Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Congrats Syed Husin Ali - but when will the Rakyat vote in their Senators?

While I am happy with the appointment of Professor Dr Syed Husin Ali as a Senator, because he certainly fits the criteria of being  '...persons who in his opinion have rendered distinguished public service or have achieved distinction in the professions, commerce, industry, agriculture, cultural activities or social service or are representative of racial minorities or are capable of representing the interests of aborigines....' (Art. 45(2) Federal Constitution)

But I wonder whether this was even a consideration of those who chose him as a Senator - or was it only the party that he belonged to that was a consideration.

What about that other guy, S Ramakrishnan? Was he chosen as a 'representative of racial minorities' or what? Or was he appointed just because he was a member of DAP? What is his background?

I am also saddened by the fact that the choice was not a peoples' choice but a choice of the coalition in power in Selangor.

Could we not have had an open consultative process with the rakyat before the name was submitted and decided upon by the members of the State Legislative Assembly. Could we not have had a public referendum, if not an election, before Senators were chosen by the State? Again, just like the BN, the Pakatan Rakyat choses first and then informs the 'rakyat' of their choice.

We have achieved independence over 50 years ago, and still the people are not given the right to chose their Senators by elections. [Yes, the Federal Constitution provides for this eventuality

(4) Parliament may by law -
(a) increase to three the number of members to be elected for each State;
(b) provide that the members to be elected for each State shall be so elected by the direct vote of the electors of that State;
(c) decrease the number of appointed members or abolish appointed members.- Article 45 (4) of the Federal Constitution

The Selangor state assembly today nominated PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali (left), 73, to the Senate as a representative from the state.

syed husin book launch 091108 syed husinSyed Husin's choice was approved by the elected representatives through block voting, in which 32 agreed, three abstained and 20 absent.

His name was proposed by Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and seconded by state PAS chief and exco member Hasan Ali.

The state assembly also nominated and approved grassroots leader and MPPJ councillor S Ramakrishnan for the second slot to the Senate from the state.

Ramakrishnan, 53, was proposed by senior exco member Teresa Kok and seconded by Yaakob Sapari. He has been a DAP member since 2000.

Thirty-two elected representatives voted in favour of Ramakrishnan while two objected. One representative abstained from voting while 20 were absent.

They will replace two senators from the state whose term of office expires on Dec 6. They are Ikhwan Salim Sujak and Yip Kum Fook. - Malaysiakini, 17/11/2009, S'gor names Syed Husin, councillor as senators

Penang also did the same, and the State Legislative Assembly chose. But, Pakatan  Rakyat must be different and must be seen to be different. They could have had a process where the rakyat could be asked to propose names, and thereafter the names of those proposed and/or short-listed could have been published, and they could have had public forums and consultations with the people of the State of Selangor to get an indication of the people's views and opinions. These consultations could have been done by the Local Councils, or better still the elected State Representative (ADUNs).

How did the ADUNs vote when the choose a Senator. Is it only what the ADUN feels that is considered? Is it what the people he allegedly represents that determines his vote? Did he have any meetings and/or consultation to get the views of the people before he voted?

ADUNs/MPs should consult the people they represent and vote accordingly. What about having regular monthly consultations with your constituents in a designated hall? This could be an opportunity to inform people of the decisions made, and the actions taken by the government - and more importantly to get a feel of what the people think about decisions that will have to be made soon...

Remember that you are peoples' representatives, and you must have regular meetings with the constituents. Regular discussions could also be done through the net - e-mails, blogs, etc...

BN decided and then told the people about their decisions.... Is Pakatan Rakyat doing the same? If yes, then it is time to change...

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