DAP calls on BN to respect the right of the Penang MCA duo to abstain in the DAP motion on PORR in the Penang State Assembly and to accept a mature, consensual and community-oriented Malaysian democracy which is one of the nine strategic challenges of Vision 2020
- DAP Political Dialogue
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): One constant in the many twists and turns in the three-week escalating Barisan Nasional showdown over the abstention by the two Penang MCA State Assembly members Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Lim Boo Chang (Datuk Keramat) in the motion by the DAP Assemblyman for Batu Lanchang, Law Heng Kiang in the recent Penang State Assembly to defer the RM1.02 billion Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project is that right from the outset, the intense inter and intra Barisan Nasional power struggle had nothing to do with the interests of the people, party discipline or even the PORR issue!
Right from the beginning, it was clear that at issue was not a simple and straightforward case of party discipline when no less a person than the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi himself was the first to go public, declaring that the Penang MCA duo faced disciplinary action including possible expulsion when one would have expected the Gerakan and in particular the Gerakan Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to spearhead the campaign for their disciplinary action for Koh’s humiliation in being unable to muster even two-thirds of Barisan Nasional Assembly members to oppose the DAP motion.
The complex motives and factors for the Byzantine inter and intra Barisan Nasional power struggle revolving around the Penang MCA duo include the following:
For UMNO, at least three factors, viz:
For Gerakan, at least two factors, viz:
For MCA, at least three factors complicated by the MCA Team A – Team B internal power struggle:
In retrospect, the greatest mistake committed by Liong Sik and the MCA leadership was that in allowing the power play with the Gerakan Chief Minister with the abstention of the Penang MCA duo, they did not realize until too late that they were in fact trampling on UMNO toes, to the delight of Team B leaders who have no compunction in fanning the flames.
In none of these complex motives and factors causing the inter and intra Barisan Nasional power tussle does the interests of the people of Penang in wanting a cancellation or at least a full review of PORR rate any significant place.
With the ultimatum by Mahathir that MCA abide by the Barisan Nasional stand to discipline and expel the two Penang MCA duo (although the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council had never taken such a stand and the unilateral decision made by the UMNO Supreme Council for the expulsion of the MCA duo, not unlike Howard’s strike first doctrine, was most improper, undemocratic and high-handed), the end-game over the Penang MCA duo storm has come.
Liong Sik’s days as a leader of the Barisan Nasional component party are numbered. He was more Ah Q than Ah Q, and qualifies to be President of an International Super Ah Q Association, when he stood out in lonely splendour in claiming that Mahathir had not given any “direct warning” to MCA but a mere reminder which he wholeheartedly agreed about the power of the Barisan Nasional to decide which parties could be in the coalition.
Liong Sik could buy a bit of time for himself by submitting to the political blackmail of UMNO by sacrificing the Penang duo and take disciplinary action against them or try to extricate himself from the present quandary by getting the Penang duo to voluntarily resign from the MCA ahead of the decision of the MCA Presidential Council on Monday.
But these are dishonourable ways of exit which could not be delayed for too long in any event as Liong Sik should be able to see the writing on the wall.
Ling should consider doing the most honourable deed as MCA President by going out with a bang if necessary, by defending the right of the Penang MCA duo to abstain in the DAP motion on PORR and to take a stand for a more tolerant and mature democratic culture where elected representatives, though bound by party policies, have liberty to vote according to their conscience and sense of justice as to whether a particular development project is beneficial or detrimental to the rights and interests of the people.
Eleven years ago, the Prime Minister enunciated Vision 2020 for Malaysia to become a fully developed nation by the year 2020 through overcoming nine strategic challenges. The third of these nine strategic challenges is to develop “a mature democratic society practising a form of mature consensual community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries”.
This third strategic challenge to develop “a mature, consensual and community-oriented Malaysian democracy” will be utterly meaningless if close to the mid-point of the 30-year Vision 2020, elected representatives cannot freely vote according to their conscience and sense of justice as to whether a particular project is good or bad for the people!
DAP therefore calls on the Barisan Nasional and all its component parties to respect the right of the Penang MCA duo to abstain in the DAP motion on PORR in the Penang State Assembly and to accept a mature, consensual and community-oriented Malaysian democracy as one of the nine strategic challenges of Vision 2020.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman