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Keng Yaik and Gerakan should
stop being cowardly and craven and live up to its claim as “conscience” of
BN and take principled positions on two fundamental issues in the Samad
Shahrir-Mohd Said imbroglio
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
The Gerakan stand taken after its central committee meeting yesterday and announced by the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik was most cowardly, craven, shameful, disgraceful and completely without “conscience”.
This is because it skirted the two most importance principles in question::
If Keng Yaik and Gerakan are not prepared to take a principled and honourable stand on these two issues, then Gerakan can forget about claiming to be the “conscience” of Barisan Nasional.
Can Keng Yaik explain when the Gerakan leadership accepted the feudal and undemocratic rule that BN MPs cannot support Opposition motions whether right or wrong and cannot vote according to their conscience but must toe the party line?
Isn’t it true that there had never been such a rule for BN MPs until it was declared on 8th May after the UMNO Supreme Council - four days after the Shahrir Samad saga on May 4, 2006 taking a lone stand among Barisan Nasional MPs to support my privilege motion against the Jasin MP and resigning as Chairman of Barisan Nasional BackBenchers’ Club (BNBBC) in protest at the failure of support from other BN MPs?
On the very day when my first privilege motion was rejected (May 4), MCA MP for Gopeng Dr. Ting Chew Peh told me that he would have voted for the privilege motion if a division of the vote had been taken. He said there were other BN MPs who would have done the same. This was because there was no party whip or directive how to vote on the issue. There couldn’t have been a rule barring BN MPs from supporting Opposition motions, whether right or wrong, if the former MCA Secretary-General, Vice President and Cabinet Minister was not aware of it!
On that day itself, Shahrir made it clear that his resignation as BBC Chairman was solely on the issue of principle that he could not get the support of other BN MPs on an important issue concerning parliamentary privilege, integrity, autonomy and independence. He did not say a word about breaking BN rule or defying BN discipline.
In fact, the question of
Shahrir having breached party discipline and violating the BN Whip also
never occurred to the Minister for the Prime Minister’s Department , Datuk
Seri Nazri Aziz, who in a press conference later on the same day (May 4)
called on Shahrir to retract his resignation and reminded him to respect the
majority decision in the House.
If the rule that BN MPs cannot support Opposition motions whether right or wrong and cannot vote according to their conscience but must toe the party line was made only at the UMNO Supreme Council on May 8, why didn’t Keng Yaik asked for an urgent meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to review and scrap such a feudal and undemocratic ruling – as expected of a party which claims to be the “conscience” of BN?
Keng Yaik should know that such a rule can only produce mindless BN MPs without conscience, resulting in their becoming mere puppets and parasites, which is completely antithetical to the Ninth Malaysia Plan thrust to create a “first class mentality” to achieve the Vision 2020 objective of a fully-developed nation with first-world Parliament, first-world public service, first-world judiciary, first-world universities and other first-world national institutions.
Keng Yaik said Gerakan supported the setting-up of a Parliamentary Select Committee to establish ethical guidelines on the proper conduct of elected representatives to spell out guidelines to what extent elected officials can help their constituents and the consequences should an MP breach them.
This is a most ridiculous stand, when the issue in question is not whether MPs can or should help constituents, but whether they could abuse their parliamentary privilege by interceding with government agencies to the extent of asking them to “close an eye” in cases where they have a direct personal financial interest.
If Gerakan wants to continue to be the “conscience” of BN, it must stop its cowardly and craven stand on the Samad Sharir-Mohd Said imbroglio and take a clear, honourable and principled stand on two issues:
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman