Although a first-termer, Fong Po Kuan has brought Batu Gajah to the greatest national prominence since Merdeka 45 years ago because she is plucky, dedicated, committed and most important of all, has the “backbone” lacking in most Barisan Nasional MPs to speak up against injustices in Parliament.
She made a mark in Parliament on her very first day in Parliament when there are Barisan Nasional MPs who never make any mark at all after several parliamentary terms - and this applies to some Ministers as well.
This is probably why there are Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs who are so jealous of Fong Po Kuan’s parliamentary mark in two short years, which they take as a personal affront to their seniority and disrespect and even contempt for them although they are parliamentary deadwoods, that they relished and fully supported the high-handed, harsh and unprecedented punishment meted out to her in suspending her as MP for six months without allowance for no proper cause whatsoever.
Fong Po Kuan’s “crime” was wanting to pursue and highlight in Parliament the Certificate of Legal Profession (CLP) examination scandal, where there were not only examination question leaks but outrageous marks-tampering to fail candidates who passed so that those who failed could have their marks revised upwards as to pass, but there were “forces” which wanted to thwart her efforts and helped to sweep the CLP scandal under the carpet without the full glare of parliamentary scrutiny and debate.
In the past five decades, Malaysia has produced many distinguished Opposition parliamentarians including the two Seenivasagam brothers, Ahmad Boestaman, Karam Singh, Lim Kean Siew, Tan Chee Koon, Veerapan, Karpal Singh, P. Patto, and although they had crossed swords with the government and Speaker of the day, none of them had ever been suspended as MP without allowance.
During the debate on the last day of the parliamentary budget meeting on December 11, 2001 to crucify Fong Po Kuan, Barisan Nasional MPs pressured her to apologise when there was nothing for her to apologise, as she had done no wrong but only carried out her parliamentary duties entrusted to her by the Batu Gajah voters.
It is the Speaker, Tun Mohamed Zahir Ismail and the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs, who abused their parliamentary majority to suspend her from Parliament for six months without allowance, who should apologise to Malaysians and the country - and in particular to the voters of Batu Gajah - for persecuting the youngest and woman DAP Member of Parliament.
There may be Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs who thought and hoped that the harsh, most unfair and unprecedented sentence of six months’ suspension as MP without allowance would break the spirit of Fong Po Kuan, but Fong’s resilience and indomitable courage since her suspension has proved them wrong - and the six months’ unfair punishment imposed on her is having the effect of a “baptism of fire” which would transform Fong to become an even stronger and more committed fighter for justice and freedom which might otherwise require six years’ experience.
If the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs have a sense of justice and fair play, they should move a motion in the March meeting of Parliament to revoke Fong’s suspension as MP without allowance for six months and allow her to take her seat in Parliament and continue to discharge her parliamentary responsibilities entrusted to her by the voters of Batu Gajah.
If the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs are not prepared to do so,
then Fong’s suspension should be high on the list of reasons why
the Malaysian electorate should vote against the Barisan Nasional in the
next general elections, expected sometime next year, to register strong
disapproval at the misconduct and misbehaviour of the Barisan Nasional
majority in Parliament.