BA MPs Support Of BNís Choice Of Speaker Gives The Unfortunate
Impression That Co-operation With BN More Is Important Than
Co-operation With DAP
by Ooi Leng Hang
(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday): BA MPs support of BNís candidate Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib as Dewan Rakyat Speaker over DAPís nominee Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw has given the unfortunate impression that co-operating with BN is more important than co-operating with DAP. All BAís 7 MPs, PAS 6 MPs and Parti Keadilan Rakyat sole MP, had surprised opposition supporters by voting en bloc for Tan Sri Ramli over DAPís Dr Tan .
DAP FT did not expect PAS to support BN. Even PAS Parliamentary leader Kamaruddin Jaafarís explanation that PAS supported BN because PAS were unhappy that DAP did not consult PAS over its choice of Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP had expected BA MPs to abstain. DAP had not consulted nor campaigned for Dr Tan because Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang had announced earlier that it was necessary for MPs to vote according to their own conscience and best judgment for the best candidate for Speaker, without having to comply with any party directive or discipline.
Kit Siang had hoped that there would be a handful of BN MPs with the independence of spirit and sense of honour to vote according to their conscience and not vote blindly according to the BN whip. In any event, if BN did not consult the opposition parties over its choice of candidate as Speaker, why then should BA MPs still support BN?
DAPís stand and position was shared by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who added that Dr Tan was obviously the better and qualified candidate given Ramliís track record or lack of track record when Tan Sr Ramli was the Menteri Besar of Perak. Like Anwar, DAP FT is disappointed with BA MPs for failing to take a strong and united front in pursuit of the agenda for reform, starting with a First World Parliament.
DAP FT is also disturbed by comments made by Kamaruddin Jaafar in Sin Chew Jit Poh on 23/11/2004 that PAS MPsí decision to support Tan Sri Ramli over Dr Tan was also based on the countryís culture, political situation, the Speakerís tradition, the future development and changes in Parliament.
Anwarís comments are welcomed and serve to reduce suspicions that BA has ganged up with BN against the DAP by voting together with BN. However this unfortunate episode has only reminded DAP members and leaders of the need to maintain our strength, if necessary alone, should we want to survive to fight for DAPís principles of democratic, free, just and secular Malaysian Malaysia.
* Ooi Leng Hang, DAP Federal Territory(FT) Publicity Secretary