Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fight Club

Has our Parliament, our very august House become a "Fight Club"?

The issue which was being debated in Parliament was the huge increase in Quit Rent in the northern state of Kedah. In particular, for land demarcated as "Tanah Bandar" or urban areas, the Quit Rent increased by as much as 900%!

120,000 people have signed a petition protesting against this development in the state.

What further complicated the issue was the fact that the state government re-defined, illegally, the definition of "Tanah Bandar" to mean anything other than "tanah luar simpanan Melayu". Hence, even in villages which are not sited in Malay reserved land, it'll be classified at "Tanah Bandar" and be subjected to astronomical Quit Rent! (There's something biblical about all this...)

If the Kedah state government is successful in its attempt to extort quit rent from its population based on such unjust and discriminatory principles, you can be assured that the other Barisan Nasional-led state governments will certain follow suit to do the same, if not worse. This is a clear example of the "absolute" power given to BN that is detrimental to the rakyat's interest.

However, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Datuk S Sothinathan, who was unable to respond to the question raised by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader gave the typical reply that the opposition "should not politicise" the issue (!)

When pressed that it is clear that MIC obviously has no say in Government and hence his helplessness in helping the rakyat against the UMNO-led Kedah state government, a pandemonium ensued (as usual, sigh). In the midst of it, typical of MIC political culture, the honourable deputy minister challenge YB Fong Po Kuan to a fight "mari lawan!" outside parliament. What an absolute disgrace.

Today of course, the press published reports that the honourable deputy minister was only issuing a political election "lawan" challenge, but not a physical fist fight. You can make your own judgement.

You can view the full report on Sdr Lim Kit Siang's blog, or alternatively, watch the video yourself (it's 7 minutes long) on YouTube.
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