The call by the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, for the country’s elected representatives to observe the highest standards of parliamentary behaviour and decorum is long overdue. The decision to conduct a series of seminars and workshops to empower the Yang Berhormat with the appropriate skills and know-how to conduct themselves in the best interest of the rakyat  is timely indeed!

For too long Malaysians have been observing the shameful behaviour of  some of the country’s MPs as they verbally abuse each other in the august house of parliament. While most MPs are serious and decorous in their debates and argumentations, there are some who are persistently abusive and rude. Not only are they clownish in their gestures and mannerisms, they also resort to name-calling and the use of curse words. Instead of upholding  their stature as honourable MPs who articulate their views convincingly, they display unruly behaviour, not unlike that of  the street hooligans that they want to reform.

A  key area in parliamentary behaviour that needs immediate reform is the use of appropriate language and discourse. It must be understood that the language of parliament is formal and its register (tone, style , vocabulary and grammar) must observe acceptable patterns and structures. The colloquial street and  home language varieties that Malaysians use contain words and expressions that are not suitable at the higher level of discourse required at office meetings, media interviews and political platforms. Certainly, name calling (monkey and monyet) and the use of curse words (celaka and gangster) should not feature as part of parliamentary verbal behaviour inside or outside the building.  Instead of being provocative and  calling Tun Mahathir a “racist”, a Minister of Dato’ Seri Nazri’s experience should know better than to stoke destructive sentiments by his choice of words!  

Before Malaysian parliamentarians can rise to the occasion and exhibit great eloquence and logical argumentation, they should undergo a rigorous linguistic training which many of them have not had the opportunity to experience. Much research has been done at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics of the major public universities on language registers, discourse analyses and strategies. Many Language for Special Purposes programmes are conducted to raise the level of proficiency in selected linguistic skills. If the linguistic skills of the Malaysian MPs and Ministers are properly developed and they learn effective discourse strategies, they will become better representatives of the rakyat and will be able to articulate their concerns more convincingly.

Then Malaysia can boast of having MPs and Ministers who are serious about upholding the honour and dignity of the House of Parliament and their own privileged positions.


8 Responses to “”

  1. 1 sukhi nahir
    December 8, 2009 at 11:29 am


    I am not optimistic about courses and seminars being the solution for the atrocious behaviour of some of our Parliamentarians. Such intended solutions will be interpreted as a “holiday” from their duties by some of them, given their arrogance and egotism. Maybe treating them as ‘badly brought-up” children ( and my apologies to such children-they are children after all!) with a substantial fine for each insulting word or expletive ( in the view of reasonable people), followed by suspension and barring from Parliament in the event of such continuous behaviour. The Speaker must have the courage to exercise his powers and further, seminars,etc are added expenses for the taxpayer. We already pay for their arrogance and stupidity, msut we pay even more for their “holiday” and “on the job training”, while they laugh at us further?

  2. 2 ninitalk
    December 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Hi sukhi nahir

    I’m a firm believer in education and exposure – in nurturing so to speak. Your analogy of “badly brought-up children” is an apt description for people who behave the way they do because of their environment and upbringing. It is therefore necessary to expose them to standards and patterns of behaviour (verbal and non-verbal) which are appropriate and acceptable for their role as MPs.

    Fining them will not solve the problem because they will find more sinister ways of getting around it.Suspension and barring may work once they are clear about what is allowable and what is not.

  3. December 9, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    salam kak nini some wakil rakyat of one malaysia need training like PLKN sort of military training .Wakil rakyat malaysia mesti d latih secara paksaan.kebanyakan (majority) wakil rakyai sangat riak dan angkuh dengan kedudukan mereka d parliment. Bahasa2 kesat yang d lemparkan d dewan sangat menjijikan terutama kepada anak2 kita.

  4. 4 sukhi nahir
    December 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Pn. Halimah,

    I am in complete agreement with you wih regards to nurturing by way of education and exposure. By using the analogy of “badly brought up children” for some of our Parliamentarians, I must stress that I am not stating that they were in fact badly brought up, which would be extremely unfair to their parents. Ironically, I believe it is the “education and exposure” that they received in their formative years as politicians that have moulded these “leaders” into the obnoxious characters they have now mutated to. I am sure that they definitely know what is and is not allowable. It is just that they dont care (dont give a damn). Given the age-old adages and phrases regarding reforming peoples of certain ages and and a spotted specie of cats, education is a waste and the only exposure they may need will be to put them out in a pasture with a lot of manure.

    You are correct on the point of fining them though. My feelings are that the candidate selection process of the respective political parties must be more stringent and the voters more discerning. Can happen?

  5. 5 ninitalk
    December 9, 2009 at 3:13 pm


    Sememangnya kelakuan dan penggunaan bahasa yang kasar memalukan lebih-lebih lagi kerana mereka mewakili rakyat dan berkhidmat kepada masyarakat. Ada masanya timbul masalah antara-budaya atau “cross-cultural” di mana sesuatu yang dianggap kurang sopan dalam satu budaya menjadi kebiasaan dalam budaya lain, misalnya cara makan, cara duduk, bersalam dan lain lain lagi. Cara berkomunikasi dan berbahasa juga berbeza. Jika tidak didedahkan kepada aspek-aspek kelakuan dan tatatertib yang betul berlakulah macam-macam gelagat yang tidak diingini!

  6. 6 ninitalk
    December 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    You have a point there sukhi nahir! The bad behaviour may have been picked up later in life and becomes habitual and ingrained among the birds of a feather or the spotty leopards! Peer influence is very potent indeed!

    Politicians from different camps/ parties confront each in order to get the other side to accept their point of view and concede. Like the law courts, the House of Parliament is a place for debate and argument on the most important national issues. This requires MPs to have a good if not an excellent command of the four language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing.

    These skills can be honed and developed with regular/ concerted training by expert facilitators. Our top leaders are known to have undergone rigorous language training in rhetoric and discourse – even grooming and an image makeover – to be where they are today.

    It’s worse when you do nothing and expect the leopards and tigers to change their stripes and spots on their own. They may jeer at these efforts initially, but if they see themselves improving they will take them seriously.

    Yes- the criteria for the selection of party candidates must be more stringent!

  7. 7 amanshahkhalid
    December 31, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Courses and seminars for Parliamentarians? Just a waste of our money! They are matured enough to stand for elections and mostly very well educated so should be ready to sit in Parliament. Sadly, however, they just refuse to respect Parliament or maybe fell in a trance the moment they walked into the August house……just like some idiotic drivers who become Mr. Hyde once they are behind the steering wheels! Arrogant? Ego? Perhaps…..but conducting courses will not help! The Speaker should just chase them out of the House (like a naughty schoolboy chased out by a strict teacher) the moment they utter unparliamentary words. Thats a better way to teach and educate our Malaysian Parliamentarians….I think!

  8. 8 harum manis
    January 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Yes, courses and seminars for Parliamentarians, plus fines for unParliamentary language or behaviour. These are people who make laws for the country and they certainly must behave with decorum and speak in a manner becoming of lawmakers.

    The Speaker should draw up the rules for Parliamentary language and behaviour, have them approved if necessary. He should enforce them strictly so that all lawmakers will become fully respected by the rakyat and the law they make has the element of genuine respect at source, even become sacrosanct. These should be added to the Code of Ethics for Parliamentarians – assuming one already exists.

    The problem is the will to do that. If DS Nazri Aziz, the Minister in-charge of Parliamentary Affairs, has control over this issue, he may not be bothered to take the necessary action as it would not be in his interest to do so. The Parliamentary Secretariat can initiate action and work in consultation with the AG’s Chambers. But if it requires tabling a motion before Parliament, doesn’t it require Nazri’s consent? We may have to wait until after Nazri has disappeared from the scene, which many people have been calling for recently.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

December 2009
« Nov   Jan »



%d bloggers like this: