Thursday, June 23, 2005

Follow the Leader

Once again, 'democracy' seems to have prevailed. Yeah, right!

In another example of Barisan Nasional's version of practising democracy, whoever is seen to have broken ranks with the Government will be dealt with harshly. Datuk S. Sothinathan has been suspended as Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister for three months effective yesterday for breaking ranks with the Government in Parliament over the de-recognition of Crimea State Medical University in Ukraine. Sothinathan would however remain an MP (of Teluk Kemang) and resume his duties as deputy minister when the suspension ends. The deputy minister accepts the decision and has decided to concentrate more on party matters and constituency work during the suspension.

Not so long ago, two state assemblymen from Penang were suspended just because they abstained from voting. They were not even agreeing with the opposition on the vote, they just chose to abstain from voting and for that, they received suspensions because they supposedly broke ranks with the State Government for not voting against the resolution brought forward by the opposition, which for me is just silly and bad for democracy.

If standing up for the rakyat by voicing such issues is a crime, then I don't see the purpose of having Members of Parliament or State Assemblymen in the first place. I don't recall democracy working this way. May I remind everyone that they are firstly responsible to the rakyat, then only to their various political parties. Everyone has a right to agree and disagree. Everyone has a right to voice their concerns. Everyone of them has the right to protect the rights of the rakyat. No one should take that away from them. No one has the right to do so. I guess it's safe to say UMNO does really mean U Must Never Object.

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