Potpouri at Causeway

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

What are Party Disciplinary Actions Meant for: Consistency or Hypocrisy?

Malaysian politicians are treating each other as school kids and therefore disciplinary actions are needed to "discipline" themselves  especially among lower rank members and leaders. It often shows political  immaturity among Malaysians  but more precisely it also reflects intense power struggle.

Self-imposed accountability is still the best way to respect democracy in party politics. Leaders who committed improper deals especially concerning financial matters should be taught to toe the practice of resigning from public posts. But many party  members and leaders with evidence of monetary impropriety were promoted to higher positions and even got elected as "wakil rakyat"  if they get cosy to party top leaders. They should have resigned over their own mistakes without having the need to take "disciplinary action". But promotion without any disciplinary action is worse than what has been practiced by UMNO and BN.

We should NOT cultivate a culture of political hypocrisy of condemning corruption and promoting transparency while knowingly fielding candidates of doubtful character and of integrity in question. On the other hand, stern actions of suspension and even expulsion are taken against leaders and members for criticising top leaders  openly. It is inconsistent with the concept of good governance and discipline cannever be  used as a tool to consolidate one's power.

Stern actions should be taken against those who go against Party's political objectives, collective interests, official policies  and aims. Zulklifli Nordin is the best example of this where he consistently and deliberately went against Pakatan Rakyat and PKR's party policies. Individuals are not above the collective decisions. Therefore  I think it was justifiable to expel him from PKR and PR.

Nonetheless a leader has to be extremely tolerant towards criticism, and  at times taking up punches below the belly. The public, political foes and party members and leaders have criticised me in many perspectives. Some have even gone to the extent of criticising of being "dictatorial", "BN's stooge",  and so on. Even though I thought the accusations were unfounded, I had to bear them without the need of referring them for any  disciplinary actions but talk to them over a cup of tea, making them seeing things from my perspective.

All of us make mistakes in our lives but  learn to forgive each other and go on with life. Nonetheless  I just cannot tolerate those who have manipulated public funds and persistently lied to the people, party members  and get away with it.  In other words, I can shake hand and have tea with those who alleged me of being "dictatorial" but I just cannot sit down with those who have  manipulated public funds and lied to others consistently.

Nonetheless, I am not totally for disciplinary actions against party members or leaders who criticise comrades  especially  leaders unless he opposes party policies openly and for that he should resign from the party. Nonetheless favouritism should not be seen as the main factor in determining party disciplinary actions or inactions. In the most appalling situations, leaders who gain favour from top leadership could be seen promoted even if they are corrupt. It reeks favouritism where disciplinary actions are only used to skin those who are not in favour with the  leadership; and so called disciplinary actions have nothing to do with one's integrity. Quite on the contrary, wrongful executed disciplinary actions may paradoxically  reflect the accused's integrity and popularity among the public. In other words, he may be just standing in the way of someone's greed for power. Frankly that has become a culture  in BN and I do not wish to see it happening in any PR component parties.

If an opposition party practices transparency and proclaims its anti-corruption stand but  at the same time it fields candidates with known questionable integrity and chop off those who dissent from party leaders' unclean practices, would it be better than UMNO which fielded Mohd Isa Samad as UMNO-BN candidate for Bagan Pinang by-election? At least Mohd Isa  Samad was suspended by UMNO for three years for alleged money politics.

If an opposition party knowingly promoted  a candidate of doubtful integrity, well, there is more hypocrisy than consistency, I would say.

1 comment:

  1. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander, so the saying goes. Apparently, it is not so. It is sad that when a political party and particularly an opposition party whichj consistently demands transparency, accountability and detest financial shenanigans cannot extract the same from its own members. Instead, as rightly pointed out by Dr Boo, party inquiries, disciplinary actions and punishments are beginning to be seen as the party's way of extracting revenge on those who do not toe the party line, while miscreants who are close to the top echelon of party leaders can get away even if their character is suspect,tainted or their financial dealings have brought the party and its members disrepute.

    Norman Fernandez