It’s time opposition MPs stopped politicking and get to work!

Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah’s Maulidur Rasul (Prophet Mohammad’s birthday) address last Tuesday should have jolted a number of our leaders. His message was a clear indictment of the scourge of corrupt leaders and how it would destroy the country.

Without mincing his words, Sultan Nazrin, who is also the Perak Sultan, said that leaders who lack integrity will cause the people to suffer and that they would rush to accumulate wealth through dishonourable and dubious means.

In exposing corrupt leaders he put all such leaders, whether they are politicians or government ministers or, perhaps, even the Sultans, in a spot. He mentioned no one specifically but we know who these leaders are because their actions are public knowledge.

I hope corrupt leaders would see themselves in the picture of the corrupt leader the Sultan described and seek to change. Unfortunately, many leaders just can’t see their wrongs and cannot admit or face up to the fact that their actions are actually wrongdoings.

Sultan Nazrin should have touched on that problem, too. How so many leaders are in denial, pass the buck to others and refuse to assume responsibility for their actions and the actions of their staff.

Unfortunately, such leaders seem to be continuing in the “old style” of playing politics and creating a ruckus. They don’t or as yet haven’t brought their concerns up to the state legislative assembly or Parliament to thrash out the issues between assemblymen and Members of Parliament as equals. Instead, they manoeuvre by taking other politicians to the side and plotting schemes with them or getting other national or state leaders to pull rank on the ruling state governments or hold demonstrations!

But, in Parliament, we don’t hear any debate of substance from them except for the excited monkey jabberings of shouting down with racist taunts of “racist, racist, racist”. Yes, I am referencing here the opposition’s response to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy’s clarifications on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in Parliament.

Unhappy with his reply and instead of responding to it with further questions and clarifications, the opposition MPs descended into a circus show of racist bullying. Couldn’t the opposition MPs have just pursued a line of questioning with more probing questions instead of resorting to rude dismissal with racists chants?

MPs need to learn that asking questions and drawing appropriate conclusions from the answers constitute “work”. An MP works when he or she asks questions and provides statistics and facts to support his or her claims. The MP works when he or she meets up with his or her constituents and presents to them the issues of the day and solicits their responses to the issues at hand.

The MP presents a strong case to the constituents based on facts and the correct perspectives and contexts. To do all that he or she needs to do a good amount of homework and legwork which our opposition MPs, grown fat on easy access to the government gravvy train previously, don’t seem able to do. Perhaps they don’t know what they should do and how, and stoop to name calling and underhanded tactics.

Do the opposition MPs know what ICERD is all about? ICERD wants governments to stop introducing policies which will result in the marginalising of any group because of their race. It does not abolish affirmative action. By resisting ICERD and turning it into a “Malay-Muslim” issue, opposition MPs are actually advocating racism.

They want favoured treatment even when they are not disadvantaged and needing it. Under ICERD, those who are disadvantaged will be the recipients of affirmative action but those who are not will not get favoured treatment. These Malay leaders want favoured treatment to continue simply as a right of the Malays even when they are not disadvantaged. That is a racist position and contradicts the rights of the Malays as the dominant community of this nation. The latter is their secure position because they are the majority. All government policies will benefit the Malays by virtue of them being the majority.

The leaders who are emotionalizing this issue don’t want to work and explain to their supporters what ICERD is all about. The just want to be seen as pro-Malay even if the basis for such a stance is hollow, thinking it would rally Malay support behind them. Stoking up racial sentiments in new Malaysia is a dangerous game they are playing and, as Sultan Nazrin has said, it is the people who will suffer.

If the opposition MPs think that ICERD will remove affirmative action in favour of the Malays in the country it is because they don’t know the facts. They need to do their homework and elevate the standard of debate in Parliament so that relevant questions are asked and appropriate answers given. If the answers are not appropriate, query and grill the minister until the answers are given. If the correct questions are asked and answers are not forthcoming, that alone will be an embarrassment to the government.

Name calling and racist terms should be stopped. Frankly, the Speaker should have put a stop to those racists taunts and urged the MPs to get down to work and start debating with substance in Parliament.

 

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