February 16, 2008
By SV Singam
The ruling coalition has enjoyed an almost unbroken 50 years of 2/3 majority in parliament. The only time this overwhelming majority was lost was in 1969. Immediately, the race riots were triggered, parliament was suspended and the National Operations Council (with 100% control) installed. The semblance of democracy was only restored after the major opposition parties were sucked into a new and larger coalition and the 2/3 majority regained.
The ruling coalition operates on the Whip principle – component parties and representatives must toe the official line. Under no circumstances is a Wakil Rakyat allowed to vote according to his conscience or according to the mandate the rakyat he represents gave him.
So what has 50 years of 2/3 majority given us?
- The Malaysian Constitution has been amended some 690 times. The USA has been in existence for more than 200 years and their constitution was only amended 27 times.
- The Constitution is amended for matters as trivial as extending the term of office of the Elections Commission officers, simply to avoid facing rejection by the Agung.
- Because of the overwhelming power available to the Executive, the Legislature has been reduced to a rubber stamp, the Judiciary has been emasculated and corrupted and the powers of the Agung have been clipped.
- The legal system is a sad joke, serving only further the desires of the ruling clique.
- The Elections Commission serves only to ensure that the ruling clique is returned to power.
Look at the statistics…
In the last election, Barisan Nasional received only 63.8% of the popular votes but has 91% of all parliamentary seats. All due to gerrymandering, phantom votes, voter relocation, voter substitution… there are even suspicions of ballot box stuffing.
UMNO received 35.9% of the popular votes, has 50% of the parliamentary seats and holds 71% of the ministerial positions. The other members of the coalition have been reduced to running dogs, wagging their tails and begging for scraps.
Little Napoleons have been allowed to run rife and the rights of non-Malay, non-Muslim communities have been trampled upon. The Wakil Rakyat do nothing even when constitutional amendments threatening these rights are proposed. It is left to the opposition members to highlight these alarming matters and try to prevent total steamrolling.
Meanwhile, it’s not like the rights of all Malays are really being addressed. Claims of hard-core poverty among rural Malays indicate that wealth distribution is not making real headway. Under the umbrella of the NEP, wealthy UMNO leaders continue to steal the wealth of the country, feeding pittance to the rakyat. And the Malays are being deprived of the ability to compete and gain new skills.
Under the aegis of the NEP, incompetent people (skilled in politicking) are given promotions while capable people are being deprived of the opportunity to lead. Major national corporations and companies are blundering from error to error. We have lost our competitive edge in practically every field.
How much more of this can we take? How much more of this should we take?
Change may not necessarily be better.
But without change, it is not possible to become better.
If we want to become better, we must want change.
It is time the 2/3 majority in parliament is dismantled.
We hold that power.