Malaysiakini Letter

Parliament not the place for party-glorification

Gerard Lourdesamy  |  Published:  |  Modified:

I am utterly dismayed by the contents in the royal address read before both houses of parliament yesterday by the King. The state opening of Parliament is hardly an occasion for party politics. The gracious speech from the Throne is meant to outline the government's legislative programme and general policies for the duration of the new parliamentary term.

Instead, the speech which is prepared by the government, was highly politicised in its veiled reference to certain opposition parties and perhaps most annoying, the constant need for the government to include passages of self-commendation in the speech.

Its pathetic to read of a government praising itself in a speech written by it but dignified by having it read by the King on such an important state occasion.

One cannot criticise the King for the contents of the speech. As a constitutional monarch he is above politics and irrespective of any personal views to the contrary or general disagreement and distaste, he must in conforming with convention, read the speech as prepared by the government.

Perhaps in future, the palace should use its own channels in expressing its displeasure to the government for politicising speeches to be read by the King and also the use of personal references in such speeches commending individual members of the government.

At the end of the day prime ministers and governments come and go but the monarch remains as a constant symbol and guardian of our constitutional supremacy and sovereignty.

Equally repugnant was the tribute read by a certain member of Parliament in tabling the motion of thanks for the royal address. It hardly touched on the contents of the gracious speech but was more of a thank you speech to the powers that be for sparing him the fate of certain former politicians of the ruling party!

This is the level of debate and parliamentary conduct that has become all too prevalent in our country's highest legislative body. I only hope that the leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition will give a strong speech in opening the debate on the motion of thanks even if for nothing else than to redeem some of our finest parliamentary traditions!

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