For example, at the recently concluded Gerakan national conference, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon today suggested that the "Barisan Nasional (BN) set up a special task force to review the Internal Security Act (ISA), Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act in order to strengthen the parliamentary democratic system."
He made it clear that his party was against all laws of detention without trial and called for their abolishment as one of the five resolutions on strengthening democracy and human rights passed at the national delegates (NDC) conference today.There's no question about the statement above. As a responsible parliamentarian, it must be supported wholeheartedly.
The question then is, with all these "talk", what is Gerakan going to do about it?
Firstly, all UMNO leaders have shown total disregard to the comments made by the Gerakan President. I've not seen any, none who has not resigned from the cabinet positions anyway, Minister or UMNO leader who has come out to support, or even offer sympathy and empathy to the views presented by Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon.
Tan Sri Koh himself, has even highlighted previously that "the party will review its role in the Barisan Nasional (BN). And if the review finds Gerakan no longer has a "meaningful" role in BN, then it would pull out of the coalition."
So, may I asked the honourable President, does Gerakan still have a meaningful role in Barisan Nasional? One would have expected a more sincere and sympathetic response from their UMNO masters, in the light of the damage in the last general elections, but no, absolutely none at all.
Secondly, will the lone representative from Gerakan among the backbenchers in Parliament, use the opportunities presented by the Budget as well as the subsequent DNA and UUCA bill debate to forcefully, without unnecessary and face-saving disclaimers, reject these bills. Will Gerakan exercise their so-called "louder conscience" in Parliament and vote accordingly? Or will they in my opinion, remain as empty vassals, and remain subservient to UMNO in perpetuity.
In the interest of Malaysia and Malaysians, I hope for the former, but in reality, as much as I'm reluctant to pass judgement prematurely, it is only likely to be the latter.