The whip (an obligation for a party's MP) is:
- Where the issue concerns party policy, the MP must vote according to party line
- Where the issue is in the party manifesto (a document stating what the party would do given to voters prior to an election), the MP must vote consistent to what is stated in the manifesto
- Where the issue is a matter of conscience, for example religion, the MP is free to vote according to conscience
- the former Parliamentary Secretary to YB Lim Kit Siang also said that in the past, where something tabled at the Parliament was in the interest of the country, they have voted with the BN (Barisan Nasional)
That sounds fair to me as if you are voted into Parliament based on something promised something in an election manifesto, you are obviously obliged to vote as per what had been promised. However, the whip can be lifted for DAP MPs to vote according to conscience.
This is a world of difference from the BN whip which is applied ALL THE TIME and never lifted. This means that the BN MP must vote for anything tabled or proposed in the Malaysian Parliament by BN and against anything proposed or tabled in the Malaysian Parliament IRRESPECTIVE OF MERITS. This is PURE NONSENSE to me and we Malaysians have seen how the whip plus their two-third majority had been greatly abused.
I put this question to the then Member of Parliament for my Constituency: "When a BN MP is under the whip all the time and not allowed to vote according to conscience, how can a BN MP act in the interest of its Constituency?"
She gave a very clever answer: "It is more complicated. Before anything is tabled in the Malaysian Parliament, it must go through a LONG PROCESS OF CONSULTATION." I of course had my doubts but kept silent. However, not long after, a bill to extend the retirement age of the Election Commission chairman from 65 to 66 was hurriedly tabled at the Parliament, I requested for an urgent appointment, kindly granted. It was obvious no meaningful consultation had taken place as lots of people who should know about it were taken by surprise and very angry.
During the meeting, I asked: "In this case, did the long process of consultation, and if it did, how long was the process of consultation and who were consultation?"
Her answer: "When I told you about the process of consultation, I was only referring to my Ministry." Well, I wanted to ask where were she and/or what did she do when a lot of controversial bills much disliked by concerned Malaysians were tabled at the Parliament in the past. To me, this Member of Parliament had clearly failed her role as a Member of Parliament, especially the pledge to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution at the first sitting of the Parliament.
Any subsequent bill hurriedly tabled at the Parliament, a bill to introduce the SCC (Special Complaints Bill), a much watered down version of a greatly needed (and promised) IPCMC. This bill was described as a "slap in the face" by Tunku Aziz, one of the member of the Royal Commission which recommended the IPCMC, and as a "post box" by Edmund Bon, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Malaysian. Edmund Bon described the function of the SCC as just to receive complaints, study it, then forward it to whatever department or agency it saw fit. It just adds an extra layer of bureaucracy and further waste of time and money.