DAP wants a national
consensus on Ng Yen Yen's PR controversy, whether PR signifies disloyalty
and whether Ng Yen Yen can continue as Deputy Minister or should resign
by Lim Kit Siang
The Minister in the Prime
Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim in a late night report in
Bernama yesterday said that the issue of Deputy Culture, Arts and Tourism
Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen resigning her post in the MCA and government
does not arise.
Rais said that it was just "a question of morals and ethics". He said:"Under
the law, there is nothing that applies to her in this case but the
questionable element could just be that she did not inform the authority in
1993 when she was appointed a Senator. It is not an offence... it is also
not something criminal."
In a matter of 24 hours, Rais had undergone a major transformation of his
position on the issue of Ng Yen Yen's PR status, after the reports in
yesterday's Utusan Malaysia and Malaysiakini last evening.
In both Utusan Malaysia and Malaysiakini, Rais took the uncompromising
position that Ng Yen Yen's past status as an Australian permanent resident
while serving as senator was "morally untenable though not legally wrong… as
people who hold public office should not withhold information on their
foreign PR status which is pertinent to be known by the public".
Rais had said: "If a public office holder has a PR status for whatever
reason - whether it is because of his or her children or for business
efficacy, it does not harm him or her to declare it to the public. In other
countries, if such things happened, those concerned would have resigned.
"There are no legal implications. But it concerns the morals, value system
and disposition of a government leader, even if the person has relinquished
the PR status."
Whatever the reason for Rais' radical modification of his position on Ng Yen
Yen's PR status in three hours from the Malaysiakini report posted at 6.46
p.m. and the Bernama report posted at 9.52 p.m. yesterday, Rais' latest
position remains most ambiguous and even unfortunate, giving currency to the
view that it was all right for Ministers and Deputy Ministers to be
unethical and immoral, provided it is something which is not illegal in the
strict sense of the law.
If this is the considered position of the Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional
leadership, then let them come out with a clear guideline to all Barisan
Nasional Ministers and leaders that they can be unethical and immoral
provided they do not do anything illegal!
May be, the Barisan
Nasional would come out with a new slogan for the next general election
about the leadership commitments of Barisan Nasional candidates - "Illegal -
No! Immoral and Unethical - OK!"
But what are the real implications of Ng Yen Yen's PR status in particular
and the question of Malaysians having foreign PRs in general?
The MCA Youth through its secretary-general Liow Tiong Lai, representing the
MCA "B" faction, has taken the strong position that Ng Yen Yen had committed
"a very big offence because it shows that she is not loyal to the country
and Yang di-Pertuan Agong".
MCA "A" faction had countered in their propaganda on the ground with the
allegation that a top MCA "B" leader was known to have foreign PR status
before taking up a high government appointment - which must be cleared by
the MCA B leaders with individual clarification if they regard Ng Yen Yen as
having committed a "very big offence" of disloyalty to the King and country
in becoming Senator with her Australian PR status.
DAP calls for a national consensus on Ng Yen Yen's PR controversy, whether
PR signifies disloyalty and whether Ng Yen Yen can continue as Deputy
Minister or should resign.
I would like to see greater public discussion on this question, not just
focused on Ng Yen Yen or revolving around the new round of power struggle
between the MCA "A" and "B" factions, but addressing the whole question of
Malaysians with PRs in another country - their proper place and contribution
to Malaysian society and nation.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National