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Barisan Nasional directive forbidding BN MP from supporting  any Opposition motion must be scrapped immediately as it is against Ninth Malaysia Plan and National Mission to create “first class mentality” and “First World Nation”  and Islam Hadhari principle of trustworthy and  just governance


Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

Parliament, Sunday) : Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad made it very clear when he resigned as Chairman of Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) on Thursday that it was over a matter of principle that “integrity should begin in Parliament” and that “Parliament must be able to show it can manage the discipline and integrity of its members without involvement by outside parties”.


This had been countered on the very same day by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and the BNBBC Deputy Chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN – Larut) to  justify   the  rejection by BN MPs of my privilege motion on Thursday to refer to the Committee of Privileges the  New Straits Times and Berita Harian reports on the impropriety of an MP in asking the Customs and Excise Department to “close one eye” in a case involving the import of sawn timber in Malacca.


Both Nazri and Raja Ahmad claimed that Barisan Nasional MPs were not allowed to support  any Opposition motion, regardless of merit or content – which would be proof of the immaturity and irresponsibility of  BN Ministers and MPs in “opposing for the sake of opposition”.


Such a Barisan Nasional policy directive appeared to have been confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, also the BN Chief Whip, when he confirmed in Kota Samarahan yesterday that he had accepted Shahrir’s resignation as BNBBC Chairman for violating the BN stand forbidding BN MPs from supporting any Opposition motion in Parliament.


Is there such a BN policy directive forbidding BN MPs from supporting any Opposition motion in Parliament, regardless of its merit and content – even if it is to protect the integrity, independence and  sovereignty of the nation?


Shahrir did not mention anything about such a BN rule until 24 hours later.  In fact,  immediately after my privilege motion was rejected last Thursday, I was told by a former BN Cabinet Minister that he would have voted in support of the motion if there had been a division in the voting – and he even ventured the view that the  privilege motion might have secured majority support from BN MPs if there was  division, as it was only a few  BN MPs who were making all the noises.  He said there was no “whip” on the issue and the BN MPs were free to vote according to their conscience.


If there is such a BN rule that BN MPs cannot support any Opposition motion regardless of merit or content, why were so many BN MPs  including a  former Cabinet Minister unaware of it?  Is such a BN rule in “black and white” and can anyone produce documentary proof of it?  Or is such a so-called rule trotted out “ex post facto” every time  to justify a crackdown or penalty “after the event”  against any defaulting BN MP?


Even if there is such a “black and white” BN  directive forbidding BN MPs from supporting  any Opposition motion, it  must be scrapped immediately as it is against the five-year Ninth Malaysia Plan and 15-year National Mission to create “first class mentality” and “first world nation” and the  Islam Hadhari principle of trustworthy and  just governance – rendering  the Malaysian Parliament and the nation a laughing stock in the world.


It will be a cause for national sorrow  if hardly a week  after the passage of the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the National Mission, Parliament is broadcasting to the nation and the world that the vision of a “first class mentality” and “first world nation” are both illusory and delusionary by turning away from the pathways towards a First-World Parliament.


The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had been quite tireless in summoning Malaysians to rise up to the challenge of a “first class mentality” and “First World Nation”.


This was his clarion call when he presented the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the National Mission 2006-2020 in Parliament on March 31 and in his winding up of the Ninth Malaysia Plan after a month-long debate on  April 27. This was also his theme in  his May Day Message (“Minda kelas pertama – Saranan PM dalam bangunkan modal insan sempena Hari Pekerja”: Utusan Malaysia 1.5.06) as well as in his first speech after the Ninth Malaysia Plan was passed  by Parliament when speaking to senior government officers and representatives of Malaysian organizations at the Malaysian High Commission in London last Friday (Abdullah: Aim to become first class – Star 30.4.06).


What chance has Abdullah to achieve his  vision of a Malaysia with “First World Infrastructure, First World Mentality” when he continues to be a lone voice after 30 months as Prime Minister while the nation’s highest policy-making councils, whether Cabinet or Parliament, are thickly encrusted with the third-world mindset, mentality and culture?


My motion tomorrow  to refer the MP for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof  to the Committee of Privileges on two grounds will not only be a test-case as to whether the Malaysian Parliament is capable of marching boldly in  the direction of a “First World Parliament” but also whether Abdullah’s vision of  “first-class mentality” and “First World nation”  has the understanding and support of the Cabinet, Parliament, the public service and the civil society or will merely remain at the sloganeering level with no hope of becoming reality.


Mohd Said Yusof  had said he was not in the House when the privilege motion was raised last Thursday as “Otherwise, I might have supported the motion”.  He had also issued the challenge: “Investigate me, by all means”.


I invite  the MP for Jasin will be present in Parliament tomorrow  when I move the motion to refer him to the Committee of Privileges and hope that he would give it full support in accordance with his claim of innocence.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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