Some BN leaders are already celebrating our ‘seizing 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 Menteri Besar.
All 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.
Last Updated on Oct102011
A shameful scene is unfolding in Perak.
Let me follow up on what I said earlier about the status of the Chief Minister.
The Constitution is the highest law of the land. It is the foundation and source of legal authority, and the Rulers are sworn to protect and uphold it.
According to the Constitution, Dato’ Seri Nizar Jamaluddin is Menteri Besar until he resigns of his own accord, or is removed by a vote of no-confidence in a formal sitting of the assembly. The Constitution makes no provision for his removal by any other means, including by petitions or instructions from any other authority.
A band of young men from FT Pemuda and Putera claiming to represent Umno’s 2,500 delegates demonstrated last week at PWTC against the MACC and against Umno’s Disciplinary Board. They claimed to represent the 2,500 Umno delegates who will converge on PWTC in March.
Let me respect their view by trying to understand precisely what they were saying.
They carried placards saying “Kami Menolak Campurtangan SPRM” and “Jangan Ambil Hak Ahli UMNO.” These brave young men of the party called Tengku Rithaudeen senile and the Prime Minister a coward for their roles in the Disciplinary Board and the MACC respectively.
The following are my proposals for the reform of Umno
- The president, deputy president, vice presidents and members of the supreme council to be elected directly. This ends the delegate system.
- State party chiefs to be elected by the membership at state level, not appointed by the president.
- The nominations quotas to be abolished
- Parliamentary candidates to be nominated by their Divisions, not by the party president.
- Top office holders in the party to refrain from holding top government positions. This is to separate party politics from the responsibilities of government. Office holders in the party should concentrated on strengthening and improving the party. Members of the cabinet, selected from among the party’s members of parliament, should focus on national priorities.
The mould is broken, the vessel split. There is no return to the political scenario pre March 8. This is the frightening and also exhilarating thing about where we stand. We could be standing at the edge of long-term instability and decay. Or we could be on the very edge of an opportunity to re-establish ourselves as democratic, united and confident country ready once more to make our own destiny among the nations. We are in unusual times, calling for unusual effort and boldness in doing the right thing. I ask you all to join me in doing everything you can to make sure that the second scenario comes true for us all.
I spoke these words in July last year. I said our leaders must emerge from denial to face the urgent need to reform and re-make core national institutions which had decayed or been subverted. Institutions such as Umno and the police.
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