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Friday, August 31, 2012

BN, PR: dua kali lima

But the political parties that they belong to will not allow this. Although they are called Wakil Rakyat, in reality they are Wakil Parti. They have to represent their party, not us, the voters. And when they try to do what they are supposed to do, the party will pounce on them. Hence they have to toe the party line or else they will be suspended, or worse, sacked.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
No, this is not an anti-government article. It is not an opposition-whacking article either. This is an article about why we vote for 222 Malaysians to represent us in Parliament -- never mind whether you voted (or will be voting) for Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. That is not important. What is important is: why do we vote?
We vote for 222 Malaysians to go to Parliament (and another almost 600 State Assemblypersons for the State Assemblies as well -- known as ADUNs) so that they can become our representatives or wakil.
The Malays have the correct term for this. These people we vote for (both MPs and ADUNs) are called Wakil Rakyat in Malay, which means Citizen’s Representative (or People’s Representative). 
And, as the name implies, that is exactly what they are supposed to do -- represent us, the voters.
But the political parties that they belong to will not allow this. Although they are called Wakil Rakyat, in reality they are Wakil Parti. They have to represent their party, not us, the voters. And when they try to do what they are supposed to do, the party will pounce on them. Hence they have to toe the party line or else they will be suspended, or worse, sacked.
Why call them Wakil Rakyat then? They cannot function as Wakil Rakyat. We might as well call them Wakil Parti. And in the coming general election, 10 million Malaysians can go to the polling stations to vote for theWakil Parti.
Both Barisan Nasional as well as Pakatan Rakyat are equally guilty of this. And since we do not have a ‘third force’, so to speak -- unless the rakyat can be regarded as that third force -- that is how things are going to be for a long time to come.
But, no, I am not going to talk about the third force. Malaysians are too dumb to understand the meaning of ‘third force’. To most people, ‘third force’ means three-corner contests. Then they will say I am trying to sabotage Pakatan Rakyat so that Barisan Nasional can retain power.
So what if some Members of Parliament (never mind BN or PR) go against their party stand? If it is for the good of the rakyat why can’t they break ranks and not toe the party line? That is why we sent them to Parliament (or the State Assemblies) in the first place.
In America, the Congressmen or Senators from the President’s own party can vote against the President while those from the other side will vote in support of the Bill that the President is proposing. On more than one occasion the President’s Bill had been defeated by his own party while those from the other side actually voted in support of it. No one was suspended or sacked because of this.
I know, some of you are now going to argue that we follow the British Westminster system and that this is how they do things in the UK. They have the Parliament Whip whose job is to ensure that no one breaks ranks.
Okay, if we are so concerned about what they do in Britain, and hence we need to follow the British model, then what about the written constitution? Britain does not have a written constitution. Why not follow Britain and abolish our Constitution?
I have no problems with that. Then no longer will Islam be the religion of the Federation or Malays have special privileges or the Agong be the Supreme Head of the Federation and all that. Britain’s ‘laws’ do not allow a Prime Minister not from the Church of England. You must belong to the Church of England. You want to follow that as well since it is very important that we follow the UK?
Some things we say we MUST follow. Other things we don’t want to follow. Apa ni? Gay marriages also allowed in England, mah! Want to follow or not?
This sorry state of affairs can only be corrected by you, the voters. If you, the voters, insist that the Wakil Rakyatspeak for us and not for their party, only then can it happen.
I am going to tell you a story about why Ali is my favourite of the four (Rightly-Guided) Caliphs of Medina. And, no, it is not because I am a follower of the Shia sect of Islam.
Ali was the last of the four Medinan Caliphs. The Shias, however, allege that Ali was robbed of his right to be the First Caliph. I am not going to talk about that. What I want to talk about is he almost became the Third Caliph. And according to the story this is what happened.
As Omar, the Second Caliph, lay dying, he told the people of Medina to form a committee to decide on who should succeed him when he dies. A few candidates were selected and finally it was short-listed to just two, Osman and Ali.
A few interviews were conducted and during the final interview Osman was asked how he would rule if he was chosen as Caliph. Osman replied he would rule according to tradition and by following the example of the Prophet.
Ali was asked the same question and he replied he would rule according to his conscience and with God as his guide.
Osman got the job and some historians say that that was the beginning of the decline of the Islamic Empire. Osman appointed his relatives to important posts in the government and corruption soon emerged. One of Osman's blunders was he appointed his cousin Muawiyah as the Governor of Syria. When Osman died and Ali took over, Muawiyah declared war on Ali, the first ever war where Muslims fought Muslims (and have been fighting ever since)
I know many Islamists will disagree with my analysis of events, although these events did take place. Nevertheless, my interpretation of this event is Osman said he would follow tradition while Ali said he would follow his conscience. And we have seen how tradition may not always be the best thing to follow.
And the same goes to the issue of our Wakil Rakyat. Forget about tradition, especially Westminster tradition. Follow your conscience. Did we, the voters, or your party vote you into office? And if we voted you into office then serve us instead of your party.
BN trio face reprimand for Section 114A gripe
(Malaysiakini, 29 Aug 2012) - The cabinet has accepted a suggestion to reprimand three key BN leaders for their open objection to Section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950.
The trio are Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Gan Ping Sieu and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
Government sources told Malaysiakini that the cabinet made the decision at its meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Aug 15.
“It was suggested that the prime minister or deputy prime minister should summon the two deputy ministers and give them a warning because their actions went against the government's stance,” revealed one source.
“It was also suggested that Minister in Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz should meet with the two deputy ministers and Khairy to hear their views, and provide them with the government's explanation.”
A day before the meeting, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who was abroad then, had instructed the cabinet to discuss the contentious following a major online protest dubbed ‘Internet Blackout Day’.
However, the meeting decided not to review the amendment. The decision was later reaffirmed and explained by Nazri.
According to the sources, the cabinet was of the view that if action was not taken, it would jeopardise the government's credibility and weaken the administration.
“The cabinet also noted that the trio have been openly issuing statements contradicting government policies.
"They should have convey their views through internal channels such as their ministers or political parties," a source added.
The sources also disclosed that the cabinet had pointed out that disciplinary action had been taken against defiant members of the administration since the era of second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, but this practice is absent in the current administration.
When contacted today, Khairy and Saifuddin said they have yet to be informed about the cabinet decision.
“Didn't receive anything yet, so no comment,” replied Saifuddin.
Khairy said he would meet Nazri and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail today to pursue his views on the amendment.
Nazri and Gani could not be reached for comment despite several attempts to contact them.
(The Star, May 2012)) - The DAP disciplinary board wants Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim to confirm if he has repeated his public criticism of Bersih 3.0 although he was rebuked earlier by the party leadership over the matter.
“I am trying to locate Tunku (Aziz) for the statement,” the board's chairman Tan Kok Wai told a news portal yesterday.
Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan called for disciplinary action to be taken against Tunku Aziz, who is party vice-chairman, over his remarks on the rally.
Manoharan accused Tunku Aziz for failing to toe the party's line by making the remarks, which he said were tantamount to a “double misconduct”.
“It is my personal view that severe action should be taken against him. He seems to be a great embarrassment to the party.
“It is the police and not the public that should be blamed. The public have a right to voice out (their feelings),” he said yesterday.
He called on Tunku Aziz to leave the party on his own accord, claiming that the latter did not understand the party leaders' struggles, especially those who were held under the Internal Security Act.
Tunku Aziz had spoken out against the rally before it was held on April 28, fearing that it might turn violent.
Expressing sadness over the violence that did occur, Tunku Aziz recently remarked that the Bersih 3.0 organisers should have realised that while there were those who were genuinely fighting for electoral reforms, others were out to create havoc or hijack the rally for their political agenda.
He added that it was unfair for Bersih leaders and politicians to solely blame police for the violence between protesters and police.
Tunku Aziz reportedly said Bersih 3.0 organisers were not “angels descended from heaven” who were blameless, adding that they should look at themselves before pointing at police for last Saturday's violence.
When contacted yesterday, Tunku Aziz said he was not upset with Manoharan as he was entitled to his personal view.
(The Star, 2007) - Cameron Highlands MP K. Devamany has been let off without a suspension or warning over his remark in Parliament recently.
Devamany had a 20-minute meeting with Barisan Nasional Chief Whip and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday morning to explain himself.
The MIC backbencher told a press conference at the Parliament lobby that he had told Najib that he regretted his statement.
He, however, declined to say whether he was sorry over what he said when pushed further by reporters.
Devamany was said to have broken ranks with the ruling coalition over his remark in Parliament last Monday.
He had said the fact that 50,000 people showed up at the Nov 25 Hindraf protest showed the Government’s failure in distributing wealth equally.
His remark irked some Barisan backbenchers who felt he should have used proper channels but Devamany, who received support from the MIC top brass, maintained that he was only speaking up for the Indian community.
Devamany thanked Najib for meeting him and said he explained to the Chief Whip the concerns of the Indian community.
“He was very nice to me. I told him I regretted the statement. He advised me on what happened.
“I truly believe that unity, peace and stability is paramount in the country and cannot be compromised,” he said.
Devamany said Najib had expressed concern over the plight of the Indian community, which would be addressed by the Government and MIC through the Barisan Nasional spirit.
“He (Najib) has assured him that he would look into legitimate concerns of the Indian community,” he added.
Devamany said he would still speak up in the House but would be more responsible and not just throw words around.
“I fully support Barisan Nasional and the party leadership. That cannot be questioned,” he added.

Also at the press conference was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Deputy Chief Whip Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who confirmed that no suspension or warning had been given to Devamany.
(Malaysiakini, 2005) - MIC secretary-general S Sothinathan has been suspended as a deputy minister for three months over his remarks at yesterday's parliamentary debate on the Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) issue.
The unprecedented decision was made at a cabinet meeting today. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the suspension was because Sothinathan had breached BN party discipline.
"We made a decision to suspend him with immediate effect for what he did in parliament," Abdullah told a press conference.
"He's a member of the front bench, he should not have taken a stand like he did, criticising his own government. It is certainly a breach of party discipline," he said.
Sothinathan, who is deputy minister for natural resources and environment, could not be reached for his reaction on the suspension.
Yesterday, Sothinathan irked Barisan Nasional backbenchers when he broke ranks and interrupted Deputy Health Minister Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad over a point raised in explaining the decision to withdraw recognition for Ukraine-based CSMU.
The withdrawal of recognition by state agency, the Malaysian Medical Council, has affected about 1,400 Malaysian students who are currently studying at the university - the oldest and leading medical university in Ukraine.
The non-recognition resulted in the students, who are mostly Indian Malaysians, not being able to practice as doctors upon graduation, but will have to sit for an additional medical qualifying examination under the MMC.
Latiff told Parliament during a heated debate yesterday that the decision was made to maintain the quality of our doctors, and stressed that it had "nothing to do with race, ethnicity and religion".
He said the number of Malaysian students in CSMU had increased from 53 to 1,366 in May this year.
According to Latiff, unqualified CSMU students, including those who failed their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, had obtained no-objection letters from the Higher Education Ministry to enable them to enrol in the university.
Sothinathan, who was agitated by Latiff's remarks that the majority of those who graduated from unrecognised universities were Indians, had pressed the deputy health minister on how the Higher Education Ministry could have issued no-objection letters to unqualified students.
He also asked why one community was being single out when the problem of unrecognised medical graduates involves all communities in Malaysia.
"If MMC is indeed professional, how come it recognised CSMU in 2001? Why did it make a decision in haste?" he asked.
The debate, which was sparked by an emergency motion moved by the opposition DAP, saw the blurring of party affiliations with DAP and MIC MPs exchanging barbs with Umno MPs over the issue.
Works Minister S Samy Vellu, contacted by reporters in Parliament today, refused to comment.
Samy, who is MIC chief, had earlier described the MMC decision as a move to prevent more Indians from becoming doctors.
Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) said that the parliamentary culture of allowing MPs to reflect the people's views without having to toe a party line is still "very superficial if not alien in Malaysia".
"This 'Big Brother' rule for BN back-bench criticism of ministers was broken yesterday, and this explained the strong adverse reaction to the MIC position in Parliament and the 'high drama' over my emergency motion on the MMC derecognition of CSMU medical degrees," he added.

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