Parliament dissolution – respect CNY, Pai Tian Gong and international best practices

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has not categorically ruled out the possibility of dissolving Parliament and kicking off the 12th general election campaign during the Chinese New Year festivities.

All that he said yesterday was that it was a rumour, with the cryptic remark “A rumour is a rumour. Any time can be appropriate when I decide.”
The onus is not only on Abdullah but on the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP leaders and Ministers to impress on the Prime Minister to be sensitive and respect the 15-day Chinese New Year festivities and that the insensitivity shown by the Umno national leadership to the Deepavali public holiday last November should not be repeated again.

One hot speculation for the 12th general election is dissolution of Parliament on 13th February, Nomination on 21st February and Polling on 1st March 2008.

As 13th February is the 7th day of the Chinese Year, Abdullah as a Penangite should be reminded that this would be doubly offensive and insensitive – as it will not only be a disrespect to the Chinese New Year celebrations but also to Pai Tian Gong which falls on the 9th day of the Lunar New Year, the birthday of the Jade Emperor and a major event for the Hokkiens in Penang.

Why is Abdullah so reluctant or shy in giving a public assurance that the dissolution of Parliament would definitely be after Chap Goh Mei on 21st February 2008, if he is conscious of the need to set an example of respect and sensitivity for the diverse religions, cultures and customs to all government leaders and Malaysians?

If the dissolution of Parliament is after Chap Goh Mei, a hot set of dates being speculated are dissolution on 22nd February, Nomination on 27th February or March 1s with Polling on 8th March, 2008.

It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to decide on the date for the dissolution of Parliament, subject to two caveats:

(i) show respect and sensitivity to the diverse religions, cultures and customs in the country, which means no spoiling the spirit and mood of the 15-day Chinese New Year from the 1st day of CNY to Chap Goh Mei (7 to 21 February 2008).
(ii) Respect the ethics of a free and fair general election and abide by the best international practices particularly of first-world developed nations in conducting elections.

A quick survey of the most recent electoral practices in first-world developed nations which Malaysia aspires to join under Vision 2020 is the common best practice where at their voters are given at least one clear month’s notice between dissolution of Parliament and polling – like United Kingdom (one month), Australia (40 days), New Zealand (54 days) and Canada (55 days).

Horror of horrors, President Robert Mugabe has given 64 days’ notice for presidential, general and local elections in Zimbabwe on March 29, 2008!

Even if Abdullah cannot best United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in terms of fair and proper notice for the holding of general election, is he to go down in history as doing even worse than Mugabe of Zimbabwe by having the shortest period for free, fair and clean election campaign for a general election among Commonwealth countries?

The least Abdullah should do is to ensure that there is at least one full month between the date of dissolution of Parliament and Polling Day. If Parliament is to be dissolved on Feb. 22, polling day should not be held earlier than March 21 – which will give Abdullah ample time to attend the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Dakar from March 13-14 for the handing over of the OIC Chairmanship from Malaysia to Senegal.

Or has Abdullah’s feng shui master advised him against holding the next general election after the middle of March?

I call on Abdullah not only to respect the 15-day Chinese New Year festivities and Pai Tian Gong but also to ensure at least a full month between dissolution and polling for the 12th general election to demonstrate that he is more democratic than his predecessor, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in the latter’s 22 years as Prime Minister.

The freedom, independence, impartiality and integrity of the Election Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has become a major national controversy.

Abdullah can resolve this controversy by taking two steps:

Firstly, by giving an assurance that he will not usurp the powers of the Election Commission by restoring to the Election Commission its full freedom and powers to decide on the Polling day after the dissolution of Parliament. The dissolution of Parliament is the political decision and prerogative of the Prime Minister but the fixing of the polling date under Malaysian Constitution and laws is the decision and prerogative of an independent Election Commission.

Secondly, by publicly accepting and honouring the concept of “caretaker government” when Parliament is dissolved, with a clear-cut set of directives of do’s and don’ts of a caretaker government to Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Chief Ministers, Mentris Besar, State Ministers and State Excos as well as to all public servants to strictly prohibit them from abusing their caretaker government status to misuse government resources, machinery and funds for party electioneering to win votes during the general election.

  1. #1 by dawsheng on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 1:18 pm

    PM: I work hard to fulfil duties

    PENANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Malaysians were aware that he works hard to fulfil his responsibilities for them.

    “Some of you can say that I’m not good, you can say whatever. “But don’t say that I don’t work.”

    “I work very hard. I really mean it and you know it,” he said to thundering applause from hundreds guests who attended the Chinese New Year open house at the Penang Chinese Town Hall here.

    Abdullah said as a Muslim, he had an obligation to fulfil his responsibility.

    “I have a very heavy responsibility and I have to carry it out,” he said.

    He also urged Malaysians to make full use of the opportunities available to do well in life and to serve the people.

    “It is God’s will that I become the Prime Minister of Malaysia and I am very conscious that I have to serve the people although I personally do not benefit even one sen because of this,” he said.

  2. #2 by dawsheng on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 1:27 pm

    I think DAP should start an online donation campaign for election campaign fund.

  3. #3 by penangboy on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 2:20 pm

    DawSheng – they have started already on Suggest you start donating also.

  4. #4 by Thegame on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 2:24 pm

    Money is king and dawsheng is right. We should start a collection for election campaign fund.The election must be professionally carried out to ensure DAP make serious inroad and win as many seat as possible.Cash donation should be encouraged for the obvious reason.LKS ppl are so united you will never get this opportunity again.Please do it right.We have no option but to check this BN and put them in place.You are our proven leader for all Malaysians.

  5. #5 by dawsheng on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 2:38 pm

    Yes Penangboy, I am aware but not many people are. I have an impression that DAP is shy to ask for donation in a big way.

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 2:50 pm

    It is a fact that a vote (although most important) for DAP may not be enough to deny BN 2/3 majority in the coming general election. Any political parties aspire to govern for the benefits of the rakyat must have more than enough cash to oil their election machinery. And it is time the rakyat realize if they wish to see the party they support wins the election, they should start investing. In Thegame, money is king!

  7. #7 by a-malaysian on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 3:12 pm

    To all who want to help contribute to DAP here is the website:


    For more informations about DAP visit this DAP Website

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 4:19 pm

    Oh, let him do what he wants. Let him insult everyone. That will be good for the Opposition.

    As I have asked before, isn’t he 1/8 or 1/16 Chinese? Is that too diluted?

  9. #9 by AhPek on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 6:58 pm

    ‘Some of you say that I’m not good,you can say whatever you like. But don’t say that I don’t work.”.
    ‘I work bloody hard, I really mean it and you know it.’, PM said to thundering applause from hundreds of guests who attended Chinese New Year Open House at the Penang Chinese Town Hall.
    Yes, Mr. Prime Minister you work bloody hard closing one eye to all the going-ons in this country, going-ons like;
    (1) Toyol raping vast area of greenery near Bukit Cahaya for which PKNS was fined RM300,000 (tax-payer’s money in any case) and he as Chairman of PKNS got off scotch-free.
    (2)His state government has given exclusive rights to Bernam Kiara to erect advertisements on overhead bridges, pedestrian bridges,gantries and directional sign.
    (3) Exclusive contract has been given to one company to extract sand.State government has sold prime land in PJ for less than 70 sen a sq. ft.Mentri Besar has also alienated state land to 2 teenagers
    (4) Of course the mother of all scandal emitting from Toyol is alienation of large acreage to Zakaria’s wife so that Zakaria can build a palace that has put the Sultan’s Palace to shame!
    (5) Racisms perpetrated by some of your UMNOPUTRAS even a Minister from an important Ministry who is supposed to be a role model for youths.Even your SIL has uttered atrocious racial remarks for which your response is Elegant Silence!
    (6) Rampant corruptions by your UMNOPUTRAS. Even Ezam the former PKR YOUth chief has given some thick files to pore over evidence of corruption pertaining to fat lady in your cabinet.
    (7) Massive wastages in government funds are never investigated. The annual AG report is gathering dust in the shelf.
    (8) Police corruptions and even your IGP (your hand-picked police boss) is believed to be working in collution with big gang boss.
    (9) What happen to IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission?
    (10) What about the 4.6 billion riggit scandal in PORT KLANG?
    (11) What about Altantuya’s murder which has implications leading to very high-ups in your government?
    These are only some that comes to my mind that you have worked hard closing one eye… there are definitely more if I were to delve harder.All these happenings are during your stewardship.

  10. #10 by Short-sleeve on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 8:36 pm

    Badawi can declare the GE anytime, I am not giving him and his bunch of crooks, racists and eunuchs my vote.

  11. #11 by Saint on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 9:59 pm

    DawSheng – they have started already on Suggest you start donating also.

    I checked the site but saw no account number for Maybank or for Public Bank. Please be more user friendly.

  12. #12 by david67shahalam on Saturday, 9 February 2008 - 11:38 pm

    we should convince our frens..relative…business partners to vote anybody else but BN….Just look at Datuk Zakaria……people in Japan /korea could have committed suicide if they are in his possition

  13. #13 by cheng on soo on Sunday, 10 February 2008 - 12:19 am

    Even govt printer is not happy, they hv to print more than 20 million ballot papers (more than 700 different types) in less than 10 days. (more than 700 parliamen n state seats)

  14. #14 by MAJULAHMALAYSIA on Sunday, 10 February 2008 - 12:51 am

    If you all want to donate, why not you all go to any DAP branch. At the same time, u may also ask them what you can help during Election.

  15. #15 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 10 February 2008 - 3:03 am

    Respect for the Chinese celebrating their New Year of the Rat?

    Surely you kid. Read this :

    M’sia starts Lunar New Year with bounty on rats

    Sat, Feb 09, 2008

    KUALA LUMPUR – AUTHORITIES in Malaysia’s capital have ushered in the Year of the Rat by offering a bounty on rats to help fight the city’s age-old rodent problem, a newspaper said on Saturday.

    ‘There’s no incentive like money,’ Mr Yew Teong Look, a member of parliament for a Kuala Lumpur precinct, was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying.

    Dead or alive, the rats are worth 2 ringgit (S$0.87) each, he said.

    ‘All residents have to do is place the vermin at drop-off points where City Hall officers will collect them for disposal,’ he said.

    Avoiding traps, the fast-breeding mammals are found in many of the city’s homes, shops and markets, despite efforts by the city authorities to contain the problem and clean up the city.

    Malaysia, with a large ethnic Chinese minority, is one of a number of country’s across Asia that have just celebrated the Lunar New Year.

    The Year of the Rat – one of the 12 animals in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac – began on Thursday. — REUTERS

    Talk about bad timing and about being sensitive!!

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 10 February 2008 - 8:57 am

    Have we forgot something here?

    The original concept of allowing for election NOT to be fixed is that it was unfair to the sitting government to subject to the vagaries of economic cycles and limit politicking over governance. It was not suppose to be totally a prerogative of the sitting govt MUCH less the prerogative of the PM alone. Then there is the issue of short election campaign period which was suppose to limit politicking but has not turn to final means of silencing opposition and delivering criticism of the government.

    This is typical of our government, it starts a policy with noble intention and sooner or later it degrade into abuse and forgotten basic ideas in the fight for political power and wealth.

    It is also reflective of the quality of our PM who should remember the basic ideals of the tools put before his disposal that he has forgotten it even though he is one of the few left that should remember it!!!

  17. #17 by SkullOfScar on Sunday, 10 February 2008 - 10:50 pm

  18. #18 by ktteokt on Monday, 11 February 2008 - 10:32 am

    Next year, 2009, is the year of the Ox. Will they start to kill cows then? And 2010, tigers? What nonsense!!!

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