Monday, May 08, 2006

The PM, The MP And Anachronistic Parliamentary Practices.

Today the PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi categorically stated that there was no need to re-elect Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad to the chairmanship of the Backbenchers' Club. Pak Lah reiterated that Members of Parliament must stick to party rules which have served the Barisan Nasional well. The PM further said that Barisan legislators must toe the party line and are not free to vote according to their conscience in any motion in Parliament.

That sounds the death knell for any parliamentary adventurism by the Barisan MPs. The PM's statement sounded more like a headmaster's directive to errant pupils - 'you must obey school regulations and you have no choice in the matter.' However what I find disturbing is that the MPs must vote for a resolution even if it goes against their conscience. I thought only secret societies had that kind of harsh rules.

What is the purpose of electing our representatives if they don't even have the right of dissent to any and everything that they opine is wrong? They're not school kids to be hounded and threatened with punishment. Even school children have more latitude than our Honourable Yang Berhormats. All right, fair enough, if it be a question of the government's survival every MP would be expected to cast his lot with the party and any lone ranger with different ideas can be subjected to the severest punishment including expulsion. However when it is merely an opposition motion which in no way threatens the government, MPs should be given the freedom to vote according to their conscience. Any other decision as in the present statement of the PM casts doubts on our Parliamentary practices and raises the question of whether our system itself is an anachronism.

Much has been spoken lately about our Hon. MPs after the 'close an eye' episode and mostly it has been bad copy. Parliament and especially the ruling party MPs need to indulge in some public relations exercise to spruce up their image. The PM should read or at least be provided materials about what the public think of BN MPs. A good place to start are the many blogs on this subject.

As the nation and her citizens become more internet savvy the government will find that it's propaganda machines will become increasingly worthless as the public penchant for alternative news becomes greater. News such as this involving Datuk Shahrir does not only make him a hero but casts the government as a bullying Goliath.

Perhaps the time has come Prime Minister for you to do some serious soul- searching, sans family and advisers, and see where the country is heading and what navigatory corrections are required. The ball Sir, as they say, is in your court. And oh yes, do read the blogs too.


Blogger Boringest :| said...

nice piece but the bolded words make it quite hard to read!

4:30 AM GMT+8  
Blogger The Malaysian. said...

Point noted and shall be rectified in future posts. Thanks, I welcome the feedback.

6:53 AM GMT+8  
Blogger fluqman said...

Bold or no bold, the article is well written and candid. Better still you did it without the "whip" word which was repeated all over the place by the mainstream media.

Surprising however, your personal and editorial perspectives had shifted from that years ago...for the better I must say.

1:47 PM GMT+8  

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