25 Oct 2015
COMMENT When a sea of placards washed over the face of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on Budget Day, it created huge waves in the annals of Malaysian politics. Never before in the history of parliamentary democracy had a prime minister had to face the ignominy of seeing his role flashed in loud, clear and bold message across the national stage.
For Parliament is the time-hallowed podium where the actions and thoughts of the elected representatives are in full play for all to see. What the opposition lawmakers did on that memorable day is an act of patriotism: they do not want to see the country destroyed by a prime minister whose every action is a tight slap on democracy.
Parliament is a fitting place to debate with intelligence and vigour the problems and ills of the country – be they social, economic, political. More importantly, it is the ideal arena to drill the prime minister on his deeds as the head of government.
But Najib chooses not to engage in the cut and thrust of political life, which is the hallmark of a healthy and vibrant democracy. Instead, he treats Parliament with contempt when he ignores the existence of the opposition and cares only for his own skewed views.
His words have become his laws and as a result, justice and truth have taken a terrible beating. He comes and goes as he wishes and most of the time, his seat, given by the people to serve the people, is left cold and empty.
Not on high moral ground
Najib knows he cannot take the heat from the opposition in Parliament simply because he is not standing on a high moral ground. If question time is made compulsory, and the prime minister must attend to take all the questions thrown at him, he will most likely crumple. For his misdeeds are too heavy and glaring to be hidden away in the dustbin.
He will not be able to explain to the full satisfaction of the country his role in the 1MDB scandal and the diversion of RM2.6 billion into his personal bank account. The opposition knows the true story of the sordid tales surrounding the person of the prime minister – and so do the people.
The only avenue left for the prime minister is to make a disappearance for the duration of the parliamentary sitting and let the BN foot soldiers do the dirty job. Better still, he can issue written replies to all the important queries linked to the stinking scandal and shady donation.
This way, he need not have to take the flak from his political enemies; he can blissfully do his rounds in the rural areas and pull the wool over the eyes of the innocent, simple folks there.
But the prime minister must know that his “sins” will not go away even when he is not in Parliament. All his written replies will not change a word in the sordid stories that have been sending shock waves throughout the country and even beyond our shores.
He and his spineless, political stooges can run down the opposition however much they like but they cannot save the big boss from certain political eclipse. They can throw out and wave goodbye to the people’s elected representatives sitting on the other side of the divide but they can face the same fate through the ballot box.
What the country is crying out for is for the truth to emerge unscathed and unvarnished and for Najib to stand up and account for his actions to Parliament.
The people have sent the opposition lawmakers to Parliament to keep an eye on the government to ensure the affairs of the country are run according to the dictates of parliamentary democracy and not at the whims and fancies of bigoted politicians.
They want a leader who can make the country proud at home and abroad and not someone who is an advertisement for all that is wrong and unethical. So (dis) honourable prime minister: where did the RM2.6 billion go? If Najib still maintains his inelegant silence, the placards will hang like a millstone around his neck.
PHLIP RODRIGUES is a member of the Malaysiakini team.