Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why YBs?

“IT’S so hard to believe but it’s all coming back to me now.”

There you are the song, It’s All Coming Back To Me Now by Celine Dion which made it to the billboard in the 1990s. The current political fiasco in Perak, a reminiscent of what happened in Sabah in 1994, has made the headlines these few days, no thanks to the three state assemblymen who deserted their parties to be independents.

The three, PKR state assemblymen Mohd Osman Jailu and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and DAP’s Hee Yit Foong who played hide -and-seek eventually showed up at the press conference on Tuesday by incoming prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who claimed that the BN had the enough numbers to seize power from the mere 10-month old Pakatan Rakyat-led state government.

In 1994, the PBS-led government in Sabah managed to secure only a razor-thin majority of 25 state seats against the BN’s 23 and with the defection of few PBS state assemblymen to BN, the BN eventually seized power from the PBS. So the question now is, is it alright for politicians to hop parties as they wish when the voters voted them for who they represented (meaning the parties they represented) during the elections?

While the law on anti-hop is not yet there to stop politicians from deserting parties, I guess this million-dollar argument, if we were to take public polls, may come to a conclusion that it’s a no-no for majority of us. While the Federal Constitution guarantees one’s right and freedom of association, being responsible and people conscious politicians with high credibility and integrity, such hopping culture should not ever be in the practice for the politicians are where they are for the trust and faith entrusted by the people.

I guess everyone of us could still remember vividly how PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tried so hard to engineer defections among the BN lawmakers last year which resulted in a big group of BN lawmakers having resorted to a retreat in Taiwan in the name of study tour.

But the attempt by Anwar failed despite him declaring that the Pakatan Rakyat would form the government by September 16. Now the BN has turned the tables on Pakatan Rakyat with rumours that there would be more defection to the BN camp.

And now as the Chinese are still celebrating the new lunar year of the Year of the Ox, Malaysians are awaken to find a change of state government in Perak within days, not via ballot boxes but through defection of few politicians who were claimed to have been offered millions of ringgit just to cross over.As the Sultan of Perak holds the key to whether to allow the BN to form the state government with a simple majority or to dissolve the state assembly, the voters in Perak may feel betrayed or sick with the conduct of their politicians.

There are some legal aspects involved in this political fiasco but I agree with a senior lawyer who was quoted as saying in a national daily that the best way to solve the problem was to dissolve the state assembly and let the people decide. If such defection or ‘frogging’ is the way Malaysian politics is being played, then what is there to guarantee that these very same politicians may not hop again in the future for selfish reasons?

There is an urgent need for the enactment of an anti-hopping law to prevent this political melodrama from repeating in the future. But alas, the effort by the former Law Minister, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who resigned only after few months in office was futile. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has second thoughts of Umno accepting the PKR state assemblymen Mohd Osman Jailu and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi into its fold for the two, who still have court cases pending.

Dr Mahathir had said even if the party were to accept anyone, it must do some checking on the person’s background and not to simply accept any Tom, Dick and Harry. But I have this advice to politicians. Do not betray the faith and trust given by the people to you because the consequences may be detrimental in time to come for the voters will definitely vote you out. Remember this line from Celine Dion’s song, “There were empty threats and hollow lies, and whenever you tried to hurt me, I just hurt you even worse, and so much deeper.”

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