Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kula: Wan Junaidi not gutsy enough to say sorry

10:38AM Mar 26, 2014-Malaysiakini

Kula: Wan Junaidi not gutsy enough to say sorry 

DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran described the decision to expunge from the Hansard seemingly offensive remarks by Deputy Home Affairs Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as “a tacit acknowledgment of error substituting for a craven refusal to apologise”.

“A half-measure is better than no measure,” said the MP for Ipoh Barat when commenting on Wan Junaidi’s request, granted by the speaker yesterday, to expunge allegedly racial remarks Wan Junaidi aired upon dilating on statistics on the incidence of statutory rape.

“He ought to have apologised but chose the pale substitute of conceding that he had erred, which is better than not conceding at all,” said the opposition legislator.

Wan Junaidi, in response to a question on the incidence of statutory rape and government measures to stem its rise, digressed from a straightforward airing of the statistics on the phenomenon to arbitrary inferences on the social malady’s causation and psychology.

This led to opposition MPs accusing the deputy minister, who is MP for Batang Lupar, of giving an unwarrantedly racial twist to a social phenomenon they felt transcended race and religion. They demanded he apologise.

When volleys of criticism were fired at Wan Junaidi from extra-parliamentary and feminist groups, an aide to him attempted to mitigate matters by saying that the deputy minister’s explanations had been grossly misunderstood.

The matter quickly became a hot button, making silence by Wan Junaidi unsustainable even as recantation, given the incorrigibility of the BN leadership cohort, appeared impossible.

Thus deletion from the parliamentary record became the next recourse which when granted by speaker Pandikar Amin prompted Kulasegaran, who along with his colleague Chong Chieng Jen (Bandar Kuching) had pressed for recantation, to muse on how discursive replies during parliamentary questions invited contretemps.

“The ministers and their deputies ought to just reply to the questions posed and not dilate on the matter which is where they get into trouble,” offered Kulasegaran.

“Digression not only engenders controversy, it also takes up valuable time which should be devoted to follow-up questions,” added the lawyer-legislator.

“In the ninety minutes allocated on a given day to parliamentary questions, only at the most 10 questions are fielded because of the reluctance to recognise brevity as the soul of parliamentary wit and digression as its enemy,” mused Kulasegaran.

“In Parliament, short, pertinent and sweet is preferable to windbaggery,” said the DAP leader.

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