Whip Cream


Written on 5/23/2006 08:34:00 pm by sikapitan

I know it’s been 2 weeks since the whole “follow or be whipped” controversy surrounding Barisan MPs, and in this particular case, the Backbenchers, but I do believe in giving my two-cents worth on the topic. It’s better late than never.

It has been a long-standing parliamentary practice to follow the party line in voting on matters. As a general rule, you are not supposed to vote in favor of an opposition’s motion. The whole concept, though crude and undemocratic on the face of it, is necessary in the political arena.

However, the general rule must come with exceptions, otherwise there comes a time when it leads to absurdity. The United States Congress and Senate is a prime example of a political system where the representatives are allowed to vote according to the motion presented, though their system has that other, more evil shackle known as “the lobbyist” who, some say, is more powerful than most White House officials are.

The exceptions should come in cases such as the one presented before the Dewan recently. The Opposition wanted to push through a motion for a parliamentary enquiry into an MP involvement in “pressuring” Custom officials. The MP told the Custom officials to close one eye when it was discovered that the timbers brought in by a Malaysian company had exceeded certain measurements placed by Custom.

It is a pity that the Backbenchers, the MPs, had to witness a Datuk Shahrir, great believer of democracy and political righteousness, resign as the BBC President when his appeal that his colleagues support the Opposition motion was met with stony gaze.

As it turns out, the MP in the centre of this political storm, had more questions to answer when it was discovered that he has an interest in that company, AND he is also the sole proprietor of ANOTHER company which has been involved in some illegal activities.

How did I know all this? I have to thank New Straits Times for its in-depth coverage of the issues. They supported Datuk Shahrir, and in a prime example of the power of investigative journalism, proceeded to dug up records and showed Malaysia the truth. I applaud NST for this.

I don’t read NST that often, as I find the TheStar being more compact, easier to read, and contains more things to read. But sometimes I realized that the NST is more willing to give in-depth coverage over things that matters, rather than the more pop-oriented leanings of the Star.

In any case, Pak Lah and Najib (the Chief Whip), issued a directive that all Barisan MPs must toe the party line or face the whip. It was an opportunity gone begging. It was a chance to change the political landscape, to allow voting on your conscience. I guess Malaysia is not ready for the change. However, who decides? Shouldn’t we, the people, have a say in how our MPs, the people who we choose, act in Parliament?

Congrats Barca!

It wasn't the match that most of us expected, but enthralling nonetheless. The better chances went Arsenal's way, or in truth, Thierry Henry's way. He single handedly tore through Barca's defence, with one particular memorable run down the touchline taking out Carlos Puyol (Club Captain, continental hardman, Spanish rock) and Rafael Marquez (Mexican stallion, cultured defender). Alas, when one Swede ran his socks off and gave Barca's midfield the runaround (Ljungberg), it was his countrymen who proved to be the difference, and unfortunately that man was in the opposing team. Henrik Larsson, in his swansong season in a top side, showed that dreams do come true in football.

Here is a man who has served his butt out for one club, broke a lot of records along the way, and finally decided he was going to try his hands at one of the top clubs. In the most amicable of separation, Larsson and Celtic parted ways like old friends knowing they have done the same thing one too many times. The fans waved him goodbye, knowing that he would always be their legend.

Larsson, despite ending his topflight career in Barca, will forever be synonymous with Celtic. And so it proved, on a night when he was wearing the stripes of Barca, he still made an impact on Celtic. His two assists, leading up to two goals, proved to be decisive and important for Celtic as it made sure Celtic did not have to go through pre-season Champions League qualifiers and straight to the group stages.

In any case, I would applaud Barca for sticking to their close passing style and tight triangles even though they could have easily gone the route one way. They were not the best team that night, but in open play through out the campaign, they have shown the world that in modern football, there is still room for JOGA BONITO!