This is a new web site by Tengku Razaleigh who has taken on a new role as the conscience of Malaysian’s democracy. His message against cross over is obviously directed at UMNO -but also equally apply to PR chief, Anwar Ibrahim.
Tengku Razaleigh’s official weblog
Some BN leaders are already celebrating our ‘seizing of power’ in the Perak state government via defections. One major newspaper, taking the matter as settled, is already devoting frontpage coverage to speculation about who will be the new Chief Minister
This has happened because three state assemblymen from the Perak government have left their respective parties to become independents allied to BN, and the Bota state assemblyman has returned to BN.
A few words of caution are in order in in this extremely fluid situation.
For constitutional, ethical and political reasons, I think celebrations are premature:
The Constitution and the role of the Ruler in such crises must be respected.
The defections may or may not topple the government of Perak, but some of us are behaving as if they have instantaneously transferred the government to BN. Defections are not the basise for the formation of a government. Elections are. Governments are formed after citizens have expressed their choice through free and fair elections. Our Constitution specifies a formal process for the formation of a government. The Ruler is sworn to uphold and protect this constitutional process. The Ruler’s powers and those of the legislative assembly act as checks and balances on each other to prevent the abuse of power.
The Chief Minister has sought the Ruler’s consent for the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly. The decision now rests with the Ruler.
Ethical and political issues
The ethical and political issues coincide because ethical failures are at the core of our political problem. Umno is in critical condition. Our biggest challenge, both as a party and as the governing party, is to tackle corruption at every level. We are under close public scrutiny in addressing this problem. Unless we implement radical reforms and are seen to be doing so, we are finished politically come next election.
Instead we are now seen to be “winning back” Perak with the crossover of exactly the kind of low calibre individuals, as one commentator has put it, that we should shun.
Two of the assemblymen whose allegiance we have suddenly gained are under investigation for corruption. I was clearly wrong about the integrity of the assemblyman from Bota. His justification for his record-breaking ten day double-hop is an insult to the public’s intelligence and nauseating in its insincerity. It is precisely this kind of open abuse of the public’s trust for the sake of personal gain that causes people to hate Umno.
The circumstances of these defections, complete with mysterious disappearances, sudden reversals, and weak explanations, show ample signs of illegal inducement. No matter what the truth of the matter, let us not fool ourselves. People will not believe that these crossovers were honest. This mistrust will taint any government formed on the back of these crossovers.
Elections are the sole source of the government’s authority in a democratic society.
In the end we shall have to face elections.
If the Ruler decides not to accede to the MB’s request for the dissolution of Parliament, and BN is invited to form a state government on the basis of these dubious crossovers, I think it would anger a large section of the Malaysian public.
Our taking control without resort to elections would cement the enmity of the very people we should be trying to win back at the next elections. Come next General Election, they are going to reject both our state and parliamentary candidates with greater vehemence, and not just in Perak.
Contests in a democracy are not a fight for survival in which anything goes. They are competitions to serve.
BN should reform to improve its ability to serve with distinction. This is a longerm project that requires focus immediate focus. We do not need the distraction of transient, shakey victories when what we need to to do is upgrade ourselves to win elections again, fair and square.
But it is the only sustainable way to win the public back to our side.
click on TengkuRazaleigh