud MP said he had posed the same question to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak several times.
“He would look into my eyes and return the question, ‘when would you want it to be?’ And that’s very meaningful, are we ready? I think the PSC will have some bearing on the date, let’s see,” he said, adding that the polls would not be held this year.