Barisan Nasionalís electoral setback in the tenth general election was basically UMNOís defeat, losing another state government in Terengganu apart from Kelantan state government to PAS and nearly losing three other state governments in Kedah, Perlis and Pahang.
For the first time in UMNO history, Barisan Nasional had to depend on the other Barisan Nasional component parties, particularly MCAís 28 MPs, to bring in the Parliamentary seats and secure two-thirds parliamentary majority.
But after the general election, MCA became the greatest loser, failing to get an additional Minister and an additional Deputy Minister or to get a senior Cabinet post, such as Finance, International Trade and Industry or Education.
MCA leaders dared not even ask for more Cabinet posts unlike the Gerakan, which got an additional parliamentary secretary. All the MCA leaders dared to do was to pick a fight with Gerakan in Penang to demand a second Deputy Chief Ministerís post, an additional State Exco seat and top Municipal appointments.
The new Cabinet was an exercise in humiliation for the MCA. It is most humiliating for the MCA Youth Leader, Datuk Ong Tee Keat to be Deputy Minister to the Acting UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein in the Youth and Sports Ministry.
The MCA Youth leader should be a co-equal with the UMNO Youth leader. If the UMNO Youth leader is a full Cabinet Minister, so should be the MCA Youth leader. But it is the height of humiliation for the MCA Youth leader to become Deputy Minister to the UMNO Youth leader.
There are other humiliating appointments in the new Cabinet, the demotions for the former Perak Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah and the former Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin.
Ramli Ngah and Abu Zahar should not have accepted their humilating demotions and should have chosen to sit out as backbenchers until they were given the recognition they were entitlted to. Ramli Ngah should have demanded to know the reason for his demotion, especially as his replacement, Datuk Tajol Rosli, was a Cabinet Minister. I do not know what to say about Abu Zaharís demotion since he said that he was "very honoured" to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the first place.
The new Cabinet was also a humiliation for Malaysian women. Although the new Parliament has the highest number of 20 women MPs, there are only two women Ministers appointed compared to three in the previous Cabinet.
I had described the new Cabinet as very "Jurassic" in not having the marks of a millennium Cabinet. This may be why the newly-elected Barisan Nasional government committed such a grave faux pas as one of its first acts - the convening of the first meeting of the new tenth Parliament on Dec. 20, 1999 in utter contempt of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders.
I will visit Kuala Terengganu on Monday to begin my consultation with eminent jurists, legal practitioners and NGOs on the constitutional case of the millennium as a legal action to challenge the legality and constitutionality of the convening of Parliament on Dec. 20, 1999 will affect the legality of all the bills and businesses by the new tenth Parliament, not only in the recent four-day meeting, but for all future meetings as well as the legality of the Ministers and MPs arising from the unlawful oath-taking on the first meeting of Parliament.
I will meet with former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas in Kuala Terengganu to discuss the constitutional case of the millennium.