Our parliament has gone silent, anaesthetised by our Prime Minister as he focuses on the much debated electoral reforms. Propelled by an unexplained sense of urgency the Leader of the House has utilised his authority to shut down the House of Parliament, keys thrown away, giving the parliamentarians unsolicited ‘days off’ while they continue to be paid by tax payers money. This is a scene that not many of us will witness from true democracies. The sheer principles of a democracy are based on the premises of respect for institutions and mostly the constitution. Most astonishing is when the Leader of the opposition describes the event as ‘fuss for nothing’ or a storm in a cup of tea while blatantly colluding with the Leader of the House. Surely, anybody who is compos mentis will realise that the electoral reform is just the tip of the iceberg while the real matter is about a desperate attempt to find a ‘winning formula’ for the next general election. All this palaver seems to be a debate of convenience. Public sentiment is that a few would be ready to shake hands with the devil to reach power these days.
One should be relieved to know that our House of Parliament is perceived as better compared to others. Not too long ago in the Indian parliament MP Rajagopal utilised pepper spray to attack his opponent in self-defence he said. Another MP took a knife that he had brought into the lower house, of the same parliament, for his safety. In Victoria it was the speaker who did a ‘walk out’ when his authority was constantly being challenged and undermined on numerous occasions. Fortunately, we cannot say the same when it comes to our parliament. Our members of parliament are more civilised apart from the odd personal pique such as ‘laker chatte’, ‘tintin’, ‘all rode ene mari’ and ‘Johnie Walker’; our national assembly is in much better health and a lot to learn from. Well as long as we do not strangle nobody and as long as we can open and shut the House like the little corner shop then that’s alright. It is also fine to remunerate elected members for a protracted unnecessary vacation away from parliament while the known concept is that one should work to get paid.
Our well educated parliamentarians are meant and expected to be people of integrity and accountability especially to their mandates. Our prime minister rightly warned those who wish to join politics to become rich yet we had the Rolls saga. It is certainly expensive to achieve class one would comment. Many have been labelled as semi- intellectuals when questions are asked and opinions formulated. Even the semi-intellectuals have a fundamental right to know. Is it not us the king makers? What is intelligible is that we choose the people to run the affairs of this country and when things go well we re-new our faith in them but when things go wrong they have a moral obligation to stand down. Surprisingly, we have not seen anybody standing down when the flash flooding took human lives. Let alone any resignation we were deprived of a heartfelt or genuine apology. When many lives were cut short during a bus crash on the motorway years ago no top brass stood down. There is no stepping down when there is ubiquitous conflict of interest between personal businesses and status in government office. However, we noted the resignation of the South Korean prime minister Chung Hong-won amid pressure that his government did not do enough to save lives following a ferry disaster taking with it many innocent lives. In our ‘plaisir’ country not even loss of lives will knock conscience down. This level of immorality is legendary by any standard. Common parlance is that a few shamefaced should have gone but the king makers continue to accept this by its deafening silence.
We also tend to accept too easily that politicians are the ones who know best and hopelessness view that there is a tiny group of the most powerful who knows what is best for us. For instance the electoral reform team consists of 3 people. One is ‘very good’ at mathematics, the other one is pro Ptr and a respectable lawyer. This is the team to bring the reform in the right package and also hoping that the Ptr-MMM alliance will then be the conclusion. Undoubtedly these two main parties will get together and this is a matter of when rather than if. This alliance will become in public domain thanks to the mass who always choose to be silent. The flip side is that there is no other credible political party to challenge the unnatural. In a court of public opinion many politicians have already been discredited. Public anger is palpable but we remain the silent majority. The King makers will return to cast their votes next year or sooner and we hopefully will stand up and be counted similar to the Indian scenario where the Congress has been defeated. There is a question though; do we really care who our next King is?