When one of your cronies does wong, it can be mitigated by the top leadership and there is no need for official action to be taken against the "wrong-doer".
When an opposition member does wrong, he will be hunted down even if the wrong was a misdemeanor.
I wanted to title my post today as a "Merry-Go-Round", but a fellow Blooger beat me to it. A case of Great minds think alike, Fools seldom ... ?
What troubled me greatly this morning at breakfast was not the food (wantan mee), but the indigestible explanation given by Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz in Parliament yesterday that "Not all punishment meted out by the UMNO disciplinary committee on party members need to be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency." UMNO division leaders being hauled before the party disciplinary committee and found guilty of moneypolitics, have had action taken against them, he replied to a supplementary question from Tan Kok Wai (DAP-Cheras), theSun April 6, 2005 reported.
Nazri said each year UMNO gives financial allocations to party divisions to hold their meetings. In an election year, the giving of this allocation amounts to an offence, but not in a non-election year.
But to an "outsider" like me, if someone is guilty of money politics, he must be absolved by an independent body like the ACA, and it is a matter of national interest, and rightly, the honourable MP for Chheras brought this up in Parliament. To me, Nazri's explanation is all daft and hogwash.
Nazri, who is also Minister in the PM's Dept, needs to be reminded that almost all the top leaders at the last UMNO General Assembly lamented the rampant practice of money politics. Maybe if UMNO with its double standards can set such a poor precedent to the young to follow, why do we want to waste RM500million a year conducting the National Service?
Now the public is given an explanation that reeks of double standards in terms of treatment of the country's laws on the citizenry. The fact of which political party where you hail from, determines how the law is applied. If your attire flashes any Barisan Nasional component colours, the stronger in the 14-member hierarchy, the stronger immunity one enjoys, and better still, if you are from the main component -- UMNO -- your immunity is almost total.
We have seen too many incidents of such nature before. When an UMNO Youth "mob" led by its deputy chief marched on the Chinese Assembly Hall building in Kuala Lumpur some years back, threatening to burn down the Suqiu's office housed within, the police did not take any action to break up the party. For lesser gatherings by common citizens e.g. reformasi protests at the height of the 1998/99 incidents following former DPM Anwar Ibrahim's arrest and court prosecutions, FRU and their water-cannons and batons worked overtime, with several rounds of arrest.
Puteri UMNO leaders could freely enter the local campus grounds to recruit members from among the undergrads, but other parties are strictly banned from similar recruitment. Even several student leaders who had voiced legitimate issues, but seemed to be anti-establishment, were given show-cause letters, and meanwhile, suspended, presumed guilty until and unless proven innocent. The University and University Colleges Act is conveniently buried on the shelves when smiling Puteri appears, but not when DAP or Adil or even NGO members gather; so what signals is the Government sending out to the young?
Large tracts of forests were invaded by illegal loggers and cleared in blatant breach of the law, right before Exco and Forestry Department officials' eyes, and all remained silent and blind. In contrast, just some hard-pressed hawkers trying to earn their livehood plying their wares along five-foot ways, and they are chased away and their goods confiscated. (No, I don't condone the hawkers' activities, I just note my obsevation that double standards are too obvious for the common man to see, but not the State Exco and high officials!)
The Emperor's New Clothes
And the most stark naked example of this was what followed after the Prime Minister Pak Lah had expressed his "righteous wrath" at the devastated parkland in the now infamous Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam debacle just a day after the Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toto declared "Everthing is okay." Earlier he had blamed the local council for weak enforcement, and he also implied that he needed to consult with the 35-odd property developers involved, meaning he had not much idea of what was going on in his vicinity.
Just about 10km from the MB's office, the forests got cleared, and the environments denuded -- so that not a single tree, not a single blade was in sight -- this the most honourable PM's observation, not mine; yet the state's CEO did not see. And all the state PKNS and two private firms got was a few taps on their wrists, and the state's politicians embarked on a few diversionary PR exercises over the few days following, hoping the people won't remember the scandalous Emperor's wearing no clothes incident.
But this is no more the 1970s and '80s -- we are just 15 years away from 2020 -- while Selangor is just five years as its expressed goal was to attain First World country-status by 2010 --when our dear country wishes to be right up there with Singapore, among developed nations, remember?
The citizens of today are more educated on their rights and expectations of what constitute good governance, civil society and transparency, accountability, and they won't keep silent anymore on such breaches of the law, by elected representatives and top appointed civil servants. They see with their eyes, and feel with their hearts when they witness clear cases of double standards in the implementation of national legislation and local authority Acts.
The neighbourhood of USJ8 Subang has successfully joined hands to demand for more accountability and responsibility from the local authorities and parties with vested interests in trying to ride rough-shod over them. The building of a food court on grounds meant for a police station there has been stalemated for now.
The victory to date is only partial -- but the people must rise up to say a "resounding no" to double standards, in action, that result in losses and drawbacks to the majority of the people, whether at the neighbourhood, state or national level. People's power united can help shape your future in a better direction. Act.