Monday, September 22, 2008
BN, the country's biggest stumbling block
BN, the country's biggest stumbling block
Richard Kamalanathan | Sep 22, 08 4:41pm
The last few weeks have provided a troubled insight into the turmoil-ridden government of Malaysia.
1. The uncalled for detention of Tan Choon Hong, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the International Security Act was simply unfounded. These arrests were unwarranted and have only proved that the present government is shrouded with fear and uncertainties. It has tried its best to bring about an aura of fear and perspiration amidst the general population.
2. The resignation of Zaid Ibrahim as de facto Law Minister, condemning the imposition of the Internal Security Act against the three persons simply proves that the government in Putrajaya is not cohesive and Abdullah Badawi is isolated and there is an executive quandary and quagmire shrouded with benign conflicts ravaging among the members of the cabinet.
3. The refusal to accept an invitation by Anwar Ibrahim, the parliamentary opposition leader to debate a motion of no-confidence on the credibility of the government simply proves that Abdullah is fearful of losing his position as prime minister and also losing control of the government to Pakatan Rakyat. As leader of the Barisan Nasional, he has shown disrespect for the process of democracy.
4. The swapping of cabinet roles between the prime minster and the deputy prime minister simply shows that Abdullah is an escapist and a very incapable leader who can’t stay and pursue the finance portfolio during troubled financial times. He has chosen this time to make his deputy the victim of circumstances and run away from his premiership responsibilities.
The sending and recalling of the 50 BN MPs to Taiwan without recourse and respect for the taxpayers’ money shows how decadent the executive powers in Putrajaya are today. Let us say a minimum of RM50,000 was spent on each member. Hence, a total of RM2,500,000 has been unnecessarily spent.
Therefore, a few important conclusions can be made from the above.
The first is an issue of national security. Were Tan Choon Hong, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamaruddin threats to the nation? Tan is a journalist who reported the irresponsible statements made by Ahmad Ismail. Anyone having some sense would think that this is stupid. Zaid Ibrahim immediately resigned because he did not want to be associated with such absurdity.
Teresa Kok has, all this while worked very hard with rural Malays. Lots of rural Malays are now looking forward to accepting DAP has an alternative party to Umno which can represent them along with PKR and PAS. And for this she gets hit with the ISA. Instead of asking Umno leaders to work for the people, Abdullah has set his mind to destroy anyone who works for the rural Malays.
There appears no one in the executive today who has the courage and intellect to challenge RPK openly and hence the best option is to detain him under the ISA. The executive is a herd of cowards. Their horns are held merely by the Police. What a shame to freedom of speech.
The second issue is stagnant ministers who don’t contribute anything to the country. What kind of ideas and changes can one accept from people who are more interested in politicking than improving the country’s economy and well being?
The third issue is not an issue of personalities; it is an issue of respect for democracy. Anwar is not a liar but the same cannot be said of the prime minister. Anwar has formally, as parliamentary opposition leader, asked for an emergency session.
He has the right to do so under the Standing Orders of Parliament. It is an inherent right of every Malaysian. Every citizen of the country has the right to tell the Speaker to convene the Parliament if he or she has an urgent issue that warrants parliamentary debate.
The prime minister should have had referred the matter to the Speaker of the Parliament. This must be decided by the legislature and not the executive. The executive should succumb to the will of the parliamentary process and not poke fun of it.
Abdullah has no respect for our parliamentary procedures. He is not brave enough to confront the no-confidence motion. Moreover he is calling the opposition leader a threat to national security. This statement is serious and hence it too warrants a parliamentary debate to find out if the prime minister has contravened the Standing Orders in relation to the rights of the opposition leader of Parliament.
The fourth issue of swapping portfolios is a non-issue to most of us. Whoever of the two holds whichever post is not going to bring great wealth and admiration for this nation in the financial and banking sectors. The poor will remain poor, struggling to make ends meet amidst high prices of goods and services.
It is laughable that the prime minister thinks the swapping of portfolios can make a change. Our ailing economy needs a complete overhaul, not just a change of personalities. As with most things in this government, why address the core issue when you can pull wool over the rakyat’s eyes?
Any right-minded person can see that the above issues are more than adequate reasons to seek the immediate resignation of Abdullah’s government notwithstanding the probable no-confidence motion on his government.
The nation must move forward and it appears that the BN is its greatest stumbling block.