Don't shoot the messenger
The proposal by a parliamentary committee to scrap the registration of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) for a “derogatory” remark on parliament is rather surprising. The TIB, in a study last month, pointed to a “low-level participation” of MPs in lawmaking, question-answer sessions and discussions on important notices in the parliament. The lawmakers had spent a meagre 6 percent of the 388 working days in the process of lawmaking from June 2014 to July this year, the study showed.
Apparently, the parliament has taken umbrage to a comment which was not a part of the report. Surprisingly, instead of taking cognizance of the substance of the report, the parliament is harping on a phraseological inappropriateness of a miniscule part of the statement. Should that be grounds for suggesting the closing down of an international anti-graft watchdog in Bangladesh?
Since its inception, TIB has been reporting objectively on issues of governance, accountability etc, and since 2001 on the performance of the parliament, which, if taken in the right spirit, would have helped the government of the day in providing good governance.
We wonder what is more unpleasant to the parliament, an off the cuff remark or the fact that during the period in review, quorum crisis has cost the public more than Tk 30 crores. Apparently, any assessment or evaluation of the work of the parliament appears to be anathema to its members.
The parliament is the house of the people and the repository of their hopes and aspirations. And it devolves on all the citizens to uphold its dignity. However, a large responsibility in this regard falls on the shoulder of the MPs on how they run the house. And that was what the TIB was trying to point out.