Promote accountability: Telecast debates

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zamInformation Minister Zainuddin Maidin must be the most misinformed minister about parliamentary democracy and accountability. He seems at a loss as to understand the workings of a democracy or appreciate the functions of Parliament. 

He doesn’t make sense when he says that the public is not mature enough to accept MPs’ behaviour and racially charged debate. What is his criteria for coming to this conclusion? He is both insulting and insinuating. He doesn’t seem to have any healthy regard for Malaysians or for their intelligence.

When he says that the public is not mature enough to accept MPs’ behaviour and racially charged debates, is he suggesting that the public must tolerate the obnoxious behaviour of certain MPs whose performance in Parliament leaves much to be desired? And pray tell us, why should debates in parliament be “racially charged”? Is this the norm in our parliament that he is trying to keep under wraps?

His comments seem to infer that the Barisan Nasional MPs must be the guilty ones in conduct and sentiments. If the culprits were the opposition MPs, surely the Information Minister would have loved to go to town to portray them as misbehaving, recalcitrant, and racial in their entire outlook.

But he will not fool the public. They will not forgive him for his arrogance but will remember him for his infantile conclusion.

The public knows why he has to resort to this silly antic. He knows how annoyed and upset thinking Malaysians were – and still are – at what was said and how it was said at the Umno General Assembly. It was a display of the worst kind of racial prejudice driven by, it seemed, nothing but sheer greed . Even the BN partners who had been sticking together and tolerating the unreasonable demands of Umno found the delegates’ behaviour and actions intolerable this time. Why, surprisingly, even Umno is talking about taking some form of action against these delegates for their extreme behaviour. Umno’s action amounts to damage control for the terrible PR disaster the delegates have inflicted on the party.

READ MORE:  Why is Muhyiddin avoiding Parliament?

Now that they have learnt a bitter lesson, we must never allow them to forget this. When the debates are telecast, they would be forced to be responsible and reasonable. Their conduct would have to be ethical and acceptable.

If, on the other hand, the BN were to ban live telecasts, it would only encourage such obnoxious behaviour to continue behind closed-doors. Are we suggesting that racially charged debates can and should continue unabated as long as this is out of hearing range?

Zam must grow up and be serious in his views otherwise he will become a laughing stock!

P Ramakrishnan

President

29 November 2006

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