Friday, February 24, 2012

MPPP going overboard with Jessie Ooi - but no more anymore

As a follow-up to my earlier posting,Has the MPPP gone overboard with Jessie Ooi's comments? How should a good government deal with critics and opponents?, I enclose below a Media Statement issued by ALIRAN on the issue.

If a person makes a complaint or allegation about the police over alleged misconduct of some police officers, should the response be the Police taking action against the said person. [It has allegedly happened when a person complaints about torture, suddenly that person is faced with a criminal charge of making a false report, etc...This fear and this kind of response by authority has effectively silenced many victims/witnesses from highlighting such torture, etc...]

Likewise, if someone points out or raises some information about corruption in the PM's office, should the PM or the Government of Malaysia take action against the said person.

Likewise the case of Jessie Ooi and the MPPP...and thankfully, the MPPP has decided...(see below for the full Malaysiakini report)

The Penang Municipal Councillors have decided not to take legal action or move a motion against controversial Selangor MCA Beliawanis chief Jessie Ooi in its full council meeting today.

When it comes to government or government institutions or some other public institutions, the response must NEVER be going after or against the alleged critic or complainant with Legal Suits or Criminal Prosecution or even personal attacks in the Media, the response must always be investigation and clarification - that is it. 

After all, we want an open government that is most open to criticisms and complaints, some of which sadly may be baseless or just inaccurate. It matters not...After all, individually, it really is difficult to clarify...verify - thanks to the lack of transparency and accountability, and sometimes the said persons may just not have the capacity to do the verifying/clarifying or even making attempts to do so, which someone like a professional journalist or even an academic researcher may be able to do. 

I know that even writing to the Prime Minister and some Ministers receives sometimes not even a response acknowledging receipt, with an assurance that the concerns will be looked into. As an example, a letter I send for and/on behalf of over 100 civil society groups requesting a response - never even got a response. [Remember also that protest is coming from all over the world, now more than 115 are saying Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act - Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers - There is still no response from the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Human Resource Minister or the Malaysian Human Rights Commission(SUHAKAM) who were sent a letter, enclosing the statement calling for action and asking for a response...(The letters was posted on or about 29/10/2011, and still no response ...)]

We need 'whistle-blowers' - we need people to their opinion, and they should be protected from any repercussions - especially when it involves government, government bodies, public officers, Ministers, MPs, ADUNs, Local Councillors, companies, etc - more so when it is an issue of public interest broadly defined of course (not the narrow definition given by some courts), a human rights issue, an environmental concern, etc... Complainants, criticisms and differing opinions are always good and help us all build a better society...

Aliran views with deep concern the threat by the Penang Island City Council to take legal action against Selangor MCA Beliawanis chief Jessie Ooi for having posed queer questions pertaining to the City Council and Penang during the much-hyped Lim-Chua debate recently. 

Events proved that she was one confused lady who shouldn’t have made a fool of herself.

While Ms Ooi’s questions may be irritatingly laughable – and she’s paying for that by the odium she has invited from angry Malaysians – threatening to slap her with a legal suit is indeed going overboard.

The dangerous signal sent out to the general public – to paraphrase Ms Ooi – is that you could get punished severely in future even for raising pertinent questions about the City Council. When people know what is the truth and what is a lie is there a need to resort to this kind of action?

Unless they rescind their intended legal action, in this instance, the City Council’s heavy-handedness will not go down well with people who cherish the culture of freedom of expression and accountability.

We call upon the City Council to call off their intended legal threat, and instead focus on other things that really matter to the people of Penang Island. Besides, this would save the ratepayers’ money that would have been wasted on the entire legal procedure.

On Jessie’s part, she should apologise for her outburst based on inaccurate ‘facts’. That should close the matter.

Aliran Executive Committee
24 February 2012

The said Malaysiakini report:-

'MPPP won't sue, let the rakyat judge Jessie Ooi'

The Penang Municipal Councillors have decided not to take legal action or move a motion against controversial Selangor MCA Beliawanis chief Jessie Ooi in its full council meeting today.
Councillor L Prem Anand (right), however, addressed the council to condemn Ooi for disparaging the reputation of council workers over clamping and towing activities in Penang.

After the meeting, councillor Ong Ah Teong said the councillors have decided not to purse taking action against Ooi.

“We prefer to focus on serving the people as Ooi continues to twist and turn her words and allegations,” he told reporters during a press conference attended by the councillors.

Ong said the councillors unanimously agreed to “spare her because we pity her” as she appears not to be aware of what she wants, when she made her allegations.

“Let the rakyat judge her attitude. We have decided not to waste public funds to initiate legal action against her,” he said.

“What we know is that this is MCA’s dirty tactics to undermine the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang by implicating the MPPP,” he added.

“We accept criticisms and suggestions on how the MPPP can improve its services to benefit Penangites, but we would not accept slander and lies about our workers who work hard to ensure the city is in good shape,” he stressed.
Ong said Ooi's behaviour has revealed a can of worms about the actual nature and character of MCA leaders, who tend to “lie and twist” their statements to mislead the people.

He added that the people must be cautious as these leades would continue to “lie” to cover up their party’s misdeeds.

He stressed that the councillors would be able to preserve their dignity and integrity by not stooping so low as to impose further action on Ooi.

‘Possible backlash to their action’

It is learnt that the councillors decided not to antagonise Ooi further as there may be a backlash to their action, while Ooi may turn out looking like a victim of harassment.

Recently, the councillors condemned Ooi and vowed to take action against her if she fails to apologise or retract her statement during the recent debate between MCA president Chua Soi Lek and Penang CM Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur.

Ooi, who is Selayang BN coordinator, was given until today to recant or face action by the councillors.

Ooi became an overnight session after she posed questions to Lim during the debate with Chua on Feb 18, raising concerns over clamping and towing of cars illegally parked in Penang.

She has responded to scores of critics on the manner in which she posed her questions, crying harassment and voweing to take legal action on those who allegedly defamed her and her family on the Internet. - Malaysiakini, 24/2/2012, 'MPPP won't sue, let the rakyat judge Jessie Ooi'

Now, in the report, it was alleged that one of the Local Councillors said.... 

“What we know is that this is MCA’s dirty tactics to undermine the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang by implicating the MPPP,” he added.
This, I believe should not be something that a Local Councillor should be saying, certainly not as a local councilor.  He can always make the same comment as an individual person, a Pakatan Rakyat political party member or committee...but not in his capacity as a MPPP Councillor....Maybe, it was a comment not made as Local Councillor and the report is incorrect.

We have often criticized public officers for using the office to support the BN -- likewise, let us be cautious that when one holds a public office (or is speaking in that capacity), he does not use it to promote certain political parties and attack opposition parties

In public office, as a MPPP Councillor, you carry out your duties and functions as an Local Councillor for and on behalf of all the people that you serve. You are are there not representing this or that political party anymore, despite the fact that they appointed you or not (after all Local Councillors should be elected...and I wait patiently for that to happen soonest - End this appointment nonsense for we are a democracy and democracy must exist at all levels of government)

1 comment:

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