by Lim Sue Goan
Not only are opposition parties extremely unhappy, even some Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties are frustrated over the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation proposals.
MCA President Liow Tiong Lai asserted that Malaysia is a multiracial country and we must not allow the latest redelineation exercise to turn the constituencies into racially polarised ones.
Gerakan President Mah Siew Keong, meanwhile, said Gerakan’s 45 parliamentary and state seats will be affected by the redelineation, adding that the party has put in a lot of effort in these constituencies and the redelineation will render all its previous efforts in vain.
Why didn’t the EC consult public views before coming up with the proposal?
BN Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said if BN component parties are not happy with the redelineation, they could always voice up during the BN Supreme Council meeting today (Sept 23).
This reminds me of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman suddenly proposing that Dewan Rakyat prioritise PAS President Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill on hudud on May 26 this year. At the time, Umno had not also consulted other BN component parties beforehand and it was completely an Umno agenda.
Liow used to threaten that he would quit his government posts if PAS’ private bill were to be adopted in Parliament. Meanwhile, Mah also said he would do all he could to block the bill, vowing to quit Gerakan’s only Cabinet post if this fails.
Unfortunately, no one has gone after Umno for allowing the motion to be tabled.
On March 19 last year, when the 44 Kelantan state reps unanimously approved the Syariah Criminal Code (II) 1993 (Amendment 2015) Bill at the state legislative assembly, the leaders of 12 BN component parties held an emergency meeting on the same night to convey to Umno President and Prime Minister Najib Razak their disapproval of the hudud law.
Back then, the BN leaders said even Umno was against PAS’ hudud bill and that Najib would soon issue a statement on this.
Najib has not issued any official statement on this until this day, and everyone seems to have put this far behind them now.
When BN is going to meet again later this month, it is rumored that the leaders will once again talk about the hudud issue.
According to reports, BN could come up with its own bill to replace Hadi’s private bill, and if this materialises, BN component parties could then forget about the promises of resignation they once made. But, the actual meat of BN’s substitute still needs to be scrutinised and treated with utter caution.
Although hudud and redelineation of electoral constituencies are two very different things, they are nevertheless major political issues.
What I’m trying to stress here is that we must never bend on our principles just to hold on to power.
Racialisation and religionisation
Malaysia is a secular state and in no way should we rock the foundation of this secular system for the sake of ballots. We are also a democratic country and in no way should election fairness be sacrificed just because some want to keep to the power.
As Liow has said, when constituency redelineation is leading the country towards deepened polarisation, we would head down the path of racialisation and religionisation.
More constituencies will become predominantly monoracial and in order to secure the ultimate victory, politicians are set to play up racial and religious issues. If this trend is allowed to go further, it might even become an irreversible reality for hudud’s ultimate implementation, rendering the “1Malaysia” slogan a complete lie.
Politicians are obliged to prioritise the nation’s future and stop all things that will destroy our existing systems at any cost. If two sets of criminal laws are ever permitted, democracy will take a severe beating and the country’s basis for continued prosperity will be compromised.
After the 1MDB scandal and more insider secrets have been made public, the country has since moved slowly towards the edge of the cliff.
Back to controversies surrounding the proposed redelineation. Parties on both sides of the great political divide are poised to rally their supporters to protest or to challenge the decision in court. This will further drain our precious social resources.
DAP’s parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has proposed to dissolve the Selangor state assembly to pave the way for a snap election. What comes next could be another lengthy round of war of words.
When our politicians get so engrossed with politicking, designing in secrecy plots to keep them forever in power, will they still bother about solving the country’s many problems and revitalising the ailing economy?
This country has wasted way too much time on politicking, and a very bad kind to be exact.
The thing is, however, a political problem still needs to be worked out the political way. The more we avert and abhor politics, the more we are shackled by it.
We can only put this nightmare to a decisive end if we are resolved enough to tackle it head-on.
Lim Sue Goan writes for Sin Chew Daily.
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