No to Parliament’s relocation; yes to better facilities

In a written parliamentary reply to DAP Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the Cabinet has decided to relocate the Parliament House to Putrajaya with the existing building be restored as a heritage building though in a press conference later the minister claimed that the Government has yet to decide.

The announcement came as a surprise to MPs and the taxpaying public. The Public Works Department held an exhibition in Parliament’s lobby to show its upgrading plans for the Parliament House which included construction of new auxiliary buildings around the House. However, the plan was shelved in the 2010 budget.

As an immediate response, I would like to make a case against the relocation of the Parliament House to Putrajaya based on the following reasons:

The bi-partisan House Committee, which is supposed to manage the facilities in the House, has never met to discuss the future of the Parliament House. All decisions should be deliberated by the Committee, before being presented to the House as a whole. The Cabinet should not usurp the role of the House Committee. It is sad that the Parliament cannot even decide for itself where it is located and how its affairs should be conducted.

The Merdeka legacy – The Parliament House was opened in 1963 when it was the tallest building in Kuala Lumpur and the focal point of the nation. It is one of the last of the Merdeka legacies built by Tunku Abdul Rahman. A nation will not stand tall in the eyes of the world if it keeps demolishing or displacing its icons. Further, Kuala Lumpur has enough functional government-owed buildings that are turned into “museums” or “heritage buidings” such as the old Seri Perdana (Prime Minister’s department – currently Galaria Seri Perdana), Seri Taman (Residence of Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn – currently The Tun Razak Memorial), The Residency (Residence of the Tunku) and the old Prime Minister’s office in Jalan Dato’ Onn (currently The Hussein Onn Memorial).

Runaway from Kuala Lumpur – It is time for the Government to look into rejuvenating the City of Kuala Lumpur and not runaway from it in the name of building Putrajaya or creating a Greater Kuala Lumpur. The Parliament House is an intergral part of Kuala Lumpur. It should never be displaced as such.

Cost – It is far economical to build auxiliary buildings around the existing Parliament House to accommodate the increased needs of space.

I urge the Government to scrap the plan and allow the House Committee of the Parliament to deliberate the future of the Parliament House.

Liew Chin Tong

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