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The arrogance of the majority

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The suspension of the MP for Puchong for one year on 16 March 2009 demonstrated that logic and procedure are not important as long as one has the numbers. Apparently in the numbers game, justice is not important and fairness is not relevant. The arrogance of the majority, it appears, will decide the day, and they will prevail no matter what.

Just as in the Ipoh High Court proceedings involving the Speaker of the Perak State Assembly where natural justice was ignored and the right of reply was denied, Parliament, it would seem, adopted the same attitude and chose to be one-sided in suspending Gobind Singh.

No sufficient notice was given for this motion which has serious consequences for our parliamentary democracy; no adequate debate was allowed, and the person in the centre of the storm was refused permission to defend himself.

It reminded us of that famous quotation of Sojourner Truth who said, “The majority rules. If they want anything, they get it. If they want anything not right, they get it, too.”

There wasn’t even the pretence of being fair – it was just blatant and brutal the way the motion was  allowed to be carried with the Opposition staging a walk-out in protest. The BN with its majority rode roughshod, oblivious to the protest and the need to be just and fair.

Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia mentioned that action was taken against  Gobind for breaching Standing Orders and “for mentioning a matter which was sub judice…”

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I am no lawyer and have no training in law but from my little understanding of the Altantuya case the question of sub judice does not arise. The deputy premier, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was neither charged in this case nor has he been summoned as a witness to provide evidence. This being the fact in this case where is the  sub judice, pray tell me!

Perhaps the Speaker being a lawyer may want to educate people like me by providing  some clarification on this matter.

Malaysians seem to think that Gobind should have been referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee in all fairness so that he could  have participated in the proceedings. It would have been better if he had been found guilty after he had defended himself. That would have satisfied  our notion of natural justice.

The Barisan Nasional government should take note that Malaysians by an over-whelming majority of 96 per cent voted that Gobind should have been referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee in a live television survey conducted by ntv7 yesterday.  The BN can only dismiss this sentiment at its own peril.
Before anybody dismisses  this survey result as not  reflecting the  true sentiments of Malaysians at large, let’s wait for the outcome of the three forthcoming by-elections on April 7, 2009. Those results will remove all doubts once and for all!
P Ramakrishnan
17 March 2009

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