Abdullah should end discrimination against Opposition MPs by extending to them the annual RM500,000 constituency allocation
by Karpal Singh
(Kuala Lumpur, Friday): I welcome the move by the Government to grant Members of Parliament an extra allocation of RM20,000 each for deserving welfare cases in their constituencies. It is indeed gratifying that thus grant will be allocated to all MPs both in Government and the Opposition. Poverty transcends political barriers and there should be no discrimination against Opposition MPs. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should take this move one step further by granting Opposition MPs the RM500,000 annual allocation extended to Barisan Nasional MPs for small projects in their constituencies. This traditional grant has all along been denied to Opposition MPs.
It is indeed impossible to justify such discrimination. It will certainly enhance the Prime Ministerís image further if he takes the initiative also to extend this allocation to Opposition MPs. It will certainly be a splendid Hari Raya gift to citizens who exercised their constitutional right to vote in Opposition candidates in the recent elections. The Prime Minister should free himself from the mold he has inherited from his predecessor.
In the democratic process, the Opposition plays a significant and crucial role. In the public interest, constructive criticism should be encouraged by the Government both in and outside Parliament and the Opposition should not be discriminated against when the welfare of citizens is at stake.
* Karpal Singh, DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor