Yesterday, I had asked whether there will be any Minister who will resign on a matter of principle if the Cabinet today is not prepared to countermand the arbitrary and undemocratic ban on Bersih Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and DAP National Publicity Secretary and MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua from free travel overseas.
I have not heard of any news that any Minister or Deputy Minister is resigning his or her post in protest against such lurch towards undemocratic and arbitrary practices which have so far been the hallmark of communist and closed societies, representing a major and fundamental difference with democratic and open societies.
Is Malaysia an open and democratic society or has it regressed to become an autocratic and closed society like the North Korean communist regime?
This is a policy question which should involve every Minister and Deputy Minister in view of the “hair-raising” undemocratic and arbitrary decisions to bar critics and opponents of the Najib government like Maria Chin and Tony Pua from free travel overseas.
The Malaysian Parliament itself has become a farce if MPs like Tony Pua and civil society leaders like Maria Chin could be denied their fundamental and democratic right to travel freely overseas.
Malaysians should speak up to oppose Najib’s plan to turn Malaysia into a national prison where critics and opponents of the Prime Minister and Government are prohibited from travelling freely overseas.
All Barisan Nasional Ministers and Deputy Ministers, including the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed must be told in no uncertain terms that the issuance of a passport is a fundamental right conferred by Malaysian Constitution, and not just a privilege which is subject to arbitrary denial or withdrawal, depending on the whims and fancies of the powers-that-be.
Suhakam should give the entire Cabinet a primer on human and constitutional rights of Malaysians, as the Cabinet seems to be one of the bodies in the country which is woefully ignorant about the Malaysian Constitution and human rights.
(Speech at the DAP Pekan Nenas anniversary dinner at Pekan Nenas, Johore on Friday, 20th May 2016 at 10.30 pm)