I have written before about why we should vote against UMNO BN at Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament, the whip and the DNA bill and Reject all Barisan MPs as long as the whip is imposed all the time plus Why I am a supporter of DAP: whip is not applied all the time where I explained that as long as Barisan Nasional maintain that the BN whip is in force ALL THE TIME and never allowed to vote according to conscience and in the interest of the nation and public, the Malaysian should vote against a BN candidate. This is because under this condition, a BN elected representative (Member of Parliament and State Assemblyman) cannot represent the interest of his constituency because he is always forced to vote according to how BN wants him to vote.
Now I feel compelled to revisit this issue plus take Shahrir Samad as an example because of a series of exchange between Dr. Rafick at his posts Kemana Melayu and Kemana Melayu 2.
Dr. Rafick contended that we should always elect "an individual with strong character that place the nation and the public interest above personal interest" and never vote solely because of the party he represents. And he took choosing between Azmin Ali of PKR and Shahrir Samad of UMNO as an example, saying that he would choose Shahrir because he is "because I believe Shahrir is far more intelligent and understand the people needs more clearly".
In better circumstances, I would agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Rafick. However, my contention is that Malaysia is facing perilous circumstances needing surgery cum with the fact that a BN elected representive is ruled by the BN whip all the time and thus will be representing his party interest and not that of the nation's and the rakyat's interest.
Dr. Rafick pointed to the times that Shahrir had been in and out of the cabinet as proof that Shahrir is a representative truly representing the interest of the public and the nation and invited people to do some research.
OK let us see what I have found. The best known incidence is when Shahrir could not get along with Mahathir, resigned, stood for re-election and won. Let us examine closer the circumstances surrounding this event:
"Shahrir was sacked that year in the events leading up to the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's challenge to Prime Minister and UMNO President Mahathir Mohamad. In 1988, Shahrir resigned from his Parliamentary seat, and ran for reelection in the resulting by-election as an independent." (source: Wikipedia: Shahrir Abdul Samad)
May I point out that the above was a tussle for power between Tengku Razaleigh and Semangat 46 versus Mahathir and UMNO Baru and in no way reflect acting in public or nation interest versus individual or party interest.
Another incident mention in Wikipedia: Parliament had been discussing the issue of a Member of Parliament (MP) who allegedly asked the Melaka Customs and Excise Department to "close one eye" to an illegal import shipment of timber. Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Leader of the Opposition moved a motion to refer the MP in question to the Dewan Rakyat House Committee of Rights and Privileges. Several BN MPs quickly voiced their disagreement with the motion, but Shahrir — according to one source — "shocked the House" when he stood and spoke in favour of the motion in order "to maintain the integrity of parliamentarians and Parliament". The motion was eventually rejected — in line with the BN policy of not supporting motions moved by the opposition  — by the House. Shahrir walked out of the House and held a press conference in the Parliament lobby, telling reporters that "Even though it was an Opposition motion, we should support it for its importance to MPs and the House."
Now I am not sure if Shahrir did not vote but walked out of the House or he voted against, then walked out. Hopefully someone can enlighten me. In any case, perhaps I would concede Shahrir did "do the right thing".
However, let us look at more issues that are more important than the above "close one eye" incident. Let us consider the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Identification Bill 2008 where in the Nut Graph it had been explained so clearly and comprehensively why that was a very bad bill. In fact I even told MCA that if they pass that bill, if ever Pakatan Rakyat become the next government, it is feasible they can use that bill to incriminate them and get them hanged. The bill was passed (List of Bills Passed by Parliament in 2009). Now I would be very interested to know how Shahrir voted. However, I think I can make an informed guess that Shahrir did not vote against that bad bill, otherwise it would have made headline news which didn't happen. And lots of people postured that the reason for that bill is so that they can use it against Anwar Ibrahim in Sodomy 2.
Then how about that Elections (Amendment) Bill 2007 (List of Bills Passed by Parliament in 2007) which was obvious to everyone was meant to retain that hopeless EC Chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman for the pending 12th General Election to ensure BN wins. You tell me, should laws of a country be amended for an individual for such purpose? And tell me how Shahrir voted in Parliament.
And the Special Complaints Commission nicknamed "fake IPCMC", a hugely watered down version of the IPCMC which all Malaysians who wants a credible police force will want. In this case, after much opposition, I believe it was withdrawn and never put to a vote. But I would venture that Shahrir would probably vote as how BN wants him to vote had that been put to the Parliament for voting.
I would say that Shahrir can probably be considered as the best of BN but I would venture to opine that Shahrir had contributed to the mutilation of the Malaysian Constitution because of the BN whip.