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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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Study on MPs

TIB flayed at Sangsad

Angry lawmakers term survey ill-motivated; Speaker to decide on course of action; TIB executive director says any decision should be consistent with democracy

Speaker Abdul Hamid and some ruling alliance MPs in parliament yesterday launched a blistering attack on TIB, terming the graft watchdog's recent survey on the activities of lawmakers “flawed” and “ill-motivated”.

In response to lawmakers clamouring for action against TIB for “undermining the dignity of parliament”, the Speaker said he would come up with a decision later in consultation with some senior MPs.

Some lawmakers, including Tofail Ahmed and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, requested the Speaker to convene a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on privileges, and to summon TIB officials to appear before it to defend the survey.

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) report, released on October 14, said 97 percent of the 149 sitting MPs surveyed were involved in "negative activities” that include being linked to or being supportive of criminal activities, misusing public funds and influencing government decisions.

And 70 percent of those involved in "negative activities” were engaged in "criminal activities" like murder, land-grabbing, extortion, tender manipulation and cheating. Many MPs even used their position to boost their income, the survey added.

Contacted yesterday, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said, "I have full respect for parliament. If something is decided or discussed in the House, it should be consistent with democracy.”

What TIB did was for the sake of democracy, he said, adding that if any adverse decision is taken against TIB, it must be considered how different quarters at home and abroad will take it.

Before taking any decision, MPs should consider whether it goes with their image and democracy, Iftekharuzzaman added. “The parliamentarians should have the mentality to tolerate criticism as critics are also well-wishers."

The ruling alliance MPs participating in an unscheduled discussion for over 40 minutes, rejected the survey and challenged the watchdog to prove its findings.

Speaker Abdul Hamid, who was presiding over the sitting, questioned the method of the survey, saying TIB took opinion of only 600 people. “Who are these people? Are they commoners? Or are they employees of TIB?”

Both ruling and opposition MPs are bad as per the TIB report, Hamid said. “Then who will run the country? TIB or civil society? I am asking them again to join the next election and win people's mandate if they want to run the country.”

The Speaker said it was unfortunate that a section of the media desperately and deliberately was trying to undermine the image of the Jatiya Sangsad and MPs.

Veteran Al leader Tofail Ahmed said TIB had prepared the report by taking the opinion of only 600 people out of 16 crore. “TIB's whole survey is unethical. Did it set up a court to judge MPs?”

Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujibul Haque said releasing such a report ahead of the national polls was ill-motivated.

AL leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, who piloted the discussion, said, “It is a shameless attack on parliament and it is tantamount to sedition.

“TIB has crossed its limits. It wants to control parliament, state and judiciary. It considers itself a superpower.”

He added, “I request you [Speaker] to convene a meeting of the privilege committee and summon them [TIB officials] to prove their findings. If they fail, the government has to take action.”

Selim alleged some NGO officials live luxurious lives and some NGOs bring crores of taka from abroad in the name of running their activities. “I will ask the finance minister to check how they spend the money. If they spend their money against the state, government and democracy, beyond their jurisdiction, then ban all their activities and expel them from the country.”

He said TIB had undermined parliament and the government as well as by releasing an imaginary report. “Our privileges have been violated.”

TIB was conspiring against democracy and was in favour of undemocratic forces as it got privileges with an unelected government in power, Selim added.

“Those who patronised the minus-two formula are now engaged in conspiracy to promote a third force as they do not get importance during the tenure of an elected government.

“In the name of searching for honest and competent candidates, they are launching attacks on parliament,” he said.

A total of eight MPs participated in the discussion and many others sought the floor to speak on it.

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I agree with the parliament. TIB's sample is not representative. There are lots of MPs who are honest and work for the people. To whom TIB is accountable to?

: Anis Sabeth

MP's have shown a consistent behaviour of flirting with law and taking liberty of their positions. They never clearly submitted their wealth statements, imported duty free cars in violation of campaign promise, insist on controlling local allocation, resisted the growth of local bodies. Before shouting loud, and claiming their invincibility to criticism, they must prove worthy of it. And if they are worthy of it, there would be no criticism of them in the first place.

: Dr. Ahsan Habib


  • Salam
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 02:47 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Ignorant people, including ignorant politicians, are commenting on sample used in the study! How funny can some be!

  • L J Pereira
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 03:32 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Social science research is conducted based on a social need, a problem or phenomenon. This context demands relevant institutes or agencies to act. For conducting a research, a methodology is developed and applied, tools selected to complete the research. Researcher analyzes the findings using scientific tools and process, and come to conclusions if the findings are reliable, partial reliable or biased. TIB has conducted a research and presented the findings, not any one's personal opinion. I do not find any rational for MPs to get angry at the findings if this does not have any significance to them. I believe Parliament has much important issues to deal with and problems to solve in the country. We expect that our respected parliamentarians would react or speak based on facts and research.

  • barkat
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 03:34 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    The same AL blamed Khaleda Zia for having link with ISI just on the basis of an article in Dubai based Khaleej Times. Today when Bangladesh based TIB is making remark about government they are not willing to accept it and even thinking of banning it. Why this double standard?

  • N. Alamgir
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 06:16 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    I think the majority of the public would like to sing in unison with the TIB. The report only reflects what the public think about. Only the privileged ruling class and their cohorts would want to ban TIB for their honest and just report. Surely there are honest and sincere hardworking and nationalist leaders but they are only so few. That is why the report mentions of 97 percent and not 100 percent.

  • MAS Molla
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 06:48 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Our representatives, please shun acting 'holier than thou' attitude. People know all- both you and TIB!

  • AJK
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 07:10 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    In reference to Anis Sabeth's comments - who are those honest MPs? Can you name them to our understanding?

  • M. Imam Uddin
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 08:15 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    I think TIB is not doing anything wrong. They are working as a watchdog only. As a former employee of TIB I believe that they would like to see the ninth Jatiya Sangsad as a truly effective parliament.

    The Ninth Parliament has come into being with a pledge to establish a corruption-free and well-governed Bangladesh.

  • shamim
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10:38 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Why the MPs do not disclose there assets; why they are afraid to do so; they do not bring a bill in the parliament to disclose their properties and assets as a law. Only one reason - they think that they are above the law as they are termed as law makers. They forget that people made them law makers and they are accountable. If TIB is wrong - everyone will be more than happy. Just prove that they are wrong.

  • Ronny
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:28 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    We all know that more than 97% of our MP's are corrupted. Don't really matter if the AL OR BNP MP agrees with it or not.

    Rather than using rhetroic to denounce TIB, How about MP's details what they have done for their constituents and the country. This is arguably the most corrupt section of the govt.

  • Uzzal Mahmud
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:31 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Excellent report. Bravo! The TIB.

  • Jumana Sarwar
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:46 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    The TIB report did not reveal anything new. It simply confirmed the overwhelming perception of the nation by an investigative report. The reaction of the house in fact confirmed that it needs a complete sanitization. Targeting people for different views and threatening to ban and prosecute them for speaking the truth is not the spirit of the house whom they are proud to represent.

  • Dipu
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:51 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Do our MPs have shame?now a days all politians are doing more than TIB report.Tib report only reflecting 10%of their activities what about other 90%please research more that can help to rectify them.They are blind.

  • Iftikhar-ul-Awwal
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:56 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    It is a natural reaction of the parliamentarians to defend their honor badly damaged by a true report (perhaps it could have been a little broader based) prepared and published by the international watchdog, TIB. People’s perception is more or less reflected in the report. We feel that more such reports may be compiled on other vital institutions of the country. This will have some corrective impact on the operation of those organizations. One need not worry about the government which finds fault everywhere excepting with themselves and their golden boys (who often even beat their teachers at universities).

  • Dr. Nazmul Haq
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 01:03 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    Truth most of the time hurts.

  • Saleh Tanveer
    Tuesday, November 20, 2012 01:04 AM GMT+06:00 (168 weeks ago)

    This is yet another blatant attack on a civil society institution in an obvious attempt to silence any one who does not sing their tunes. TIB reports confirm what is widely known anecdotally--ask almost any one in the country who is not affiliated with the privileged ruling class. Breaking the mirror that shows a bad reflection of yourself will not brighten your image.





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