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All BN Ministers and MPs will have to vote against a confidence motion for Abdullah as Prime Minister if I move such a motion in Parliament when it reconvenes on June 26
at the DAP 40th anniversary dinner in Kota Kinabalu at Atlantis restaurant
by Lim Kit Siang
This is because of the ludicrous, outrageous and senseless BN directive that BN MPs cannot support any Opposition motion in Parliament, whether right or wrong, and cannot vote according to their conscience.
The reduction of BN MPs to the role of mindless and unthinking robots was highlighted by the recent “Cyclops” episode in Parliament over the “close one eye” scandal of the BN MP for Jasin, where the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club (BNBBC) Chairman, Datuk Shahrir Samad, was forced to resign when he supported my motion to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges.
One of Abdullah’s trade-mark slogans as Prime Minister in the past three years was for the eradication of the “First-World infrastructure, Third-World Mentality” Malaysian malaise, which he elevated into a major national mission in the Ninth Malaysia Plan by calling for a “first-class mentality” among Malaysians to pave the way for the country to acquire the international competitiveness to take our rightful place on the world stage in the highly competitive era of globalization.
However, it is ridiculous and premature to talk about creating a “first-class mentality” among the Malaysian citizenry when the policy-makers are still hide-bound with “third-world” or even “ninth-world” mentality, as illustrated by the irrational, senseless and completely indefensible BN rule that BN MPs cannot support any Opposition motion in Parliament, whether right or wrong, and cannot vote according to their conscience – to the extent that BN MPs will have to vote against a confidence motion to support Abdullah as Prime Minister if the Opposition moves such a motion!
If the Ninth Malaysia Plan is not to fall casualty to the disease of empty rhetoric or “cakap tak serupa bikin” in wanting to create a “first-class mentality” in the populace, the “Cyclopic” BN rule that BN MPs cannot support any Opposition motion in Parliament, whether right or wrong, and cannot vote according to conscience, must be scrapped – restoring to BN MPs the dignity and self-respect as thinking individuals and encouraging them to be role-models of the critical Malaysian in a “First-World Infrastructure, First-World Mentality” Malaysia!
There must not only be a sea-change of such outmoded mentality among the BN MPs but also among the BN Ministers.
It does not reflect well on the intellectual calibre of the BN Ministers that they cannot explain why they had unanimously supported one position under the Mahathir premiership and yet could unanimously take a reverse position under the Abdullah administration, as in the case of the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge scandal in Johore.
What aggravates and compounds the public scandal of such “unthinking” Ministers is that the cost of cancelling the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge in the form of various compensations and outlays appear to exceed the original estimated cost of the crooked half-bridge!
Nobody says that Ministers or anyone for that matter cannot change their mind on any policy or position, but when they do so, they owe a greater public responsibility to explain the reasons for such a change of stand.
I had raised this issue in Parliament last month even before Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad made it into a cause celebre in his recent open “war” with the Abdullah Cabinet.
It would appear that the principle of ‘collective Ministerial responsibility” in Malaysia has been perverted into meaning that the Ministers surrender their judgment and principles to the Prime Minister of the day, when such a principle requires every Minister to actively exercise his/her judgment on every proposal based on his/her convictions/principles and to participate in the decision-making process but submitting to the majority decision arrived after serious Cabinet deliberations.
This is the “third-world” principle of collective Ministerial responsibility, which must be eradicated and replaced by a “first-world” principle of collective Ministerial responsibility, if we are serious about wanting to develop a “first-class” mentality among Malaysians under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission