Ministers/ Deputy Ministers must give responsible and accurate parliamentary answers
Yesterday, Deputy Defence minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri admitted that when he told Parliament on March 26 that MH370 could have been ordered to divert from its Beijing-bound flight path, his remark was merely based on his own assumption, which was inaccurate.
He explained that it was only his andaian (assumption) and also possibilities that could have occurred.
“After carrying out checks, I wish to stress that my assumption was not accurate,” Abdul Rahim said in a two-paragraph statement issued by the Defence Ministry.
Although he did the right thing to admit his mistake, he has nevertheless committed a grave mistake for two reasons.
Firstly, there has been widespread world media reports about the government’s lack of transparency in handling the MH 370 incident , such inaccurate answer only serves to increase the media doubt as well as strengthen the mistrust of some victims ‘ families in the Malaysian government.
Secondly, Parliament is the highest legislative and deliberative chamber of the nation and parliamentary answers by the government must be authoritative and accurate.
It is not a place where a minister or deputy minister should give an answer based on assumption. Ministers and deputy ministers have a duty to provide responsible and accurate answers to the MPs.
The Prime Minister must seriously consider the option of sacking Datuk Abdul Rahim.
Last week, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Juanidi had given an irresponsible, inaccurate and offensive answer in Parliament by saying that non Malay communities being less sensitive to child rape . He was heavily criticized inside and outside Parliament.
He later asked the Parliament to expunge his inaccurate remarks without offering an apology.
Since Datuk Abdul Rahim gave the wrong answer in the Parliament, he must at least admit his mistake in Parliament on coming Monday, if the Prime Minister is not prepared to sack him.
Datuk Wan Junaidi was not gutsy enough to make an apology, let’s see if Datuk Abdul Rahim will have the courage to admit his mistake and apologise in Parliament.