Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chinese Representation in Government Is About Accountability

This article is written by Tan Sri Robert Phang who is the Chairman of Social Care Foundation and a former MACC panel member.

I am amused by the statement made by Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, the so-called de facto Minister for Law, who declared that he would fight tooth and nail to ensure Chinese representation in a Barisan Nasional (BN) government even if the Chinese component party, namely MCA fails to secure a single parliamentary seat in the coming polls.

That seems to be a truly “Jantan” statement in championing the Chinese cause. If that statement is supposed to elevate Nazri Aziz in the eyes of the Chinese community, then he is mistaken. That statement would in fact constitute an insult to the Chinese electorates.

Who is Nazri to make such offers if the Chinese voters have rejected this Chinese-centric component party? Who appointed Nazri to be the Chinese champion on this issue? Since it is a historical fact that the BN political parties are race-based parties, it is best that Nazri look into his own backyard. I am sure my Malay brothers and sisters would appreciate to have their welfare being continuously taken care of by a vocal Malay Minister like Nazri, and not only during election time.

There is more than meets the eye to Nazri’s statement. I have said it before that the statement by MCA President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is nothing more than a cheap political gimmick. Soi Lek loses nothing by making that statement. He knew that his “pornographic” background makes him unsuitable to be a government Minister. Thus, Soi Lek is actually sacrificing the government posts of other MCA leaders who could pose a threat to his MCA presidency. The Chinese community is not stupid to not see Soi Lek’s objectives.

It was only recently that Nazri Aziz was seen interfering with GLCs by instructing them to appoint a favored legal firm in order to cause a withdrawal of the cases that these GLCS have against former MAS Chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli. The public uproar showed that Nazri had miscalculated the public’s intelligence and reaction.

But more than that, I am told that it showed Nazri’s failure to comprehend basic principles of corporate law. I am also told that Nazri’s directive offends the Rule of Law because a government Minister cannot suborn the Board of Directors of a GLC which is a public listed company in that manner. I believe that Nazri should know these things better as he is a lawyer, while I am not.

By the same reasoning, Nazri’s statement on Chinese representation in the government offends basic logic on the purpose and objective of elections. A general election is part of the democratic process to allow the electorates to select the leaders whom they would want to govern over them and the country. If the Chinese electorates have rejected the Chinese leaders from MCA, who is Nazri to force upon us to accept such leaders as our representatives in government?

It is more alarming to note the second part of Nazri’s statement that “The system allows us to appoint senators and we need to have representatives of the non-Malay community.” This confirms the public skepticism that appointments to the Senate have been abused as a backdoor entry into government. This is preposterous. More than that, this statement coming from a senior Minister who is a lawyer, displays sheer arrogance which will be deservedly punished in the coming GE 13.

Let us be reminded that the being elected to form the government is part of the democratic process. It erodes the fundamentals of democracy when a government is formed not from elected representatives but by backdoor appointments from politicians who have failed. A government post is not a trophy for political gratification.

I hope that as a person trained in the law, Nazri would recant his statement as it demeans the democracy that we hope to nurture as we mature as a nation. Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!


I certainly agree with Tan Sri Robert Phang's comment about the Chinese representation in the government. Had the Chinese community seen it fit to have Chinese representation, they would have voted for MCA or Gerakan instead of going along with Nazri's proposal of the backdoor approach of senatorship. Even if Nazri meant well, what is the point of having such a representation? To look after the interests of the Chinese community or merely acts a window dressing to show the world that the government is multi-racial in composition. On the first count, MCA could have done the job but failed miserably not because of their lackluster manner in taking care of the community but because they are being restrained by UMNO's strong armed tactics. Even with the appointment of Chinese representations via senatorships, the person/s would still end up being the punching bag of UMNO and more subservient because of the appointment itself. On the second count, the Chinese do not need the charade of window dressing as it is another ploy by UMNO using the Chinese for their own benefit.

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