What is not democratically possible can be done undemocratically!

By P Ramakrishnan

Malaysians today witnessed another sordid attempt to make a mockery of the parliamentary system as four opposition MPs were suspended in highly undemocratic circumstances, writes P Ramakrishnan.

What is not democratically possible, it seems, can be achieved undemocratically. We witnessed this despicable undermining of parliamentary democracy in the shameful episode of the Perak debacle.

We have witnessed today (16-12-10) another sordid attempt to make a mockery of the parliamentary system in the quest for power.

The pattern is obvious; the method is devious. It is undoubtedly a deliberate attempt to secure the two-third majority the BN lost in the 12th General Election in March 2008.

Apparently, in this attempt justice is being trampled upon with impunity and shamelessly. The lust for power drives the BN to adopt unethical means to pulverise the Opposition by the tyranny of the BN majority.

It is a pity that the august institution of Parliament was reduced to a shambles, ignoring totally the sacred principles of natural justice. There was not even the pretence of going through the motion of a civilized debate. It was bizarre!

How could the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee deny Anwar Ibrahim the right to be heard and defend himself? How could this Committee come to any conclusion by refusing to hear Anwar’s right of reply? How could this Committee lay any claim to being fair, unbiased and guided by the principles of justice when it did not even allow Anwar to be represented by his Counsel?

The Chairman of this Committee was the Speaker of Parliament. According to the records of the Hansard, the Speaker had assured Anwar that he would be given the opportunity to defend himself at the rights and privileges committee meeting.
Yet as Chairman of the Committee, he did not honour his word and permit Anwar to appear before the Committee to defend himself.

He cannot claim that “there was a motion from the committee member, saying that there was no need to listen to the defence… And then, I put it to vote. That was all. I didn’t vote in the committee.” There is no merit in his statement.

He had a solemn duty to guide the Committee to observe the principles natural justice. He had violated this sacred duty by seemingly allowing himself to be led by his nose. His task does not simply imply that he only presides without exercising responsibilities of a chairman entrusted to him. He cannot justify his action by simply stating, “I was just a chair of the rights and privileges committee… I didn’t vote.”

As Speaker, he does not vote either but that does not mean he cannot exercise his discretion to come out with a ruling. Doesn’t he as Speaker over-rule motions submitted for debate and uphold certain points raised by the MPs?

Doesn’t he have certain authority as Chairman to ensure that the conduct of the Committee is rooted in justice?

Karpal had a point when he pointed out that there was a conflict of interest in the Speaker when he chaired the House session. Pandikar was the Chairman of the committee which recommended Anwar’s six-month suspension from Parliament. How can he be neutral in this issue when he presides as Speaker? Karpal rightly pointed out, “You have lost your moral authority to sit in the chair.”

From what was reported, Karpal was to be admonished according to the report of the rights and privileges committee. How then did it take a turn and suddenly become suspension from Parliament? Who twisted this fact to punish Karpal? The suspension of Azmin and Sivarasa was also very peculiar. They were not asked to show cause and neither were they allowed to defend themselves. No sufficient notice was given; instead the whole charade was rushed through as if the BN just wanted to get over with this nasty episode.

Without a tinge of conscience the tyranny of the majority prevailed for a purpose. The BN now is within sight of a two-thirds majority in Parliament. If it achieves that, it can do whatever it wants without a care for the rights of the minority. The Federal Constitution is in danger of being mutilated, as has been the case, under the BN.

We are reminded of what Edmund Burke said about tyranny: “The greater the power the more dangerous the abuse.” As some wit once said, a government that fails to honour the law on which it is based only invites rebellion. No sane Malaysian wants to go that way.

P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 3:22 pm

    Bye, bye n soon a buy election
    RIP, Johor Tenang assemblyman, TQ 4 d buy election

  2. #2 by DAP man on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 3:31 pm

    This is the lowest level of shame the Parliament can ever descend to. It cannot go lower.

    The Speaker’s actions is akin to him walking naked in the middle of KL city – shameless, despicable, barbaric, like a gigolo pandering to the demands of his pay master/ mistress.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 6:34 pm

    Edmund Burke :
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.
    But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

  4. #4 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 7:43 pm

    BN politicians have really gone amok.

    What the Speakers of Perak and the Federal Parliament have done is not only mind-boggling, it’s absolutely mindless. Tak masuk akal-lah!

    When the mind has lost its moorings, then you say they have gone amok.

    Ok, choose your term – it’s either MAD or AMOK.

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 8:25 pm

    Just tell Tenang folks in the coming by-election that PR is committed to restoring Parliamentary democracy from BN tyranny.

  6. #6 by Taxidriver on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 10:16 pm

    Rakyat MUST unite to fight to restore democracy. UMNOB leaders have gone mad, gila, amok and siaw.

  7. #7 by tunglang on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 10:31 pm

    It stinks the country sky high beyond stratosphere that the rule of law is hijacked to serve the purpose of unbridled evils in the very respected August House of Law! Where the civility of 53 years in Parliament decorum is turned mob-gangsterism unheard of in gangland of Chow Kit Road.

    Even Al Capone’s mafiarism will have a hard time to match this forced castration of democracy in 21st century civil liberty.
    Has not Malaysia’s democracy thrown back to the Dark Ages?

  8. #8 by Taxidriver on Friday, 17 December 2010 - 10:43 pm

    While most are competing and moving forward, Malaysia is moving backward. Thanks to our incompetent leaders. We are now 40 years behind Singapure in every aspect. But we trounce the island state in corruption, violent crimes and lawlessness.

  9. #9 by negarawan on Saturday, 18 December 2010 - 12:11 am

    Only by people power can a corrupt and evil UMNO/BN be removed from government. Let’s make sure that we do not waste our votes in the coming GE. A vote for UMNO and its cronies is a vote for corruption, racism, and injustice to continue in Malaysia. No doubt UMNO will make the coming GE the dirtiest in history as we can all already see. No matter how imperfect PR is now, it is still better to give Malaysia a fresh start, and try to regain all the honor and reputation it has lost under UMNO. At the end of the day, people like Pandikar Amin and all the UMNO criminals will not escape the wrath of God Almighty.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Saturday, 18 December 2010 - 12:26 am

    I wonder how long will those who vote for UMNO B realized or bother to realize UMNO B keep applying double standards and is such a cruel racist Govt….keep poisoning and controlling minds …..pumping half truths and promoting how good they are…surely cannot treat all Malaysians equal and fair …which includes their members too.
    Najib and his Ministers have said..done things and exposed themselves so many times…how insincere they are…yet racists want to remain racists to ignore their own kind opposing UMNO B?
    Yes….it is FOR or AGAINST with your votes and your thoughts always.
    Never fall into the traps to read some “third force” .”repair man” stuffs…and trust them.
    Those are already using their precious votes in favour of BN….yet declare they are not in politics.
    You can see a sudden change by one powerful lone ranger speaker……from 100% supporting PR at 12th GE…to be a twister now.

  11. #11 by ShiokGuy on Saturday, 18 December 2010 - 4:35 am

    RIP, Johor Tenang assemblyman

    You are one of the Best Malaysian Politician. Your give your life for the betterment of people of Tenang.


    PR please field more such candidate in the future, and show us their latest medical report

  12. #12 by dawsheng on Saturday, 18 December 2010 - 5:34 am

    To be honest, I cannot understand what is not democratically possible can be done undemocratically.

  13. #13 by tak tahan on Saturday, 18 December 2010 - 7:17 am

    To be honest, I cannot understand what is not democratically possible can be done undemocratically. by dawsheng

    Seems alike kangaroo court in bolehland.Every aspects of law are twisted by low IQ people to suit their needs.Umno is notorious for legitimating anything you name it undemocratically.

  14. #14 by yhsiew on Saturday, 18 December 2010 - 8:39 am

    Bolehland is already half a Zambabwe!

You must be logged in to post a comment.