Posts Tagged 'PBRS'

The scourge of money politics?

Folks, please don’t get me wrong. I am not here to worship the virtues of money politics but rather to bring this much ostracised subject on the table for further deliberation as to its importance or otherwise in a political organisation and whether or not it is time that Parliament should legislate to partly legitimise to a certain extent the use of political funds as per practiced in America.

As of now, it is an offence for any election candidate be it in a political party election, a by-election or for that matter the general election as the case may be to use money to canvass for political support. In a party election, it is regulated by the Disciplinary Committee purportedly empowered under its constitution whilst in either a by-election or a general election, it is regulated by the Election Laws specifically under  section 10 (Bribery) and sections 19 (maximum expenditure) and 20 ( certain expenditure to illegal practice) of Election Offences Act, 1954.

In a party election,  a very glaring example of the might of the Disciplinary Committee is the three year suspension of a former vice-president of UMNO, YB Tan Sri Isa Samad of Negri Sembilan who was found guilty of indulging in money politics and the prohibition of an UMNO Vice-President and current Malacca Chief Minister, YB Datuk Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam from contesting the UMNO Deputy President post in the last party election. 

However, in both cases, there was no follow-up action taken by the MACC to further investigate and bring these very prominent UMNO politicans to book as it is now said that a political offence i.e  indulging in money politics is merely a technicallity. However, a technical offence or not, the victim of such an offence would be forever traumatised and very often than not, becomes a political liability to his political organisation unless of course, if he is Tan Sri Isa Samad. 

It is of course incumbent upon UMNO to show the good example to its fellow component parties in Barisan Nasional.   And its component members, whether big or small, prominent or negligible, one has to emulate the big brother in so far as taking action against indulgers of money politics in its respective organisation.

However, the perennial question is to what extent the maxim of procedural fairness in bringing the alleged politician to book before the Disciplinary Committee has been adequately complied with?  and whether or not certain aspect of the definition of fair campaigning and the expenditures involved have been adequately addressed by the Committee before a decision is handed down or meted out to the alleged politician? 

In a small component political party in Barisan Nasional for example, the maxim of procedural fairness has to be strictly adhered to especially so when the said party is trying its level best to portray its image as being multi-racial and all.  When I say to adequately adhere the practice of procedural fairness, it means the party has to follow an established practice that is indeed being widely accepted as fair by political parties in the United Kingdom for the greater good of the party concerned.

What is an established practice is not subjective but rather very objective and specific that should be followed barring any political complication on the face of the party concerned. For example, if a party member has lodged a complaint against an aspirant for a political post in a party election to the Disciplinary Committee, it must first take cognisance of the following factors:-

(1)  the time when the complaint is lodged. Is it inordinate?  Meaning has it been lodged after the time provided for lodgment of complaint and therefore, time-barred?;

(2) if the complaint lodged is within the time frame allowed aforesaid, How soon can the Disciplinary Committee convene to deliberate on the complaint  for the purpose of appointment of  its officers to do preliminary investigation;

(3) after preliminary investigation wherein the complainant and relevant witnesses are called to give their statments, the member being complained against must be informed and required to appear before the said Committee to enable it to hear his or her part of the story;

(4) when both parties have been given the opportunity to give statments, the said Committee will have to deliberate the evidences presented before them and if they feel that there is a case for the said member to answer, only then would they have to call him or her to answer the charges; and

(5) In the event that the said member failed to present himself or failed to rebut the charges preferred against him or her by the said Committee, then the proper penalty shall be meted out  after his or her mitigation (if any) has been adequately considered.

All the above must be strictly adhered to lest we will be perceived as being merely witch hunting or arbitrarily taking the law into our own hands.

Cheers!

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Long time coming… Better late than never !

It was indeed a very special day for the Keningau Catholic Diocese when the Rev. Bishop Cornelius Piong received two brand new Modenas motocycles from the Member of Parliament of P182 Pensiangan cum PBRS President and current Malaysian Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, YB Tan Sri Joseph Kurup recently.

To the Catholic community in Mukim Seberang, the gifts would come in a long way to helping the Cathecists in preaching not only the Word of God amongst them but would also help them to render their services much more effectively.

In fact, Puan Sri Melinda Kurup was quite intrumental in effecting the delivery of the said gifts but due to some pressing procedural requirements that needed to be complied with, it was only recently that YB Tan Sri Joseph Kurup was able to deliver them to the Catholic church in Keningau.  It may have been ” a long time coming but indeed the promise was fulfilled “.  Better late than never aye Folks!MTserah motosikal(clear pic)

Cheers!

5:3:2 Distribution of Sabah Cabinet seats…

What was once the top 4 state cabinet members of Sabah (courtesy of New Sabah Times)

What was once the top 4 state cabinet members of Sabah (courtesy of New Sabah Times)

What does it really mean for the non-muslim bumiputera in Sabah in so far as the long established convention of 5:3:2 distribution of cabinet seats between the Muslim bumiputera, non-muslim bumiputera and the chinese is concerned? Does it really matter?

Folks, it does not really matter if one had to listen to from none other than the PBS President cum the 1st Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development, Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan who happens to be the Huguan Siou of the KadazanDusun in Sabah the majority of whom are non-muslim bumiputera. He was on record to say and I repeat it in verbatim ” the non-Muslim bumiputera quota in the State Cabinet can be changed at the discretion of the Chief Minister.

He said the matter had always been debatable but at the same time urged the people not to make it into a big issue. He said as much as he would like to have a more stable quota, the decision to have as many or as few non-Muslim bumiputeras in the State Cabinet remains at the discretion of the Chief Minister.

“Five, four, three or whatever the formula, has always been a debatable issue. I do not think we ought to be too stuck or too stiff about this kind of thing.

“We would like to have a stable quota but at the same time we must understand that this is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. It is up to him (Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman) to make the necessary adjustment or make the necessary appointments…”

“He, or anybody who is the Chief Minister, will always have to take into account the aspirations or the expectations of all component political parties. Whatever decision he made is his prerogative. I am confident it was done in the best interest of the BN Government and to ensure all government programmes would run smoothly.”

I beg to differ though. Personally, I am not quite convinced that the majority of non-muslim bumiputera in Sabah are receptive to the idea that as long as the present BN government could fulfill its obligations and covenants to uplift the socio-economic status of the non-muslim bumiputera, the question of missed opportunity on effecting a fair distribution of cabinet seats in Sabah as highlighted by the PBRS Information Chief, Rayner Francis Udong recently could no longer be relevant.

For the record, the said 5:3:2 ratio was a formula practiced by convention when the BN took over the state government in 1994 whereby 5 is meant for 5 ministerial posts allocated to the muslim bumiputera, 3 posts to the non-muslim bumiputera while the last 2 posts are for the Chinese representatives in the State Legislative Assembly.

However, as I see it, at present, the Sabah cabinet seat distribution is made along the lines of BN component parties’ strength in the State Legislative Assembly. After the last state general election in 2008, UMNO won 32 seats, PBS won 12 seats, SAPP won 4 seats, LDP won 3 states, UPKO won 6 seats, MCA and PBRS won 1 seat each. Hence, Prior to the departure of SAPP from BN, the state cabinet was composed of 6 for UMNO, 2 for PBS, 1 each for UPKO, SAPP and LDP respectively.

The seat quota remains unchanged even after Datuk Raymond Tan, the sole SAPP representative in the cabinet chose to stick with BN when SAPP left BN last year where he was retained as a cabinet member while being a pro-BN Independent for almost 9 months.

Folks, now that Datuk Raymond Tan has joined Gerakan, a Peninsular Malaysia based multiracial party, the status quo remains unchanged. In fact, he was rewarded for his unquestionable loyalty to BN by being retained as a cabinet member minus his Deputy Chief Ministership though. However, the gist of the matter is that, the current composition of the state cabinet is all about one’s political strength in the state BN rather than racial and / or religiously based.

To me, the current arrangement is rather flawed despite BN undeniable success in bringing progress in terms of socio and infra-structural development to the state. I am saying this on the fact that a particular community could be under represented in the powerful decision making body despite it being the majority group in the state.

Analytically, it is a very simple arithmetic, take for example, PBS, the multiracial but KadazanDusun Murut based party. Logically, being a strongly KDM based party, there should be more than one KDM ministers representing the party apart from a chinese minister in the person of Datuk Yee Moh Chai to reflect its ideal political equilibrium in the state cabinet so that when seen in totality, there should be a sense of equitable fairness among the major races in the state.

Be as it may, what more could they ask for if such prerogative power is used to hypothetically appoint cabinet members along such lines as 6 for UMNO (Muslim Bumiputera), 2 for PBS (Non-Muslim Bumiputera), 1 for UPKO (Non-Muslim Bumiputera), 1 each for PBS (Chinese) and LDP (Chinese), Hence, the ratio should be 6:3:2 so that it is to be more or less reflective of the previously accepted convention.

As for Gerakan (a chinese-based multiracial party), it would be, in fairness to PBRS and MCA, politically prudent to appoint its 2 representatives as Assistant Ministers in the state cabinet.

However, it is of course, very important to remember that it is the CM’s sole prerogative to appoint his cabinet members whom he thinks are capable of helping him in the administratioin of the state and lest we forget that if the present cabinet is workable and is the best one we have ever had to assist the YAB Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman to achieving his well-documented Halatuju for the state, we should support him and his BN administration wholeheartedly regardless of our previous reservation.

Cheers!

Is it a fair deal for PBRS?

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (courtesy of the NSTP)

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (courtesy of the NSTP)

Folks, I am going to say it point blank. The new Malaysian Cabinet does not reflect very nicely on PBRS. Why is it so?

Although I should be thankful for the reappointment of the PBRS President, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup as a Deputy Minister by the new PM, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, I remain quite disappointed though, when he was moved from the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development which is considered to be as one of the most important Ministry in the country to the lowly regarded Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. At least, that is what the majority of Malaysians perceived it to be. A low ranking Ministry in the Federal Cabinet.

As such, I can’t help but consider this move as a demotion for the PBRS President. Am I alone having this perception? I don’t think so based on the various conversations I have had with some very influential politicans, businessmen and people on the streets.

And therefore, I can only deduce that PBRS had NOT indeed received a fair deal despite its well documented history of being part of the “catalyst” that led to the formation of a BN government in Sabah in 1994.

What’s your take on this, Folks?

Cheers!

Who is this guy in the blue shirt?

Guess who comes for lunch?

Guess who comes for lunch?

Folks! let me give you a hint. He is well-known for saying on TV “a meeting held under a tree will remain under a tree” So, guess who? Yes, he is none other than BN lead counsel, Datuk Hafarizam Harun who was instrumental in obtaining a court injunction to restrain Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar from holding any unlawful meetings in Perak.

He happens to represent Tan Sri Kurup in his appeal at the Federal Court sitting at Kota Kinabalu on the 13th. March 2009.

Cheers!

Kurup keeps MP seat on Firday the 13th.

A victorious Tan Sri Kurup with his supporters after his appeal was allowed by the Federal Court yesterday

A victorious Tan Sri Kurup with his supporters after his appeal was allowed by the Federal Court yesterday

For some supertitious people, Friday the 13th is about a day of bad luck. According to folklorists, the belief that Friday the 13th is a particularly unlucky day is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. But to PBRS President, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Friday the 13th seems to be a lucky and glorious day. This is so when the Federal Court ruled that he was in fact, duly elected as the Member of Parliament of Pensiangan on nomination day, February, the 24th, 2008.

In the absence of Appeal Court President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff and Chief Justice of Malaya Datuk Arifin Zakaria, the Federal Court Judge, Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman delivered a unanimous decision to declare Tan Sri Kurup as duly elected. Inter alia he said “There had not been any failure on the part of the returning officer to comply with the election laws. Accordingly, we unanimously allow the appeal with costs here and the court below,”

Nik Hashim further held that the requirement that the nomination papers must be delivered between 9am and 10am was mandatory and that the returning officer was justified in upholding the objection and rejecting Andipai’s nomination papers for non compliance with regulation 6(2)(b) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 which provides that the nomination papers in triplicate must be delivered to the returning officer between 9am and 10am on nomination day by the candidate and seconder or by any two or any one of them.

The Federal Court’s grounds of decision were further highlighted by the Daily Express in its 14th March 2009 publication as follows:-

Nik Hashim said that it was true, as the election judge decided, that the Election Commission had the power of control and supervision over the conduct of elections and that the returning officer was subjected to the direction of the Commission.

“Nevertheless, such power and direction must be exercised according to law,” he said. In this case, the commission’s deputy director’s directive to the returning officer to accept Andipai’s nomination papers outside the time frame was contrary to regulation 6(2)(b) of the Regulation.

“The Election Judge was erroneous when he held that the power of the Election Commission overrides the Regulations. Nothing in the law provides for such power,” he said.

Nik Hashim further said the court held that it was not within the purview of the Election Commission to effect any amendment to election regulation relating to the conduct of elections.

The court also held that while it was true there were 12 people who wanted to be candidates and only one counter opened at the nomination centre, nevertheless, the responsibility for submitting the nomination papers to the returning officer within the time fame lay with the candidates.

“No statutory duty is imposed on the returning officer to ensure that all nomination papers of all candidates present at the nomination centre must be accepted but only to ensure that no nomination papers are to be accepted during the time frame (9am-10am),” Nik Hashim held.

He said the court was also unanimous in holding that in this case the fault lay with Andipai for failing to deliver his nomination papers within the stipulated time to the returning officer.

The court also held that Andipai had pleaded the facts and grounds of his petition but without specifying which provision of written law relating to the conduct of election had not been complied with by the returning officer.

“This failure is fatal. Parties are bound by their pleadings. Since the mandatory requirements stipulated by section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act 1954 had not been met, the learned judge ought to have dismissed the respondent’s (Andipai) petition outright,” Nik Hashim said.

With this decision, Tan Sri Kurup who is also the Federal Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development said that the rule of law has prevailed and that he looked forward to concentrate on his work as the MP for Pensiangan and to help the people of Pensiangan out of their misery.

Well, folks, I said so in my previous post that the Federal Court would definitely allow his appeal. It has done just that. Now to all those who had dreamt of becoming the new MP for Pensiangan, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they may have to wait for another 4 years. Well, could it be earlier than that? No body has the crystal ball right now. I can only say that it is politics after all. In the meantime, let us allow Tan Sri Kurup to perform his duties peacefully and diligently as the duly elected MP in the interest of the people of Pensiangan.

Cheers!

All ears on March 13th.

Whether the people of Pensiangan will have to go to the poll in a by-election will finally be known on the 13th of March 2009. Folks, in case you missed the newspapers this morning, it has been confirmed by George Aluda, one of Tan Sri Kurup’s counsels that the Federal Court would be sitting in Kota Kinabalu on the 13th March 2009 to deliver their judgment. A final judgment and non-appealable for that matter.

If the appeal were allowed, it would be time for Tan Sri Kurup to really concentrate on his job as the Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development and hopely, with God’s blessing, a much needed infrastructure development could be efficiently implemented in Pensiangan.

Otherwise, any other decision would definitely cause unusual hardship to the people of Pensiangan but then again, I guess they are ready for any eventuality come rain or shine.

Cheers!


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