Saturday, November 01, 2008

MCA & Gerakan Chickens

Empty vassals make the most noise.

The proverb couldn't have been more appropriate for MCA and Gerakan, "key" component parties of the Barisan Nasional government.

Both parties made so much unbelievable noises at their respective party congress and conferences, that they are all for reform in the current draconian laws, the Internal Security Act, the Printing & Publications Act, the University & University Colleges Act and so on. The printed media gave them a field day to demonstrate that these parties have learnt their lesson from the March 8th elections.

However, when it comes to the crunch where it really counts, they scatter like frightened little chickens.

Two to three weeks ago, we initiated a signature campaign among Members of Parliament to request the Prime Minister to prioritise a motion to debate on the Internal Security Act (ISA) in parliament. Note that it was not even a motion to amend or change or abolish the Act. It was just a request to "debate" it.

Surprise, surprise, when we finally submitted the petition on 23 Oct, only 1 Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) BN MP, Billy Abit Joo of Hulu Rejang signed the petition. Where did all the 15 MCA and 2 Gerakan MPs disappear to?

As reported by The NutGraph, Deputy Education Minister, and new MCA Youth Chief, Dr Wee Ka Siong gave his excuse:
"If we (MCA MPs) did not sign the petition, it did not mean that we have no guts. It's just that the ruling coalition has a different way of doing things from the opposition," said Wee, who is also Deputy Education Minister and MP for Ayer Hitam.

He said debating an act, for it to be amended, was a passive way of solving the problem as all acts needed the cabinet's approval before amendment.

"Even if they are allowed to debate about it, they can keep debating until the cows come home but the law will still remain the same. We have to go back to the conventional structure, which is to go through the cabinet, if we want to amend any law," he said.

MCA's Chua Tee Yong, who took over his father, and the newly elected MCA Deputy President's former parliamentary seat, Labis "believed there would eventually be changes in the act but not now."
"MCA has called for the act to be reviewed because we believe that such law is needed in the country, just as in other countries, to keep law and order. But we want the act to be reviewed so that it will not be easily abused," he said.

Chua, however, said he could not recall if the caucus had approached him to sign the petition but he was confident that it was merely an attempt at gaining political mileage for the opposition.

Wanita Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, MP for Gerik and Deputy Minister of Information claims that:
"I do not want to support the petition because I do not want other people to ride on us (Gerakan) for political mileage."
The above excuses are completely unacceptable for many many reasons:
  1. By claiming that only the Cabinet can initiate a review of the ISA (and not the Parliament), makes a complete mockery of the independence of the Parliament, which is the highest law-making body of the country. Are we MPs all subservient to the Executive and cannot have our own say? (Well, to the BN parties, it obviously is!)

  2. By claiming that there will "eventually" be changes in the act but not now, it's the clearest indication that MCA/Gerakan are not at all sincere in their attempts to amend or abolish the ISA! If it's an evil act, why wait? Why not now? Because it still serves the purpose of BN to suppress dissent?

  3. What's worse is that all the above comments flies in the face of statement issued by all the top UMNO leaders, that is the ISA will neither be repealed nor amended, and clearly MCA and Gerakan are just toeing the line. No more, no less.
MCA has elected a new Party President who is reputedly "brave" and "outspoken" and will do what is right for the people. I must say I'm disappointed that he has not taken up this opportune moment to mean what he says, and to signal that MCA will clearly depart from its broken past.

Since MCA and Gerakan are so happy to say that the opposition are just claiming political mileage in the above exercise.  On the contrary, it is when they actually refuse to join the petition that the opposition parties actually get to gain political mileage!

Regardless, I then hereby challenge that they lead the way and organise a petition, forum, signature campaign, or even a big walk, be it among MPs or the civil society in general to review, amend or even abolish ISA. I for one, and many others from DAP and other Pakatan parties will certainly be more than happy to cross the political divide and take full part in their campaign.

I don't care who the "political mileage" goes to, as long as the draconian ISA laws gets abolished. So who's politicising the issue? MCA and Gerakan's stand on these issues and their unwillingness to take concrete action merely demonstrates their hopelessness in furthering the cause for Malaysia.
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