Saturday 3 November 2012

RM40m probe: Nazri should admit conflict — Gobind Singh Deo

NOV 3 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz ought to have disclosed his relationship with timber tycoon Michael Chia when responding to questions over the RM40 million Sabah investigations in Parliament.

It is quite simple really. If you are de facto law minister, then you have to be independent.

Yes, you answer questions based on information you have received from the Attorney-General’s Chambers or the MACC, but as minister you are not supposed to take their responses for granted. You are no parrot for the A-G or the MACC. You are a minister. You must be beyond them and put yourself in a position to criticise and direct them if necessary after taking into account what has been said by all parties concerned in the Dewan Rakyat.

In order to do this, logic demands that you maintain impartiality so that when we MPs question you, you respond fairly and take action without fear or favour.

Nazri is himself a lawyer. He knows this. It is basic. You should not involve yourself if you have relations with those involved in the cases that come before you.

Just like in the case of his son, the matter was dealt with by a different ministry probably because of his relationship with his son as well, so why the double standards here?

Nazri should be man enough to admit that what he did was wrong and have the matter reopened for debate in Parliament, without him answering for and on behalf of the government, given his “ties” to the subject matter.

This culture of replying on behalf of the government when there is a conflict of interest must stop.

Public interest demands that what happens in the Dewan Rakyat be free from any form of suspicion, be it by way of bias or otherwise. That is necessary if we expect the rakyat to have confidence in our system of parliamentary democracy.

* Gobind Singh Deo is the Puchong MP.

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