Category Archives: Uncategorized

In favour of a no-confidence vote

What will Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim do next now that the King has told politicians to “resolve their problems through negotiations and the legal process in accordance with the Federal Constitution” as reported in Malaysiakini?

Firstly, he has to comply with a police request to see him over his claim.  He wouldn’t have courted this additional trouble if he had taken the issue to the Dewan Rakyat by seeking a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. MPs wouldn’t get into trouble for doing so because it is their constitutional right, even if the request never sees the light of day!

Yet, a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin seems to be the only way to resolve this current issue. It would eliminate all the grovelling-without-dignity deal-making to become prime minister or be in government or to buy over a few MPs to maintain a one or two-MP majority.

If you have to buy votes or MPs over with the promise of jobs and positions, it shows you don’t have real support. Therefore, a claim of majority support needs to be tested and a no-confidence vote allows for it.

On the other hand, if you seek to seize power by any means outside of the Dewan Rakyat, that’s as good as a coup and anyone can question and undermine it as Anwar has since he claims he has the support of a majority of 120 MPs. He is able to get the majority based on disgruntled Umno MPs who have had it with their subservient role to Muhyiddin’s Bersatu party and want to leave the PN government.

Muhyiddin didn’t think through carefully when he courted Umno as a party to join him to form a Malay-majority government. Umno was disgraced and ousted from power in the 14th General Election(GE14) even though it was the largest Malay-based party. The people didn’t vote for Umno in government but Muhyiddin welcomed it in his new coalition without thinking of consequences. Now, he is paying for it. In government, Umno became stronger and it is not surprising that it wants better terms for itself. And, it is clear that Muhyiddin has lost control of his coalition with Umno now threatening to pull out if it doesn’t get what it wants.

If Muhyiddin, like former two-time premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, only entertained individuals from Umno to join PN and not the party, he wouldn’t be in the state he is in now because the individuals won’t have the numbers to dictate terms.

Anwar now faces a similar future. If he works with Umno as a party he will be disrespecting the GE14 mandate of the people and allying with a party that was not elected to form a government. He would also have a party with a big number of MPs and at some time in the near future, they will collect. And the same problem facing Muhyiddin now will repeat. Political stability will not be guaranteed.

For the sake of political stability, the best course of action is to call for a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin, which a number of MPs have initiated. The Speaker Azhar Harun said in a recent statement that a Minister must move a motion to push a no-confidence vote to the top of the agenda in the order of the day at the Dewan Rakyat. There should be a few sympathetic ministers who could do that.

Whatever follows next, should be managed according to democratic conventions with the party/registered coalition with the most number of seats invited to form a new majority government. If it fails, then the next largest party/coalition and so on. There will be a period of uncertainty but at the Dewan Rakyat it will be fairly managed without abuse of power.

What happens after next Tuesday?

After next Tuesday, we don’t know if the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government or coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), Muafakat Nasional (Umno-PAS pact), Pakatan Harapan (PH) Opposition, Gabongan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) or even the Gabongan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will exist!

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim has a scheduled meeting with the King on Tuesday where he will present a list of the names of MPs who have pledged to form a majority government. If, indeed, he has a majority of MPs to support him in his bid to form a government, that would, of course, be the end of the PN government.

It would be interesting to see who have agreed to join him and from which coalition because that might be mean that that coalition would break up or, at least, its composition would change. It could also result in a change of state governments. Another political imbroglio!

A precedent was set when Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin went to the King with his list of MPs to topple the previous PH government and failed to get the stamp of legitimacy from the Dewan Rakyat by facing a no-confidence vote. A counter-coup seems to be the only way to remove an unelected government which refused to face a no-confidence vote to get the mandate from the elected representatives of the people.

Why we need coups — like we are some banana republic! — to take control of the government beats me! Follow the constitution and the democratic convention of holding a no-confidence vote to test the degree of support of the claimants of majority support.  It would be less messy and the mandate of the people would be respected.

Unfortunately for us, Muhyiddin didn’t follow this practice, and following the precedent he set, a counter-coup may be the only solution to the extremely unstable situation of struggling to maintain a wafer-thin majority with all sorts of compromises!

Should Anwar succeed, I hope he will demonstrate his allegiance to the supremacy of the federal constitution and face a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat with a special session called to accomplish this.

If Anwar succeeds, I wonder how the parties will realign themselves and in which coalition. I hope in any coalition set to lead the government, PAS will not be a member. That would indicate that the coalition is willing to swing further to the right when the situation demands it and in the process advance PAS’s cause, perhaps even at the expense of minority groups.

We have seen how it helped Bersatu and Umno win a couple of seats although it didn’t stand for election in the recent Sabah state elections, as reported by political analyst Bridget Welsh in her analysis of the state elections posted on news portal Malaysiakini.  Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Maximillus Ongkilli and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Jeffrey Kitingan both had expressed their concerns to Muhyiddin and GRS that they disagreed with the move to appoint a PAS member to the state assembly.

Apparently, they had no clout to change the decision because PAS now has a seat in the Sabah state assembly. Yet PBS and Sabah Star chose to support GRS. Through deals and promises, party members get positions but the interests of the people they are supposed to protect are seemingly sacrificed. PBS and Sabah Star’s support comes mainly from the KadazanDusun Murut community most of whom are Christians. I wonder how they feel about this new development? Or, do their concerns even matter?

In the current political climate as ours where no Malay-based party has a clear majority and PAS is able to deliver votes to win, the position of the Islamic party especially in government will be strengthened. Will it temper the progressive notions of multi-culturalism or advance ultra-conservative ideals? It is a risk that multi-culturalism proponents will regret as I am sure PBS and Star do as they can do nothing now about PAS being in the Sabah state assembly.

Political parties need to be very careful as to which coalition they will join. A right-wing or a progressive one? The two sides don’t mix. A progressive coalition will help us move forward; a right-leaning coalition will take us backwards. It is imperative that political parties choose wisely.

Sabah got it right

Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin should be commended for the way he managed the transition of government from the previous to the new after the recently concluded state elections.

The election results were inconclusive; no party won a majority of seats. In the absence of a majority by any party, he did the right thing in calling on the party which won the most number of seats to form a coalition. Parti Warisan Sabah, headed by former chief minister Shafie Apdal, won 18 seats against Umno’s 14 and Bersatu’s 11.

Juhar gave Shafie time to form a coalition. When the latter failed to get the numbers because Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) chose not to join the Warisan Plus coalition, Umno and Bersatu were next called to form the government. PBS with its seven seats joined Umno and Bersatu to form the majority government under the banner of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).

This is the democratic convention of forming a government when election results are inconclusive. It must be noted here that GRS isn’t a registered coalition and should not have claimed victory when the results were announced. In fact, when Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin first announced the name on the eve of nominations, the Election Commission (EC) should have declared that the parties could not campaign under the GRS label because it wasn’t registered. The parties, anyway, decided to go it independently under their respective party symbol. When they didn’t get a majority they decided to join forces under the GRS banner which is typical of the BN-PN (Prihatin Nasional) government to seize whatever loophole they can get to get power. That would have been preempted if the Election Commission had knowledge of the law and enforced it.

It would also be advisable for the EC to present the official results to the Yang di-Pertua Negeri so that he knows which party to call to form a government when results are inconclusive.

It’s imperative that such conventions are followed to avoid chaos so that no party can claim victory. If such conventions were followed, we would not have an unelected government as we do now. When the Sheraton Moves took place and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned, it created a very fluid political situation that should have been managed with the same caution that the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri showed. If other candidates were claiming a majority it should have been tested as Juhar did and we would not be stuck with an unelected government with questionable legitimacy. Instead it appeared as if there was a hurry to swear in Muhyiddin as prime minister.

In a changing political landscape, it is necessary to look to the constitution to ensure that the rule of law is followed. Constitutional experts must be consulted so that politicians are seen following the law. The public needs to see that politicians are observing the rule of law in order to accept them as the rightful leaders even when their side loses.

So, even if Warisan lost the Sabah elections we can accept it because the rule of law was followed. The same can’t be said of the PN government because of the way it was installed when it didn’t have a majority.

As such it opens itself up to be toppled by a party or coalition which can summon a majority. That may be necessary to install a government with a majority. So, we are now faced with political uncertainty because the rule of law was not observed.

In Sabah, Shafie has said Warisan would not “entice” GRS assemblymen to defect to topple the new government. That is the right thing to do because essentially the rule of law was followed and the votes of the people are respected, hence there’s political stability.

That’s something we can learn in Peninsular Malaysia. Until a legitimate government is set in place, there will be political uncertainty and instability.

Godspeed to the polls, Sabahans!

Sabah goes to the polls tomorrow amidst a great deal of furore in Peninsular Malaysia over Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he has the numbers to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.

The dust has yet to settle over Anwar’s numbers claim but Sabahans should ignore it and follow former Chief Justice Richard Malanjum’s call to vote for Warisan Plus.  Vote for Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Upko, PKR, DAP and Amanah and give them a two-thirds majority. With a new strong and stable government in place, Sabah can pass laws to stop party-hopping and ensure political stability in the state, which is necessary before development follows.

So, Sabahans vote for your stable future and reject every party associated with the current Prihatin Nasional (PN) government. You’ll be showing the constitutional way of electing your leaders — not by backdoor deals — and proving that bumiputras — whether Muslim, Christian, animists etc, etc — and the other races can be united under one banner for the good of the state.

You’ll rout the frog-hopping parties who have no qualms allying with crooks, bigots and desperate jobless politicians for power at the expense of the rakyat.

You’ll be saying to political parties which woo the religious party PAS under its current hardline leader Hadi Awang, that that is a mistake and there would be consequences.

You’ll be giving notice to the backdoor PN government that its days are numbered and demand the restoration of the federal constitution as the supreme law of the land with the expectation that everyone complies with it. When they don’t, there would be consequences.

So, Sabahans, in this elections, proudly vote for what you know is good for you. Vote for Warisan Plus and reduce all the other parties to a miserable whimpering croak who will never be able to raise their voices again unless to advocate the interests of the people.

So, Sabahans, wear your masks, maintain physical distancing, clean your hands and Godspeed to the polls!  You’ll be doing the rest of us Malaysians a huge favour by throwing out dirty old political frogs and ushering in a new, cleaner brand of politics!

 

Sabahans, vote for your constitutional rights

I seriously hope that Sabahans can see through the stilted statements that the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government and its coalition partners have been making of late. PAS claims it was the kingmaker in installing the PN government. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says Sabahans need strong state-federal ties. Don’t believe them!

PAS president Hadi Awang claimed that his party was the kingmaker in installing the  PN government and that it was done according to Islamic principles. Speaking at the PAS Youth general assembly in Kota Bharu last weekend, he said that PN was not a backdoor government although “we may have differing views”. That precisely is the issue

PAS helped to install an unelected prime minister and government, and a minority government at that, and he claims all these were done according to the constitution. But were they? In addition, PAS supports a government which dismissed the rightfully elected Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and appointed a new one without an election. PAS supports a government which accommodates parties with crooks, bigots and desperate jobless politicians all in the name of Islamic principles.

For PAS, the above are consistent with the constitution. If they are, what guarantee do Malaysians have that their constitutional rights will not be misconstrued and tilted in favour of PAS’s notions as has happened?

That is the risk Malaysians should not take and why Sabahans must not vote for any candidate associated with PN or its allies or friends at the national or state level. The PN government can not be trusted to honour and uphold the constitution. If PAS can offer a justification for PN to stay in power even if it contravenes the standard understanding of the constitution as according to constitutional experts, PN will go along with it. PAS, meanwhile, continues to influence the government.

But, what will become of our constitutional rights? They will be sacrificed. That is the reason why Sabahans must not vote for PN parties, partners, allies and friends.

Muhyiddin has said a strong state-federal relationship is needed for Sabah. That may be true if PN remains in government. The Sabah and Sarawak elections can determine if PN will remain in power and that is why this Sabah elections are so important.

If Sabah votes overwhelmingly for Warisan Plus comprising Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP, United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) and Amanah, they will be sending the strongest message they can to PN that they will vote similarly in a parliamentary election.

Most of Sabah MPs are with Warisan Plus except for a few Umno and Bersatu MPs and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Maximus Onglikli. If only two MPs switch camps, it is enough to bring about the fall of PN’s one-MP majority! That is what PN is afraid of and why it is making all sorts of encouraging statements about Sabah.

Don’t be fooled by the PN. In this state elections, DON’T vote for any party associated with PN. Their strategy is to go it independently and see who they can join forces with to form a coalition with a majority later. To preempt it, Sabahans should vote overwhelmingly for Warisan, PKR, DAP, Upko and Amanah.

Although PBS is a Sabahan party distancing itself from PN parties, don’t vote for it, unless PBS openly declares it is leaving the PN at the federal and state levels and becomes an independent or joins Warisan Plus.

The PN parties are Sabah Bersatu, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP). Parti Cinta Sabah is a party to watch. It is not allied with PN but its party president Anifah Aman is the brother of former chief minister and Umno politician Musa Aman and members of their large family are contesting various seats. They could easily forge a majority alliance should they win a number of seats.

A vote for Warisan Plus parties is a vote for the restoration of constitutional democracy in Malaysia which is the system of government we practise.

If Sabahans vote for the parties which best practise adherence to the constitution, they will be voting to protect their constitutional rights. It’s an indication they will do the same in the parliamentary elections, and, surely their fervour will spread to Sarawak, and GPS would have to make a choice whether to leave the PN or not. In other words, Sabah and Sarawak voters will determine if PN will stay in government or fall.

NEXT WEEK: Vote on behalf of all Malaysians

 

 

Here’s another case of bad politics

Johor Umno treasurer Md Jais Sarday’s recent remarks as to why Prihatin Nasional (PN) councillors should not leave the coalition reveals very clearly the real reason why the PN government will go to great lengths to ensure it stays in power — they need the government jobs and the pension that follows it!

In a report carried by The Star, Md Jais reminded assemblymen that “they were only entitled to their pension if they completed 36 months in office”! So, the reason to hold office is NOT to serve the people but to get paid!

After 61 years of rule, Umno politicians still are unable to make an honest living on their own and need a government job to survive? Maybe, not just to survive but to live more than just comfortably? Is that the purpose of becoming a politician?

Their mostly rural supporters are scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet and, out of gratitude for the paltry sums of cash put in their hands by their politicians, loyally give to these leaders their votes. But their leaders go around in their Mercedes Benzes and comfortable pay packets at the end of every month and have a pension to look forward to. What kind of future do their supporters face?

Md Jais comments come in the context of the disciplinary action being taken by Bersatu against its former Johor MB Osman Sapian for campaigning for former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s candidate in the Slim by-election. If Osman is booted out of Bersatu, Johor will have a hung state government. PN holds 29 seats while Pakatan Harapan has 27.

So, to avoid a hung government the bait to stop councillors from switching sides is a pension? We are fully aware of PN’s pecuniary interest in wanting to stay in government but can’t it, at least, be discreet about it?

I suppose, for the desperate, seizing an opportunity that comes by your way and clinging to it by any means is justified. Shamelessly true!

I am looking forward to the day when politicians of integrity will take over the reins of government. Hopefully, very soon.

The need to block PAS from gaining power

It should surprise no one that PAS’ Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh, during a debate at the Dewan Rakyat, said that the Bible was dipesong (altered/distorted).

Zawawi’s statement simply reveals his deep-seated prejudice based on ignorance of the Bible. In a subsequent statement, he defended his position and quoted several Old Testament Scripture passages to show that the Bible teaches that Christians shouldn’t consume alcohol, but he didn’t show how the Bible was altered.

There are two points to note about all the Bible references to getting drunk. Firstly, yes, it is true that the Bible teaches that Christians shouldn’t get drunk but nowhere does it state that Christians can’t drink alcohol. In the cultural times when the Scriptures were recorded, the people drank wine with their food. There’s no mention of alcohol in the Bible just wine, which was a common drink at that time and which even Jesus Christ drank. The injunction is NOT, don’t drink wine, but don’t get drunk.

There is a distinction between the two. That’s the second point. Evidently, Zawawi and people like him are unable to make the distinction and prefer to ignorantly assume a baseless belief as true. That’s not only religious bigotry but belief in an untruth. It’s a mentality similar to that of extreme far-right Christians who hold certain groundless beliefs about the Koran, Islam and Muslims which I am not going to mention here because I don’t subscribe to those views and I don’t believe in discrediting someone else’s truth so that my truth looks better.

Despite offending Christians and all well-meaning people who believe in truths, Zawawi refuses to apologize and wants those criticising him to talk with him. Well, if he doesn’t see the wrong he has done, what’s the point of an apology? He wouldn’t mean it. And, what’s the point of discussing with someone who can’t tell the difference between drinking alcohol and getting drunk? With his limited understanding, it would be like talking to a wall. Many points will just fall off him like water off a duck’s back!

So, Zawawi, no need to apologize. We forgive you for being unable to respect what others hold as truths. We will be the bigger, better people and forgive you!

Having said that, however, what is surprising is that Zawawi exposed his bias. Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue. It is PAS’ strategy to hide its true prejudiced sentiments towards other faiths in order to get the support of non-Muslims for the coalition of which it is a member.

In the Zakir Naik issue, it was rather quiet. There probably was an understanding that PAS doesn’t attack Hinduism in exchange for MIC’s support. But, when it came to a Christian point of view, its bigotry slipped out.

In other words, despite what it feels about other faiths, for political purposes it will hold back — for now. But, when it is in a stronger position in a ruling coalition, it may not, and the constitutional rights of non-Muslims will be at stake.

PAS, under its hardline Islamic leader Hadi Awang, is open about its end-game: To establish an Islamic state. Its actions are towards that end. The only way to prevent it from achieving that objective is to deprive it of political power.

That is the single, most important reason why the non-Muslim and Christian-based Sabah and Sarawak parties must pull out of any coalition in which PAS is a member. MIC, MCA, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and PBS must pull out of the Prihatin Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Muafakat Nasional in a show of solidarity against religious bigotry.

PN, BN and Muafakat are fully aware they need the non-Muslim vote to get a majority. In the coming Sabah elections, these coalitions are loosely represented by Umno, the main BN partner. PN partner GPS leads the government in the upcoming Sarawak elections. All true Malaysians, whether Muslim or Christian, must ensure these coalitions do not get a majority. Christians especially must send a clear message that they will not support any coalition which tolerates a party such as PAS which harbours religious bigotry. Use your vote to block PAS from gaining political power.

That’s the only way to protect our constitutional rights.

 

 

 

A missed chance at reforms

It is a pity that the Prihatin Nasional (PN) leadership has withdrawn the proposed constitutional amendment to limit the tenure of the prime minister to two terms. It would have been a step in the right direction to ensure that useless PMs don’t stay beyond two terms and the better ones are succeeded by others who can build on their predecessor’s good work.

Such a limitation is necessary because currently, under the constitution, there is no oversight of a PM. The PM’s position is extremely powerful. In the hands of someone who does not respect the Dewan Rakyat which is entrusted with the mandate of the people, it is open to abuse.

The fact that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Takiyuddin Hassan, cooly said in response to a question by Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin that there was no need to state a reason for the withdrawal reveals the level of understanding of PN leaders of the democratic process. The Dewan Rakyat is the place for national debate and a proper answer must always be given so that the people know why. A minister who dismisses a question without giving an explanation shouldn’t be in the Dewan Rakyat. He can’t answer and is not bothered that he can’t!

A two-term limit will ensure that ministers who don’t live up to expectations will have a definite shelf life — not more than two terms!

We can no longer expect a prime minister of the calibre of the first four prime ministers. They were not perfect and they made mistakes but they always put nation first. Instead, we have to come to terms with the fact that self-serving leaders — some mediocre, some even unknowledgeable and incompetent — can become prime ministers and ministers.

To guard the people from such leaders, laws need to be made — if the constitution does not already have them — to proscribe what the prime minister can and can’t do. Amendments need to be introduced so that prime ministers are held accountable, especially to Parliament.

Now that there are a number of political parties realigning themselves into different coalitions, a new coalition may win a general election and the designated prime minister should not be expected to wait to be sworn in. An amendment must be made so that the prime minister is sworn in within a stipulated time period.

If there is a mid-term change of leadership — as it happened when the PN leadership took over the government — there should be laws to ensure that the new prime minister faces a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat and survives it with a majority before he takes up office.

Right now, the constitution does not clearly state that a no-confidence vote should be held. The prime minister, as the leader of the house, instructs the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat to convene the Dewan Rakyat. If the prime minister is not confident of a majority, he can stall in convening the Dewan Rakyat and a no-confidence vote will be avoided. These were some of the problems that were exposed as the PN leadership took control of the government by the backdoor.

These “loopholes” in the constitution could be resolved if amendments were made so that the Speaker convenes the Dewan Rakyat and introduces the no-confidence vote independent of the prime minister. Constitutional experts have to be called in to study these issues and word the amendments so that a repeat of what has happened will not happen in the future. If it does, recourse to remedy the situation should be available.

Amendments should also be made so that select committees are set up by parliamentarians and the chairpersons elected by the respective committee and not appointed and approved by the prime minister. This would ensure the independence of the committees in choosing members and electing the chairperson.

Another urgently-needed amendment is in ensuring that all elected Members of Parliament are given the same allocation of funds, irrespective of whether they are in the Opposition or not.

The PN leadership, however, can’t be expected to introduce such reforms because then they have to give up power which we can expect they won’t do.

The PH coalition is best suited to introduce such reforms. However, these amendments require a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat to be passed, which the PH did not have when it was in government.

There was a very small window of opportunity which the PH could have seized to rally support to retake the government and then to introduce these very urgently needed reforms. PH was thinking of a counter-coup with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad coming back as prime minister for the third time and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR, a PH coalition member) president Anwar Ibrahim as the deputy. Non-PH parties such as Gabungan Parti Sarawak apparently were willing to give Tun the support to form a majority. But Anwar was adamant that he didn’t want to be Tun’s deputy and the plan was scuttled.

If it had succeeded, with majority support and more lobbying to get a two-thirds support, some of the above-mentioned reforms could have been introduced and passed.

It was a tragically missed opportunity. Now, we have to wait for new leaders of courage, integrity and determination to emerge to introduce the reforms. We may have to wait for a very long time. I hope I’m proven wrong!

PN, where are all your good men and women?

It was expected that Prihatin Nasional’s (PN) 111 MPs, without exception, had voted against the Opposition’s 106 to pass the Supplementary Supply (2019) Bill 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat earlier this week.

If they hadn’t voted for the passing of the bill, it might have led to the resignation of the PN government as it would have shown a lack of support for the government. PN MPs, of course, wouldn’t want that; it would mean loss of jobs, position and money.

So, did they vote for themselves or the people? And, did they vote with a clear conscience? Are these MPs aware that they have entrusted the national coffers into the hands of an unelected government? That they voted for themselves to use the money paid by taxpayers who didn’t vote for them?

With the economy at rock bottom, and revenue from oil, palm oil and other commodities — which are our main revenue earners — down as a result of the worldwide recession caused by the covid-19 pandemic, the main source of revenue would be from taxpayers. But, whose taxes? Taxes from the demographic the PN government claims to represent? PN’s support base comes mainly from the rural areas. Do they earn enough for their taxable income to make a significant contribution to tax revenue?

So, whose taxes have the 111 MPs entrusted in the hands of an unelected government? Taxes from taxpayers who didn’t vote for them. Isn’t there something immoral and shameless about this?

If the government won in a fair election and even if the taxpayers didn’t vote for them, it would be acceptable because it was a fair fight. In this case, there was no election; the government was seized from the people who gave the mandate to rule to the PH and the mandate was dismissed but those who did this voted for themselves to use the money from that mandate.

If the national revenue came from the 111 MPs’ own pockets or from the people who put them there, there would be no issue. But if it comes from the people, they are the only ones who can give a government the authority to use their money. That authority was not given to the PN government because it was not elected. The bill should not have been passed because it gives authority to a government to use the money of taxpayers who didn’t elect them.

If MPs were not enticed to support the government with all sorts of incentives and MPs voted freely and passed the bill, that can be regarded as support for the government. In this case, we don’t know how many MPs were not free to vote as they might have wanted to.

Not free? Are there no good men and women among the 111 MPs who will make themselves free, buck the trend and fight for the country and the constitution by voting correctly? None at all? Five, at least? Four? Three? Two? Not even one?

How then can we trust the PN government to do right by the people? Those who do not understand the intricacies of politics and government can be fooled to trust the PN government. But those who know will not trust this government.

The PN government is hoping that the country will go past how it was formed and let it carry on. Well, that is similar to money laundering. No matter how well the money is laundered, it is still dirty money. It’s the same with politics. No matter what the government does, it is still dirty politics. And it should be stopped.

Perhaps there are a few among the 111 MPs who realise this isn’t the way to govern but are powerless to change the status quo. Or, they may be biding their time. Friends, the country needs you, don’t take your time. If you leave a party or coalition because you don’t want to be associated with wrongdoing, that is commendable. That’s not the same as party hopping for personal gain. It demonstrates that you are willing to fight for what is good for the nation and suffer the consequences. That’s the kind of leaders we need now.

With a number of Malay parties available now to join, PN MPs need to consider their future. To stay put or break out. Who knows the latter may launch them into a successful and long political career in the future because people will recognise their commitment to integrity.

It’s such leaders this country needs now — those who are willing to fight to protect the mandate of the people. Don’t let us down.

A lesson from an American documentary

If you can, catch the 2019 award-winning true-crime TV miniseries, When They See Us, available on Netflix. Based on events that happened on April 19, 1989 at Central Park, New York City, it documents the prosecution, conviction and jail terms of five black youths who were falsely charged with assaulting and raping a white woman jogger at the park.

The five who came to be known as the Central Park Five were later exonerated of the attacks based on the confession in 2002 by Matias Reyes who admitted to the rape of the woman and took full responsibility for it. As a result of the false charges, the five youths spent between seven to 13 years in jail. The five took a case against the NYC for wrongful imprisonment and both sides agreed to a US$40 million settlement to the five in 2014.

The case – and the TV series — drew widespread attention as it depicted how the New York Police Department and prosecutors locked into the narrative of a black assailant on an unarmed white woman which reflected the racial tensions between the two communities at that time. The five were between the ages of 14 and 16 when they were arrested and interrogated.

The documentary excludes other important information such as the fact that 10 youths were arrested and prosecuted for various charges related to the events on the night of the rape and all served time but the Central Park Five’s convictions were later vacated when Reyes confessed.

What makes this a documentary worth watching is how falsehood is created and trumped up as a basis for conviction. Luckily for the Central Park Five, the real rape assailant confessed and they were set free although they served time for crimes they didn’t commit.

It is an unfortunate experience that police departments and courts all over the world can learn from. The Malaysian police, prosecutors, lawyers and the courts — and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as well — need to be vigilant so that innocent citizens are not subject to social, religious and political profiling or vendetta and go to jail for crimes they did not commit.

Wrongful prosecution, wrongful convictions and wrongful imprisonment should never happen as it involves innocent people who may be damaged for life because of it.

That’s a mistake that should never happen.