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My London Trip (Part 4)

I spent about five days in UK last week. I must say I have had a fruitful trip.

Some friends asked whether I went for holiday, I hope so……But unfortunately not.

I came under women caucus of Malaysian Parliament. We spent 3 solid days in the British Parliament building to meet and listened to the sharing of MPs from different political parties. I then know that the British Parliament has a special unit to give exposure programme like this to MPs of different countries, to let them be exposed to the parliamentary democratic practices in UK.

In that 3 days, I am most impressed with the weekly Prime Minister’s Question Time, I wish this can be implemented in the Malaysian Parliament.

I am also extremely impressed with the high percentage of elected women MPs in the British Parliament.

We were informed that following the 2015 General Elections, women now make up just a third of MPs, I.e. 29.4% and 191 seats. This is the highest number of female MPs in Parliament, ever.

There were 1,033 women candidates stood across all parties at the 2015 General Election, 26% of all 3,971 candidates. This is both the highest number and percentage on record, surpassing the previous record of 21% set in 2010.

Women MPs by party:
99 Labour Party (43%);
68 Conservative Party (21%);
20 SNP (36%)

Wao….to have 1/3 female MPs in the British Parliament elected under First Past The Post system is no joke. This reflects the openness of the society on gender equality.

We were told that leaders of each political party emphasized a lot on women’s issues and fielded many women candidates during elections campaign. Women’s votes decided which candidate to win and which party came to power. 💥😃


Bekas timbalan presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu, Pembangkang Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (tengah) dan Ketua Parlimen DAP Lim Kit Siang semasa di sidang meja bulat pembentukan gabungan baharu di Hotel Empire Subang Jaya hari ini. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Afif Abd Halim, 22 September, 2015.

Gabungan pembangkang baharu terdiri daripada PKR, DAP, dan Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) dikenali sebagai ‘Pakatan Harapan’, kata Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Gabungan itu juga menyaksikan parti Islam PAS tidak menyertainya, selepas Pakatan Rakyat yang ditubuhkan pada 2008 berpecah.

“Mulai hari ini, Pakatan Harapan akan berfungsi sebagai pakatan politik yang jitu membela rakyat berhadapan Umno dan BN,” kata Dr Wan Azizah selepas sidang meja bulat pembentukan gabungan baharu di Subang Jaya, Selangor hari ini.

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Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced yesterday that Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) will terminate the sponsorship for the next intake of students to Taylor’s University.

When he was asked by the media asked whether this was following the private college terminating the services of its operator used to ferry passengers to the red shirt rally in Kuala Lumpur last week, he said there are many reasons and he wants to keep the reason to himself.

The fact that Ismail Sabri could not even give any specific reason shows very clearly that it was a political vendetta against Taylor s University.

Political vendetta by a Minister is most irresponsible and dangerous, and an abuse of power. Ismail Sabri deserves to be condemned.

But most importantly, the Cabinet must direct him to rescind his decision.

Ismail Sabri has his right and freedom to support the Red Shirts rally as an Umno leader. No one will bother if he does not want his grandchildren to go to Taylors University. But he cannot and must not abuse his ministerial power for the purpose of political vendetta.

If Isamil Sabri dares to deny that his decision is not political vendetta against Taylors University, then he must do two things.

Firstly, publicly reveal the reasons for his decision

Secondly, publish the internal report which discussed and concluded that Mara should stop sponsoring students to Taylors University.

Surely any decision to terminate sponsorship of Mara students to any university should go through internal Mara discussions and meetings, and not made according to the Minister’s whims and fancies.

Can Ismail Sabri produce such a report? Or the discussions were merely the discussions that took place in the Telegram messaging group with Umno division chiefs?

Ismail Sabri‘s political vendetta and abuse of power must not be allowed to proceed. There is only option for the Cabinet – to censure him for his abuse of power and to direct him to rescind his decision.

The High Court has lifted the 3-month suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 21, 2015.

The High Court today revoked the home minister’s decision to suspend The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months.

Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad in allowing the judicial review application said the respondent (minister) had breached Section 7 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

“The respondent did not comply with procedural fairness as he did not give particulars‎ of suspension to the applicant,” she said.

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My London Trip (Part 3)

The Parliament House and the surrounding government buildings in London are the centre of political power of the UK. It is also a popular and well-known tourist area.

As I walked along the the road next to the Parliament House, I saw a “camp” which was protestin against child abuse was set up directly opposite No. 10, Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister David Cameron. Various posters and banners which whacked the government were hung in this barricaded area. The activists were busy explaining to the public about the issue that they were championing.

There were a number of armed police officers along the road, especially in front of the PM’s official residence.

There is a small patch of green field opposite the Parliament House. Many people went into the field to take photos, some were lying in the field to happily sunbathe and picnic. This scene will never be allowed in emoticon

The freedom of movement in the area at the heart of political power gave me an impression that, unlike what is claimed in Malaysia, such areas can be public areas for recreation and dissent without compromising its security.


My London Trip (Part 2)

The Parliament House of UK has about 650 MPs and 1,800 civil servants working in the building. Its security is tight. However, it is also open to tourists and a centre for parliamentary democracy training.

I was surprised to see young school children were allowed to enter into the building to learn about the history and the function of Parliament. The Malaysian Parliament doesn’t allow children below 12 years old to enter.

The building is full of history. It was a palace as well as a church. Many paintings and statutes in the Parliament House tell the history of Britain.

We were not allowed to take photos in many parts of the building. We were not allowed to sit in the chamber of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It is interesting to hear the history of power struggle between the politicians and the palace.

The Parliament building is quite old and some parts of the building is sinking. It needs major refurbishments which might cost £7 billion. The government and the MPs are still indecisive on how to handle it.


My London Trip (Part 1)

I flew via MAS plane and arrived in London on last Sunday early morning.

I came to London with three other MPs under the arrangement of Malaysian Parliament Women’s Caucus to study the Parliament system of UK. The other MPs are Azalina Othmam (Minister of PM’s Office), Mas Ermieyati (Deputy Minister for Tourism and Culture), and Fuziah Salleh (PKR MP for Kuantan).

When we first made the decision to visit the British Parliament, both Azalina and Mas were BN backbenchers, but now they are minister and deputy minister respectively.

Fuziah and I met with some concerned Malaysians in London on Sunday afternoon at Monsoons Book Club. It was great to meet with my favorite columnist Mariam Mokhtar and former Singapore student activist lawyer Mr Tan Wah Piow.

I was glad to meet two young Malay students who are trying to create social political awareness for the Malaysian students who are studying in UK. They are the hope of the nation.

Fuziah and I shared with those present the issues and problems we face back home. Well, the social and online media have made the world a global village, and they are fully aware of what’s happening back home. It is good for us to connect and discuss how to save Malaysia from falling into further mess……..


SEPTEMBER 16 — Happy Malaysia Day! Also, thanks very much to Indonesia for the gift of moody smoke as a backdrop for whatever fancy event we’re holding.

If it was up to Indonesia, though, Malaysia probably wouldn’t exist and we would be the ones being half-smothered by smoke in Pekanbaru and Riau. Ah, how differently things might have turned out if Indonesia was the victor in the Confrontation.

While we celebrate being our own country, let us take some time too to think of the people even more invisible than East Malaysians. The people who truly do deserve the moniker Orang Asal: the Orang Asli.

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