Health Minister Mohammad Nasim yesterday lambasted Transparency International Bangladesh for its derogatory remarks on Parliament and asked the organisation to apologise before the nation.
He threatened to go for legal action and raise public awareness against the anti-graft watchdog if it did not apologise.
“TIB's statement on Parliament is unpardonable and part of a deep-rooted conspiracy. It will have to offer apology for its remarks, or legal action will be taken against it,” said Nasim, also a presidium member of ruling Awami League.
He called upon the foreign ministry to investigate the sources of TIB's funding and its patrons.
The minister made the remarks while talking to reporters after a meeting of the AL-led 14-party alliance at the party President Sheikh Hasina's Dhanmondi office.
Nasim said not even a political party would make the comments the TIB had made and that the watchdog is “more dangerous” than the BNP and Jamaat.
Raising questions about TIB's authority to comment on Parliament, the AL leader said TIB defamed the people and the constitution by terming the current parliament a puppet theatre. It also insulted every parliament member, he added.
“TIB demanded fresh polls. Who has given it the right to come up with that demand?” the minister asked.
“TIB didn't want January 5 election and wanted an unconstitutional government. Now they are attacking Parliament as their desire was not fulfilled,” Nasim said.
On Sunday, TIB unveiled a study based on parliament's second to sixth session from June 2014 to July this year that found that the current parliament has not been able to function effectively. Terming the main opposition Jatiya Party “B-team of the government”, the study said JP failed to play its due role in parliament.
The study said only 29 of 350 lawmakers of the current parliament participated in the process of enactment of 30 laws in 14 months, indicating their lack of interest in lawmaking.
It also said 41 MPs had not taken part in any parliament proceedings in the 14-month period, and mentioned the absence of the Speaker's strong role in stopping the use of un-parliamentary words in the House.
According to the study, quorum crisis had eaten up 48 hours and 41 minutes from the second to sixth session, causing a waste of around Tk 32.42 crore in 112 working days of the five sessions. When parliament is in session, about Tk 1,11,000 is spent a minute for running it.
TIB also suggested passing a bill on lawmakers' conduct and urged the opposition to play its due role in the House.
A day later, Chief Whip of Parliament ASM Feroz said the TIB finding “is part of an international conspiracy” and the organisation is working as “a paid agent to defame parliament”. He also said TIB had no right to say anything on Parliament and it had crossed the limit by making comments on last year's January-5 election.