Why you should not vote for the BarisanWith this objective in mind, I made an appointment to see the current Member of Parliament of my constituency, and we did see the Member of Parliament. My very first question was: "How can Barisan Member of Parliaments truly represent their constituencies when they are bound by the whip ALL THE TIME. What this mean is that Barisan Member of Parliament are bound to vote for all proposals from the Executive irrespective of merits, irrespective of what their constituencies really want, irrespective of their conscience. They are also obliged to vote against ALL proposals from the oppositions, also irrespective of merits.
We have seen how this worked when the opposition proposed to refer the "tutup satu mata" (close one eye) Member of Parliament for Jasin for trying to influence an officer of the Custom over a shipment of undersized logs from Indonesia.
Let me state here the response of the Member of Parliament of my constituency, a Barisan Member of Parliament, when this question of the whip came up. It was a pretty smart answer. According to the Member of Parliament, all proposals before they are tabled in the Parliament have to go through a long process of consultations with Cabinet Ministers, with NGOs (Non-government organizations) with stakeholders, etc. ( did not hear the voters of my constituency being mentioned unfortunately. Now I have my own opinion about consultations as people may be consulted, but would their opinions be taken into considerations?
There is more to this. The Constitution of a country is a very sacred document and should not be amended for trivial reasons. When the proposal to increase the retirement age of the Chairman of the Election Commission was rushed through the Parliament, I requested an urgent appointment and it was kindly granted. I asked: "In this case, did the consultation took place, if so, how long did it take and who were consulted." The response was: "When I told you this, I was only referring to MY Ministr." So it is now fact and no longer opinion. Proposals do get tabled in the Parliament without much consultations and in the case of amendment to the Constitution, it was passed with the Barisan overwhelming two-third majority.
Then there is a more recent case. The Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police was established by the King on 4 February 2004 under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1950 , after much hard work, prepared a 576 page report which was submitted to the Prime Minister on 29 April, 2004. The Royal Commission recommended establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) aimed at dealing with complaints regarding the police and seeking to improve the professionalism of the force and to ensure that doctrines, laws, rules and procedures are observed and implemented by the police. There were many recommendations, and among the very crucial recommendations were that no serving or retired member of the Police Force be appointed to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). After sitting on the report for many years, just before the impending election, a proposal was suddenly tabled in the Parliament to establish the Special Complaints Commission instead, which many described as a much watered down version of the IPCMC, and caught many by surprised. There members of the Royal Commission were so incensed that they came out in public to object against the substitution of the IPCMC with the Special Complaints Commission. Tunku Aziz, one of the member of the Royal Commission, described it as a slap in the face. Edmund Bon, Bar Council Human Rights Committee Chairman, called the Special Complaints Commission a POST BOX. Their function is merely to receive complaints, study it, then forward it to the relevant departments. Thus the Commission practically does nothing but add a further layer of bureaucracy to the process, increasing manpower, cost and time. What is worst are the members who would be appointed to the are from serving very senior staff of the Police which the Commission is supposed to "police". Plus to make the "Fake IPCMC" appear "better" than the real "IPCMC", it scope was proposed to be extended to all other enforcement agencies, including the ACA (Anti-corruption act). And guess what? The head honcho of the ACA is supposed to also sit on the "Fake IPCMC". How can one expect the police or the ACA "police" themself? Who can dare to bring complaints if the very person who sits in the "Fake IPCMC" is involved?
No, it is clear as daylight. Proposals do not go through a "long process of consultations". And even if consultations did take place, it is also clear that many of the real and justified objections had not been taken into consideration. Here is one very good reason why you should not vote for the Barisan. There are many others, but we will leave it for another day.