Updated 4.30pm, 2 July 2009
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, with PAS’s Salahuddin Ayub (left), DAP’s Chong Eng, and Tony Pua (standing)
KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) today announced its 25 parliamentary ministerial committees, each co-chaired by a Member of Parliament (MP) from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), PAS and DAP.
Each committee will tag a ministry in the federal government but unlike proper shadow cabinet positions, will only focus on preparing for debates in Parliament, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali said today.
He said the committees’ objective was to improve the quality of debates in the Dewan Rakyat by pooling ideas and research. Members of the committees will include non-politicians who are experts in various fields.
Azmin said the committees have been active over the last few months researching and holding regular meetings with PR MPs.
But the announcement was slated for today, despite it being the last day of the current Parliament sitting, to highlight the committees’ role in the October Parliamentary sitting when the House will convene for two months.
Azmin said PR wanted to be prepared to tackle important bills, such as the yearly budget, which will be tabled in that sitting.
“It will be an important session with many big issues so we want all PR MPs to be prepared,” he told a press conference in the Parliament lobby.
Not a real shadow cabinet
Political observers have been arguing for PR to establish a shadow cabinet since the opposition alliance denied the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority after the March 2008 general election.
It was argued that forming a shadow cabinet would be one of the best ways for PR to prove its viability as an alternative government.
Azmin today said the term “shadow cabinet” should not be used to describe the committees. But he agreed, when asked, that the committees were “a step closer” to forming a proper shadow cabinet.
DAP information chief Tony Pua, who was also at the press conference, explained that shadow cabinets were official positions in other parliamentary systems but not in Malaysia.
Opposition parliamentarians who were shadow cabinet ministers were given a budget, research staff, and other resources to help them fulfill their roles.
“In our case, we’ll never get that recognition. For a sole person to be given a shadow cabinet position without resources is quite non-effective. The better way to approach it is to form committees, share resources and come up with collective ideas and debating points,” Pua said.
“It’s more practical since we don’t have official shadow cabinet positions under our current parliamentary system.”
Opposition parliamentary committee according to ministries
|Prime Minister’s Department||DS Anwar Ibrahim
Mohd Azmin Ali
TS Khalid Ibrahim
Dr William Leong
|DS Hadi Awang
Nasharudin Mat Isa
Dr Hatta Ramli
|Lim Kit Siang
Ngeh Koo Ham
Hiew King Chiew
|Home||D Johari Abdul||Salahuddin Ayub||Karpal Singh|
||Mohd Azmin Ali||Dr Dzulkefly
|Lim Guan Eng|
|Transport||D Zahrain Mohd
|Khalid Samad||Tan Kok Wai|
|Works||D Kamarul Bahrin Abbas||D Mahfuz Omar||Gobind Singh Deo|
|Commodities||D Rashid Din||D Wan Abd Rahim
|Er Teck Hwa
|Energy, Green Technology
|Tian Chua||Nasir Zakaria||Charles Santiago|
||Dr Hatta Ramli||Teresa Kok|
|Sim Tong Him
||Dr Mohd Abdul
||Che Uda Che Nik
Arts and Culture
|Amran Abdul Ghani
||D Mahfuz Omar||Teo Nie Ching
|Nurul Izzah Anwar
||Dr Che Rosli
|Housing and Local
|Hee Loy Sian
||Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud||Nga Kor Ming
|Liew Chin Tong
|Abd Aziz Abd Kadir
||D Abd Halim
|Sports||Tan Tee Beng||Md Firdaus Jaafar
||Dr Lee Boon Chye
||Dr Mohd Hayati Othman||Dr Tan Seng Giaw|
and Community Development
||Siti Zailah Mohd Yusuf
||Fong Po Kuan|
||D Wan Abdul Rahim
|Fong Kui Lun|
||Wee Choo Keong
||Dr Lo’Lo Mohd Ghazali||Lim Lip Eng
||Salahuddin Ayub||Tony Pua
|Chong Chien Jen
NB: DS=Datuk Seri; D=Datuk; TS=Tan Sri
At last, PR has come up with something viable to keep a close eye on government dealings. Otherwise, their credibility would be at stake. Better late than never.
Nilesh Babu says
Why is there a representative from each party? There should only be one from PR and not one each from DAP, PKR, and PAS… This is redundant.
This is a great move from PR! A positive and healthy development.
To Nilesh Babu, I think having a committee with members from three parties is sensible now. We must recognise that this is not a shadow cabinet. If you want, you can see the three members as a set of minister and his/her deputies. But that’s not the point. 8 March 2008 happened rather unexpectedly. The alliance needs further strengthening and understanding, which takes time. And there may not yet be all the ministerial talent in the group of MPs, not that BN ministers are any better. But PR should set a higher standard for ministers. Hopefully GE13 will help to make that happen – change of government and the right, talented people elected to Parliament.
I agree with Pratamad. These are baby steps but that’s all PR can do until they learn to run. Let us hope they learn quickly.
Also, the reality is that the coalition has not properly gelled yet. They are still separate parties seeking a working relationship. Give them time.
Within each committee, the best performer can subsequently be appointed as the respective shadow minister. By that time, party-based allocation should not arise.
“Higher education: Zulkifli Noordin”
Andrew Khoo says
How badly does PKR need Zulkifli Noordin? He is an embarrassment to the party, and to Pakatan Rakyat as a whole. And now to name him to sit on the joint opposition committee on Higher Education? A clear sign of desperation.
Now that we know who are the potential candidates for ministers in the next government (if PR succeeds), the online media like Malasiakini, Malaysian Insider and The Nut Graph should work together to put these guys in the intellectual spotlight. Find out who offers the best and fair ideas for the country.
However, the closer we look into their views, there is a chance we will get to see greater differences among themselves.
Steve McCoy says
Tony Pua, who is DAP’s information chief, is not “doing” Information and Communication but Higher Education… and that makes sense how?