Saturday, January 29, 2005

Witch-Hunting�: Un-democratic Behaviour

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�Witch-Hunting�: Un-democratic Behaviour

The BN govt must not discriminate against non-sympathisers

by Charles Hector
Aliran Monthly 2004:3

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idris_jusoh (5K)
The new chief minister's words go against the very essence of democracy
There is an election. Candidates offer themselves as wakil rakyat (peoples� representatives). The people (the registered voters only) come out and cast their votes choosing their representatives. The candidates who gather the majority or plurality of votes win. By reason of the first-past-the-post system, the victors, then become the wakil rakyat, and if the leader of the party enjoys the support of the majority of the elected representatives, then s/he is chosen to form the government of Malaysia and/or the government of the States.

Once elected, the victors and the losing candidates must put aside their differences and work together for the good and benefit of all the people in the country/state � yes, for the good and benefit of all the people and not just for the good of those who supported and or voted for them. The losing candidates are also part of these people whom the victors must now represent in Parliament and/or the State Legislative Assembly. The victors must remember that their duty and responsibility is towards all the people - not just their party members, their financiers and donors during the elections, or their supporters. If the victors forget this and discriminate against their opponents and their opponents� supporters, then the victors have forgotten the true meaning of democracy.

Witch-hunt in Terengganu

Idris Jusoh, who won by a majority of 2,047 votes only, whereby his opponent from PAS had obtained 4,466 votes, immediately after the swearing in as the Menteri Besar of Terengganu hastily abolished the People�s Consultative Committee(JSR) introduced by PAS during its four-year reign. About 400 members of the JSR were affected by this move. (Malaysiakini, 25 Mar 2004).

In Malaysiakini, 30 Mar 2004, it was reported that there also occurred the �sacking en masse of some 400 staff of the Unit Pembangunan Insan and its director Ismail Osman.�. Also fired were Syariah court chief judge Dr Abdullah Abu Bakar, deputy state mufti Zainal Abidin Ahmad, Sultan Zainal Abidin Islamic College director Assoc Prof. Anuar Zainal Abidin and the Yayasan Terengganu director Yusof Tahir. The new Menteri Besar�s explanation was that �their contracts had to be terminated because they had clearly sided with the PAS government and would ruin Barisan Nasional�s (BN) agenda and planning if not stopped.� In my opinion, this is odd and foolish reasoning.

start_quote (1K) All these termination and verbal notices have been done relatively hastily, and it affects people who are not political appointees but mere public servants. end_quote (1K)
In the report, it was also mentioned that teachers in Sekolah Menengah Agama Sains Terengganu and Sekolah Rendah Agama Bersepadu had been given verbal notice that their services may be terminated. It must be noted that Sekolah Menengah Agama Sains was established by the Terengganu State government after the federal government chose to close two MARA Junior Science Colleges in Terengganu in October 2002. So, what is going to happen to the students in these schools, and to the teachers and staff?

Keep the good to benefit the people

All these termination and verbal notices have been done relatively hastily, and it affects people who are not political appointees but mere public servants. The speed by which these actions were taken (and/or decisions made) could reasonably be said to be an emotional reaction, rather that a well thought out and critically analyzed action. This is wrong for people who are public servants will lose their jobs, and their children�s education could be affected. There should have been serious study done to determine whether these PAS-created structures, these PAS-government initiated schools are good for the people of Terengganu. It is wrong for this BN Menteri Besar to just reject anything and everything just because it was done during the PAS�s term of government.

Political appointees or public servants?

It has been stated that these officers �clearly sided with the PAS government and would ruin Barisan Nasional�s (BN) agenda and planning if not stopped�� How does the Menteri Besar know this? Have they done anything to date that �ruined� the BN agenda and planning for the Terengganu people? Mere speculation of possible future actions is not a good enough justification for the termination of employment and the dismantling of schools and community-based structures created by the previous government.

It is sad, and rather embarrassing, that this new MB is saying and doing such things as these actions and words go against the very essence of democracy. The role and responsibilities of an elected government towards its people - not just the BN supporters, but all the people of Terengganu - have been forgotten.

Imagine if another party took over the Federal Government, then within five days, the most senior public servants are removed and teachers lose their jobs. This is absurd.

Politicians and political parties must realize this and must be able to distinguish between what are political appointees and mere public servants. If certain positions, after serious study, are to be dismantled, then the State has the obligation to provide alternative jobs to those �retrenched�.

I hope that this Menteri Besar now does not go out there and start discriminating against the 4,466 voters who voted for his opponent, and the remaining tens of thousands who did not vote for the BN by depriving them of government aid, scholarships, subsidies and other assistance. For if he does so, this man does not understand the essence of our democracy and he should be removed from his post as Menteri Besar.

Serve without discrimination

Once elected, the BN government of the day must not discriminate against those that did not support the BN. For if it does do so, then it might as well abolish all political parties and the general elections and erase democracy from Malaysia. How can you tell people to chose � and then discriminate against them because they did exercise �correctly� this right of choice.

Elections came, the majority have spoken through their votes, so now you who have been chosen as the peoples� representatives and/or as the government, must go forth and be the representatives of the people, and must govern the people with justice and fairness.

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