KUALA LUMPUR — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak today announced that all members of parliament would be required to wear permanent ankle tags with global positioning capabilities, in line with the government’s efforts to ensure that MPs attend parliament sittings. This is due to a close call a couple of days ago when the 2010 Budget narrowly escaped being rejected, with 66 BN MPs voting for it, while 63 Pakatan MPs against. BN has 140 MPs in total while Pakatan, 82.
At a packed Press conference outside Dewan Rakyat, Najib said that the move was necessary to counter rising absenteeism in parliament sittings.
“I’ve always tolerated members of parliament who need to skip the sittings once in a while, perhaps to attend to affairs in their constituencies,” said the PM. “But when an MP is missing half the time, then he or she’s just makan gaji buta (getting money for nothing).”
Najib added that with the US-made device, no MP would be able to lie about where they are, since their location would be monitored by a newly set up task force under the minister in charge of parliament, Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.
“We’d be able to tell if an MP is playing truant. The device can pinpoint exactly where they are, so if they say they can’t make it to a sitting because they’re busy helping some poor farmer get his buffalo out from some dried mudhole, they’d better not be fibbing. We’d know if they’re having a massage in some hotel or catching New Moon at a cineplex,” stressed the BN chairman.
Najib also said that, if need be, he would order the country’s spy satellites to monitor and capture the image of the MPs and their wherabouts.
“This would only be reserved to the hard-core absentees, of course. Like how the traffic police uses cameras to catch road offenders in action, we’d do the same with our errant MPs. In fact, here’s an example of such aerial spy images, taken just five minutes ago,” said the PM, showing a screenshot of an MP from Negri Sembilan having a smoke outside the parliament building. “As you can see, with such details, no MP would be able to lie about their activities. Heck, you can even tell the brand of the ciggie he’s holding!”
Asked if the GPS monitoring system can really get the MPs to attend sittings, Najib admitted that simply monitoring is not enough and that better enforcement is necessary.
“We’re considering some punitive actions against MPs who still don’t attend sittings,” said Najib. “These people are paid to not just serve their constituencies and campaign for re-elections, but also to work as parliamentarians formulating national policies. That means they have to spend some quality time in the House.
“There are several options, ranging from warning memos to pay deductions. My personal recommendation for these hard-core absentees is to add on remote-controlled electric shocks to their tags. The kind you find in Taser guns. After 3 cases of unwarranted absence, BZOOTT!“ he laughed.
“That’ll motivate them to attend sittings.”