Progressive or not?

When ministers, in defending their actions, make statements that reveal what they do not know, we should call them out.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliament and law Takiyuddin Hassan stirred a controversy when a picture of him, his party (PAS) president Hadi Awang and other PAS leaders with former prime minister Najib Razak taken on the night of the latter’s sentencing last week went viral.

He said there was nothing “abnormal” about the visit because former PAS president Fadzil Noor had paid a similar visit to Anwar Ibrahim when he was first sentenced to jail. Perhaps not “abnormal” but definitely inappropriate because Fadzil Noor wasn’t a Cabinet minister at that time of the visit but Takiyuddin is.

What does a picture of a minister of an incumbent government with a person facing corruption charges in court say? Does it say he supports the judicial process or that he is dismissive of it? Sure, his visit may suggest the solidarity of friends but Takiyuddin needs to understand that he is a minister of the government of Malaysia and not a kampung committee member and accountable to a higher standard of public behaviour that affirms his support and respect of the constitution. Does that picture reveal that?

Then, there was Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal who said in a recent interview that his party Bersatu was the “most progressive thus far among all the Malay parties” because “we are more nimble, we are more flexible, and we are more open”.

These are his criteria for “progressiveness” and we are expected to take his word for it. But what about leading a coalition without the mandate of the people? How progressive is that? What we see is a party who sneakily ignored the fact that its chairman had more numbers to form a majority but its president went ahead with the swearing-in of a minority government. Since then it has been making all sorts of offers to get a majority and still can only manage a wafer-thin majority yet to be proven because it will not face a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat. Progressive?

Wouldn’t it have been more “progressive” to admit the party president didn’t have the numbers and backed off and called for a party meeting to discuss the next steps instead of clinging to royal help and taking over and squatting in a government without the mandate of the people? Progressive?

Then, it unceremoniously threw out its chairman, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamd, and its youth leader, Syed Saddiq bin Syed Abdul Rahman, and a few of their supporters. There were no mechanisms in the party to deal with dissent, conflict and a change of leadership? That’s what a progressive party would do?

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said in the Dewan Rakyat when queried about the government’s RM3.9 billion settlement with US investment bank Goldman Sachs that it was an out-of-court settlement that bettered the previous Pakatan Harapan government’s offer. Former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas had said in his statement that court cases were initiated against Goldman and 17 of its directors as leverage to maximize the payment by the bank.

The PH government was in the middle of a deal and nothing was definitely concluded so how could Zafrul say it was a better deal? Did Zafrul comprehend Thomas’ strategy? Thomas has since denied reaching any deal with Goldman.

Did Zafrul also fight hard for the nation to get the maximum out of Goldman or did the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government play nice, serving them tea/coffee and snacks with a picture taken to show how nice they are while Goldman got off with a sum that, perhaps, might have been higher if the finance minister knew how to play hardball — a necessary prerequisite when dealing with very experienced and sophisticated investment bankers like Goldman who will fight for the best deal at minimum cost?

Are all these examples of a government led by a progressive party or are they retrogressive steps? There are more examples but I’ll stop here to ask the following question: Are we moving forward as a modern nation committed to the rule of law and abiding by the constitution and operating at a level of ability required in governing a nation rather than, perhaps, a kampung as would be required of a progressive nation? The rules are different but the PN government is yet to prove it has broken out of parochialism and mastered the rules and culture of governing a modern nation like ours which is multi-racial, multi-cultural and blessed with varied skills and abundant resources.

If the Bersatu-led government truly wants to be progressive, start with facing a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat. Win the mandate of the people, then you have the right to rule. Until then, the PN government is merely squatting. Whether progressive or not, the people are capable of deciding for themselves.

 

 

The ball’s in Muhyiddin’s court

Just in case politicians in positions of power and privilege feel they have the right to act on expediency and get away with it, the High Court has given clear directions as to what is not  permissible behaviour, in its judgement in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case involving former prime minister Najib Razak.

In finding Najib guilty of all seven charges against him in the SRC case, High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali described Najib’s lack of action to recover funds from SRC International as “very puzzling” and he proceeded to list what Najib did and didn’t do that was questionable behaviour.

Leaders in top positions need to examine the judge’s judgement in-depth and learn what they should and should not do. The High Court has sent a clear message in defining — in this case — what constitutes abuse of power. Politicians need to realise that if they behave outside of the rule of law, they can be taken to court. That should act as a strong deterrent to abuse of power and position.

Yet, Umno politicians don’t seem to want to learn to operate within the rule of law. Even before the dust had settled on the SRC case, former chief minister, Musa Aman, launched an attempted coup to take over the Sabah government, saying that he has a majority of state assemblymen on his side. Incumbent Chief Minister Shafie Apdal preempted him by dissolving the state assembly and called for snap state elections.

Some of the assemblymen who joined Musa were sacked by their respective parties in Shafie’s Warisan-led coalition after the coup attempt.

If the coup had succeeded, it would have been another example of a backdoor government without the mandate of the people just as the current Prihatin Nasional (PN) government is.

It appears as if Umno, after the Najib conviction, is frantically trying to form the government, again through the backdoor. With the most number of MPs in the PN government (Barisan Nasional(BN) has 43 MPs (Umno — 39) and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Bersatu party has 31), Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has announced that it will not be a part of the PN coalition but will continue with its collaboration with Islamic party PAS in their Muafakat Nasional alliance.

Muafakat Nasional has extended an invitation to Bersatu to join the former. If Muhyiddin joins Muafakat, Umno will become the leading party; if it leaves it, PN will fall and snap elections will have to be called.

It serves Umno to work with PAS because the latter will give its support in order to influence decisions to be more “Islamic”. Whether such “influence” would be constitutional or not will be questionable but it puts Umno in the driving seat to protect its interests as it sees fit.  It would be as “legitimate” as the PN government is.

Whether these manoeuvres taking place now are constitutional or not isn’t the issue anymore; political expediency has taken over. Why bother about the constitution when a political party can assume power by coercing elected MPs to join it with the promise of money and position?

This is the political chaos Malay politics has descended into and it seems as if non-Malay parties have to play ball in order not to be left out — for the time being until we get back to adhering to the constitution. Amanah and the DAP, parties in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, have said they would support Muhyiddin if he refuses to join Muafakat.

The ball is in Muhyiddin’s court. What is apparent is that a Malay-majority only coalition cannot get the majority in the Dewan Rakyat without former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s support.

Umno, PAS and Bersatu in the PN represent about 70% of Malay votes. It’s a majority but it excludes the about 20-30% of Malay support for Tun and Parti Keadilan Rakyat( PKR).  This Malay support comes primarily from the urban and semi-urban areas where the progressive Malays are found who have no issue working with non-Malays and hence they get non-Malay support. The Malay intelligence is mostly in this group; they are the educated and skilled Malays who are in the position to lead but are now in the opposition.

If Malay-based parties continue to act in their backdoor ways, more and more Malays, especially the younger and educated ones are going to join the opposition which respects the constitution. Right now with the offer of money and position, Malay parties may be able to hold on to power. But in future elections, they will see their support dwindling as disgruntled younger voters swing to the opposition.

This segment of Malay voters may be a minority now but it will be a growing minority as evidenced by much of the positive comments on Najib’s conviction. They are like Judge Nazlan who can distinguish between abuse and rule of law and they prefer an elected government which conforms to the constitution.

Umno and PAS are thinking of the moment, the former about protecting its interests and the latter to make the government more “Islamic”. If Muhyiddin is sincerely thinking of the good of the nation, it would serve him well NOT to antagonize the smaller but growing Malay voter segment who may be the future leaders of this nation and who want a commitment to the rule of law.

It may be well for him to return to the PH, restore the mandate of the GE14 and prove to this nation and the world that he stands for the rule of law and will conform to it. There will have to be give and take. My own feeling is that unless the original GE14 mandate of the people is fully restored, political stability will remain elusive and we will not be able to move forward.

 

111 voted for power over the constitution

I can’t believe that 111 MPs voted in favour of the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government’s motion to remove Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Yusoff from his position as Dewan Rakyat Speaker. The reason given was that the government had found a person to replace him.

Is that justification for an unelected government to terminate the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat for no wrong he did except to do his job?

The PN government thought it had the numbers with Gabongan Parti Sarawak’s (the Sarawak coalition) support. But a two-point win against the opposition’s 109 votes apparently jolted its confidence sufficiently to prevent it from having an election for the Speaker’s post. Datuk Azhar Harun — the PN choice — assumed the position without being elected, an act that contravened the constitution which requires a Speaker to be elected, not appointed.

(I couldn’t believe that Azhar actually resigned from his post as Election Commission chairman and waited in the wings until his bosses bumped off Ariff and he swooped into the Speaker’s chair. Azhar is a lawyer but he apparently ignored the fact that his position — like his bosses’ government — is unconstitutional.) Is this the kind of Speaker or government we want?

That seems to be the attitude of the MPs who support the PN government. They seem to be true opportunists who are taking advantage of the current political instability to get whatever they can out of it and they couldn’t care less if it was constitutional or not.

MPs should be the first people to cry “foul!” and raise a storm of protest when the government operates unconstitutionally. Rightly, the opposition MPs raised a hue and cry when debating the motion. But 111 MPs didn’t join in the protest.

This can only mean that these MPs would disregard the constitution in order to get what they want, which, in this case, is to stay in power. If Umno, PAS and Bersatu MPs support their coalition’s unconstitutional conduct, I can understand it. They have dropped the bar so low to accommodate their level of ability and skills that we really don’t expect anything better from them.

But why are MIC, MCA, GPS and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) supporting a coalition that is clearly not committed to adhering to the constitution? Do they not know that it is the constitution — not the leading Malay party/coalition — which ensures that the rights of minority groups like the non-Malays are upheld? Do they not know that the prime minister of a country must set the example in adhering to the constitution? If he/she doesn’t why should the rest of the country follow the constitution? Do they not know that a government that does not adhere to the constitution sows the seeds of anarchy? Do their members support what their leaders are doing?

Yet, they support an unelected, illegitimate government and justify its unconstitutional actions.

MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong justified PN’s motion against the Speaker by saying that Ariff was removed because he was picked by the Pakatan Harapan administration and that the government “wanted someone better” so that “all matters between Parliament and the government, as the executive body, go smoothly”!

Seriously, Mr Wee? None of these issues would have arisen if the PN government was elected or if it bravely sought legitimacy by facing a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat. Instead, realising it is a minority and illegitimate government it is doing everything it can to get a majority even by disregarding the constitution. This is unacceptable. If a government does not have a majority, it must resign. If it stubbornly refuses to resign, it should be booted out and the MPs should do it.

It is the job of the MPs — and the Speaker (but whether Azhar will do his job or play politics to ensure his bosses remain in power is yet to be seen) — to fight for the rule of law and ensure compliance. A precedent must never be set that an unelected government that is yet to legitimise its rule can continue to rule with impunity.

The government claims it follows the constitution, so says its law minister, Takiyuddin Hassan. But talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words. Despite such blatant disregard for the constitution, 111 MPs did not see Muhyiddin’s motion as unconstitutional and worthy of their dissent.

How dismally they have failed the people! MPs need to show that they will adhere to the constitution no matter what the consequence. The fact that nearly half of the Dewan Rakyat didn’t show respect for the constitution simply tells us that these MPs don’t put rule of law first. We should not elect them again.

 

I said goodbye to my shade-spreading tree

I planted a tree in the middle of my front garden seven years ago and it has grown into a beautiful mature tree spreading its branches across my garden. Not only does it shade my house from the blazing heat during the hot season from May to August but it gives me a beautiful view.

From my sofa in the living room, I have a great leafy view of the tree through the bay windows. The birds — mynas, bulbuls, kingfishers, magpies, black-naped orioles and olive-backed sunbirds — visit my tree often, flitting from branch to branch and singing away. I get to see them from my sofa.

The squirrels, too, love frolicking in my tree. They love to climb up the tree, and scamper across the branches. I don’t care so much for the squirrels because they keep the birds away. So, I always shoo the squirrels away.

It’s part of my morning ritual, sitting on my sofa and watching nature at play right before my eyes!

When I bought the seedling I was told the tree was the Japanese bushido variety but googling the images I didn’t see any bushido tree that looked like my tree although many of the streets in Subang Jaya are lined by the same type of trees.

My tree grew into a beautiful shady tree. On hot days, I could sit in my living room or take a nap on my sofa without the aircond because the tree kept it relatively cool.

But, I had to consider cutting my tree down because its roots were spreading laterally and came threatening close to the foundations of my house. I, however, dragged my feet about felling the tree.

Even before I thought of cutting down my tree I would off and on look at the birds perched on my tree and wish an eagle would one day alight on it. Last week one did.

It perched on the branch closest to my bay window and looked straight into it. I came up to the window and watched it in awe. Those deep-set eyes, hooked beak, regal carriage, strong legs, freckled breast, brown-white plummage. Wow! It was just four feet away from me. It sensed me and flew away before I could get my camera out!

I don’t know whether it was an eagle or a hawk but it was a treat. Having seen it on my tree, somehow, it felt a little easier to let go of my tree! I got the gardener to come to cut it down but was feeling quite sad about losing my tree.

The evening before the day the gardener came, I went up to my tree, ran my fingers through the leaves on the lowest branches, hugged the trunk and softly whispered: “Sorry, tree but I really need to cut you down!” Somehow, I felt better and ready to let go of it.

The next day the tree was cut down. I let go of it. My garden is dry sand now and I am waiting for my bougainvillaea and jasmine trees to grow. They’ll offer some shade and beauty to my garden.

My tree is gone but I learnt a lesson from it: Sometimes, we need to get rid of a good thing.  My tree was a good thing, a gift of nature but it was too close to my home and a threat to its foundation. The threat was not in the tree but in its close proximity.

Nothing it did was wrong. It needed to send its roots out for its own survival but that was a threat to my house’s existence. Though it gave me so many benefits it could ultimately undermine the foundations of my house, not intentionally but by simply being what it is. A tree whose roots will search for water which could put my house at risk. It had to go.

If I had a house with a bigger garden, I would have planted the tree further away from the house so that neither its branches nor its root system would reach my house. Within the constraints of space in my current garden, that wasn’t an option.

In life, it’s the same. Sometimes, a good thing may have undercurrents that are dangerous or a threat to who we are or our lifestyles. It would be best to get rid of it or keep it at a healthy distance so that both can survive without destroying the other.

Something to think about!

 

 

PH-Plus is the sure way forward

It’s a pity that former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim seem to have parted ways. The counter coup they were trying to muster under the reinvented Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Plus coalition would have been the way forward but it seems to have been stymied by personal rather than national concerns.

Anwar wants to be prime minister (PM) and will not settle for the post of deputy. As PM would he be able to get the numbers from Members of Parliament (MPs) to form a government? If he could, why would PH member parties DAP and Amanah agree to Tun being PM? Apparently the view is that Tun more than Anwar will be able to command a majority from the MPs in the face of a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat.

That is the route that must be taken for Pakatan-Plus to retake the government: Seeking a majority from the MPs. There, seriously, is no other option. Forming alliances with other parties will merely continue the current state of political uncertainties with events unfolding in such a way as to bring Umno back in government.

A PH-Plus government will put an end to the current state of events. Najib and his associates and the current PN leadership will be done for — unless its members join PH-Plus. If the six-month premiership of Tun is agreed upon, after the period, the old guard will be gone for good, opening the way for a new crop of leaders to emerge. And that would be better for Malaysia than continuing on the current trajectory of political instability that strengthens Umno.

What Tun is asking — a six-month premiership — is a short but surest way of stopping the PN government. It would send a very clear and definite message that a government by treachery will not be tolerated and will be removed. The people need to see that our leaders will do everything possible to ensure that a legitimate government is installed according to the constitution and that any violation of the constitution will be brought to a swift end — at all cost.

Anwar needs to consider that his decisions are based on national rather than personal interests. He has said that trust — or the lack of it — was the issue with Tun since he didn’t give a definite date to hand over the premiership to Anwar. It needs to be said that Tun — or anyone else for the matter — can only give his word on what he can control, not what he can’t. Tun couldn’t control Perikatan Nasional (PN) Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s “betrayal” as he called it.

Anwar also said a six-month premiership was unworkable. True, not much can be achieved in six months, but it will allow for all PH policies and plans to be restored and after six months, Anwar can do whatever he likes as PM. More importantly it will restore the GE14 mandate of the people which was stolen from them.

As DAP supremo, Lim Kit Siang, has said, PH-Plus is Anwar’s best bet to become PM. But, even that can’t be guaranteed as political realities can change in six months. Tun can only promise on what he can control: He can step down in six months. Anything else can’t be predicted as it would depend on what happens in the six-month period.

However, the six-month period will provide Anwar with the opportunity to build his grassroots base. After that he can test it in a general election and if the party or coalition he leads wins, he becomes PM legitimately.

Becoming PM without election or approval by the Dewan Rakyat would make him no different from Muhyiddin. If he is committed to reforms, the PH-Plus route will facilitate it. Whether he becomes PM or not, his party, PKR, will emerge stronger for sending a clear message that it will not compromise its commitments to reforms for position.

The one opportunity to stop PN is right in front of us — if Anwar seizes it for the good of the nation. Again, there is no guarantee that Pakatan Harapan-Plus will win. But it is the only chance left. Hopefully, DAP and Amanah will succeed in bringing Tun and Anwar back as a team. It will be a force to reckon with.

 

 

There is a right side to join!

Strange things are happening in the country again! As it did when Najib Razak was prime minister. The most recent one was when the prosecution dropped all 46 corruption and money laundering charges against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman. Mind-boggling!

Yet, there were other “strange” events under the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin refuses to legitimize the government by proving its majority in the Dewan Rakyat. Dewan Rakyat Speaker was too scared to stand up to the PM or whoever to follow standing orders and have a debate at the first session of Parliament under the PN government. Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson, is giving a dismissal not amounting to an acquittal.

We wonder if there were rational and professional explanations for the above actions or were they motivated by an irrational fear of reprisals? The same fear that had gripped the civil service during Najib’s time? If it is there’s a way to break that stranglehold of fear: Just sever ties with those who may be responsible for spawning it!

Apparently, there are some people who aren’t afraid. They are all now in the Opposition! They are fearless but have been manoeuvred out of government. The same fate may befall those in the PN government if they stand in the way of these unsavoury characters who want to advance their own self-serving interests and will use any means to achieve them.

So, a word of caution: Be careful who you ally with. If you are in an alliance where these unsavoury characters are operating freely, get out of it before it’s too late! If the situation should get desperately desperate, there might be another “Sheraton Move” or another strange incident where you may get burnt!

In the current circumstances, there is a right side. Right now the safest alliance to be part of is the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.  Its members are not afraid and they will stand up to corruption and a regime of fear. They did it once and they won the 14the general elections. They can do it again but the balance of votes in the Dewan Rakyat needs to tip dramatically to the PH side.

So, my solution to the current political impasse is for all fearless MPs to get out of the PN and give the PH a comfortable majority. The sphere of influence of strangling fear expands in the alliances it operates in. Break that alliance for fear to be destroyed and MPs and civil servants will be free to do the right thing.

It is up to the fearless MPs for just once to think of the nation and do the right thing. For now, they must join the right side because it is the right side!

A lesson from the ongoing US protests

The American people need to be commended for exercising their democratic rights. They saw a clear case of abuse of authority in the death of black man George Floyd who died when a white cop pinned his knee on his neck and, in protest, spilled out into the streets in the thousands all across the United States demanding justice.

Black, white, brown — people of all colours — stormed the streets. Sure there was looting and some burning. Not that such actions should be condoned but the frustrations of the people who committed them can be understood. These are the poorer, frustrated, discriminated against lot who found in these protests a reason to vent against a system which sees them as invisible at best and useless at worse.

They took to the streets in a united effort seek redress for Floyd and called attention to the racism and discrimination they suffer at the hands of those in authority.

They wanted justice. And, justice they got. The four Minneapolis cops involved in Floyd’s death have all been charged in court. Derek Chauvin, the cop who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting in a manslaughter.

Some people may see these street protests as America burning. But, I see it as a healthy outlet for pent-up frustrations which is a human right and which was largely well managed by the authorities. There were some instances of police brutality but generally, the protesters were allowed to protest. The people exercised their right to demonstrate and got results.

The anger of the people was recognised as the video of Chauvin without blinking an eyelid pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck went viral. The whole world witnessed the murder in the viral video. The leaders had no choice but to do the right thing. They charged Chauvin with murder and charged the three other cops as well.

What is commendable is the speed at which they addressed the issue. The people protested loudly and the leaders were quick to listen and respond. Within days, the errant cops were charged.

Here in Malaysia, a group of usurpers have been running the government for three months without legitimacy. These unelected leaders insist on being the government despite appeals and criticisms. They have no authority to govern but are doing all sorts of questionable deeds stubbornly and shamelessly to hold on to the reins of power. One main reason why they can do so is because the people are mostly tolerating it.

If the people don’t raise a stink over the abuse of power, leaders don’t feel the need to listen. The people must raise a ruckus to get leaders to listen. It is a lesson we can learn from the recent American protests.

My intention is not to idealize the Floyd protests but to point out that in a democracy people have the right to protest and for leaders to heed them if they want to remain in their positions.

In Malaysia, we are aware that it is the bread and butter issues that move the majority of the people and they can be pacified by putting a little cash in their hands. If these people had good leaders who communicate to them the facts of the issues rather than giving cash to maintain their support, more people will see the abuse of powers of their leaders.

It’s time a chorus of dissent is raised at people in authority like Chauvin who in plain sight committed a crime without a blight of conscience. He was charged in court. We should ensure our leaders, too, don’t get off the hook without facing the consequences.

For that to happen, more and more people should start to protest!

 

Job prospects look grim? No worries, start a farm!

Most of us I have been talking with during this Movement Control Order (MCO) seem to have learnt a precious life lesson through this enforced stay-home experience: We don’t need much to live comfortably — and happily!

We managed on the essentials: food, water and electricity, and, the Internet, of course! The Internet is now an essential in the new norm. We didn’t entertain, shop or travel. So, our costs came down. We could live simply on the basics and it was enough!

With family members now all living under one roof, I’m sure there was much bonding time and I am sure some fighting time, too! When we live close with one another, friction is inevitable. It’s a sign that love is hitting the walls we put up in self-defence. Hopefully, it succeeds in breaking down those walls and rebuilding better and closer ties with one another. It can be trying but those who cut through always come out with better relationships.

Trying times, unfortunately, can also produce casualties. You may have heard of how staying cooped up with one another drove spouses, partners, siblings and relatives out of their minds! Life is, indeed, hard.

But, many have found living under the MCO a pleasant experience. When the March holidays began, my niece took her family to her parents’ home in Seremban to spend the holidays there. As soon as they arrived, however, the announcement came about the MCO and the weeklong holidays extended to three months and they are still there and enjoying every minute of it!

Her brother’s family lives nearby and every day they bring their two under four-years-old kids to the grandparents’ home. My niece’s youngest boy is six and the three kids have been having a whale of a time playing and eating home-cooked meals together!

My brother’s house has a huge back garden and in the evenings the whole family is out playing badminton, volley ball or football or running from one end to the other. My nephew says, “We have Olympics here in the evenings!”

Sometimes, the young ones will join the adults gardening, growing vegetables and flowers. They now have a vegetable plot and a flowering garden! Young and old love the time they spend together and doing things together.  The grandparents are old and sit back, letting their grown-up children oversee all the activities and enjoying having their family around.

It’s a very domestic, placid and bucolic life but a happy one. I live here in Subang Jaya but they keep in touch through video calls and so I don’t miss out on all the fun!

So, folks, if the future looks bleak and you know you are going to lose your job and stressed out about how to support your family and/or yourself, maybe consider the option of going back to your kampung or to the country and start a farm.

Rent or buy — if you can afford it — a plot of land. Build a simple home that can accommodate all who are dependent on you and grow rice, corn, tapioca and vegetables. Rear some chicken, goats and a couple of cows. You won’t die but will survive and you can feed your entire family. With whatever extra you have you can sell and who knows a growing business venture will start out of your self-reliance and determination to earn an honest living, honestly.

The government needs to make some allowance to allow people to go back home to start all over again.

The other option is to look for a viable business to generate income. Explore possibilities. Don’t sit on your bottom and wring your hands or stretch them out to the government for handouts. The government may not have enough and may be going broke like all the nations impoverished by the corona virus pandemic. You’ll be disappointed if you depend on them.

Strike out on your own and you’ll learn the skills of self-reliance. The countryside is an attractive alternative! Good luck!

 

 

It’s up to the MPs now, and Selamat Hari Raya!

In the past three months, we witnessed how Malay politics brought down a rightfully elected government and installed a government by appointment without the stamp of legitimacy by the Dewan Rakyat. I don’t have any issue with Malay politics, but, my predominant concern is that leaders, no matter what their politics, must always operate within the ambit of the constitution.

I have stressed this point in my recent posts and that is the only point I want to make concerning the current state of politics. I have made this point so often that I think I may be sounding like a broken record. Should there be more flouting of the constitution in the future by the PN government, my point will be the same: Please uphold and follow the constitution.

So, not to bore my readers any further, I have decided that I will make no further comment on current politics. I think my readers are smart enough to understand the stand I have taken and I don’t think I need to belabour the point.

Besides, after the May 18 Dewan Rakyat meeting, I believe it is now apparent to the MPs that the PN government is on a trajectory that could threaten our parliamentary democratic system of government if it continues not to test its majority at the Dewan Rakyat through a vote of no confidence.

I also believe we can trust our elected officials to fight on our behalf. Anwar Ibrahim is now the Opposition Leader and former prime minister, Tun Mahathir Muhamad, is in his corner. I’m sure many MPs realise the significance of a no-confidence vote now and how important it is to respect the mandate of the people. I’m sure we will see them standing up for the constitution and we will be rooting for them. It’s up to you, now, MPs!

That doesn’ mean I won’t write on politics at all. If some new developments take place and they warrant comment in the public debate, I’ll write on it.

Meanwhile, I’ll move on to other things. Folks, Hari Raya is on Sunday. Enjoy the break and the occasion though muted it might be due to the Movement Control Order. Nevertheless, it is a reason to enjoy!

Selamat Hari Raya!

 

 

PM of just a 100?

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has done it again — abandoned the requirements of the constitution and interpreted the Dewan Rakyat session in a logic only he understands!

According to media reports, he sent a note to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker saying that he is the “ketua majlis” (head of the council) and in that capacity said only the Agong’s address will be heard on the first session of Parliament under his leadership on May 18 because of Covid-19. In other words, there will be no debates and other matters that are followed according to the Standing Orders when a Dewan Rakyat session is convened.

“Head of council”? Where in the Federal Constitution does it say that a PM is a “ketua majlis”? The Dewan Rakyat is not a council and has no head except for the Speaker. But the PM is now ‘ketua majlis”?! Covid-19 is well under control in Malaysia and is an excuse rather than a legitimate reason.

Who’s advising the PM on constitutional matters? The Prihatin Nasional (PN) government by every day is sounding more and more like Umno under Najib Razak and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Is the PM aware that he will be embarrassing the Agong by inviting him to an improper session of his so-called council, which constitutionally isn’t a Dewan Rakyat session, and, therefore, can be challenged in court? He is willing to do this?

I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he is resorting to non-constitutional means to hang on to power, Umno style. It’s apparent that the only reason why he is doing this is to protect his 70-member Cabinet and a few others who put him in power, all of whom don’t add up to even a 100. He is willing to sacrifice or compromise the democratic rights of more than 32 million people to protect about 100 people.

Muhyiddin is prime minister to these 100 but he is not prime minister to the rest. We didn’t elect him and he knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on if he were to follow the constitution. Hence all these politicking and unconstitutional ways of doing things.

Look at the Malacca state assembly. Did they follow the standing orders when the PN assemblymen convened a state assembly without the opposition to elect their own Speaker? Now, in Kedah, the PN assemblymen want to remove Mukhriz Mahathir as Menteri Besar (state chief minister). Well, just call for a vote of no confidence in the state assembly. That’s the constitutional way of conducting state assembly business. There’s no need for statutory declarations and rushing to see the Sultan. Follow the constitution and call for a vote of no confidence. If PN wins it, Mukhriz will be ousted.

So, why don’t they do it? They are afraid they will lose? If you don’t have the confidence of the majority in the assembly, why seek to topple the current government? PN politicians are so greedy for power?

The PN government is an illegitimate government. Therefore, whatever it does will be illegitimate and can be challenged in court until it wins a vote of no confidence. That’s common sense. Anyone can see that. So, if they want to continue with their illegitimate business, it is their choice.

I’m glad that the Opposition MPs are not taking the open, brazen and shameless flouting of the constitution lying down. Mukhriz is insisting that Kedah state assemblymen follow the standing orders. MPs are speaking up about the absurdity of a one-day Dewan Rakyat sitting where there will be no debate. A lawyer has said that the validity of the one-day May 18 Dewan Rakyat sitting without debates can be challenged in court. Two other lawyers have filed a legal action to declare that the May 18 session is unconstitutional.

More people need to speak up against the unconstitutional conduct of the PN government which is tantamount to lawlessness. We should not condone any public official acting without regard to the rule of law.