Parliament not the castle of any political party
Will the government realised that the stifling of legitimate peaceful acts erodes its credence?Blocking the road to parliament and barring certain people from its vicinity is unconstitutional and is an act against the people. Parliament exists for the people and is their bastion of democracy and freedom, their sanctuary of political hope.It is not the castle of any political party or politician. An English king lost his head to prove parliament's, and thus, the people's supremacy.
When the speaker forbids debate on questions of public interest he fails to uphold democracy and mocks the office he holds and betrays the people's trust. He is no longer the speaker of the house - a post to ensure freedom of debate without fear or favour - but a partisan politician with a jaundiced eye on proceedings so that the political party he belongs to gets the upper hand. This is a mockery of parliament.
Without public debate and dissent on crucial public issues there is no need for parliament. Why should anyone elected to office on democracy be afraid of dissent, an integral part of democracy? They should join the military where democracy is not known.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should have stayed longer to see for himself the ‘vibrant democracy’ that is ‘flourishing’ in Malaysia. I wonder if he will change his tune when caught in the traffic snarls but then his entourage would be the cause of the traffic jams. His recent statements on Malaysia's democracy are as accurate as a visitor saying there is no poverty in Australia and all Australians are flourishing.
PM Abdullah Mohammed Badawi reiterated his war on corruption. More than any other Malaysian premier he provides some semblance of taking action against corruption. But with his poor track record and propensity to do the opposite of what he utters, don't expect the corrupt to feel nervous.
The present political storm appears a struggle between truth and falsehood. What is eminently clear to the public is that someone is obviously lying. Who? I think the people know the answer. But is sodomy the national and cardinal sin? Are lying, slander, cheating, thieving, and other moral sins evident in government and political circles less damning? What about the glaring injustice of the case against Irene Fernandez and those who are whistle-blowers?
The Barisan Nasional government will always be on the backfoot until it is deadly serious about ridding the country of all the corruption-related problems and getting the best people to help it. It cannot be a political approach but a national and bi-partisan campaign involving everyone. Action and results - not words - are proof of sincerity and efficacy. But to its credit, the ACA crackdown on corruption offers some glimmer of hope. Let's hope the vulnerable immigration system itself is remedied so that its not just another case of changing the guards and corruption occurs as if the crackdown didn’t occur. Such is the proof of experience. Corruption is like a strangling fig crippling the country. It is a gargantuan problem, perhaps too big for a two-year leader under attack from many sides with an unproven track record to resolve. Abdullah is also altruistic in wanting to fight corruption and restore the integrity of the judiciary. How? Many Malaysians may be battling a lack of cold cash because of the rising fuel prices and spiralling costs of living but they don't lack intelligence.
The day the politicians honour all that is on paper in the country, the constitution, the rule of law, integrity, and what is needed for sound and efficient government as in Singapore, with a virtually corrupt-free bureaucracy, then we will know the Barisan government is deadly serious about corruption and tackling its pervasive and perverting influence on the country.Attacking corruption is a mantra every premier has chanted but with no visible results. Whatever happened to a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government? Like propaganda, some people may swallow the bait, hook, line and sinker when repeated often enough but to the enlightened, it is political trickery. If the authorities can't even honour the people's right of dissent what hope is there that corruption and the independence of the judiciary, which depend on a strong sense of fair play and involve high stakes, will ever be eradicated or restored? Hope deferred makes the heart sick and those who can't deliver should never make false promises. Then they won't be seen to be serial liars. Malaysians are desperate for a season of decent governance and old-fashioned honesty.
The fledgling Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang may yet provide the clues so there is real hope, but it is still early days. It is better than hoping against hope with the devil they know elsewhere, I guess, and Malaysians can be forgiven for their incredulity in governance of promises. They are qualified to speak from experience.