CONTEMPORARY MALAYSIA

con·tem·po·rar·y - Modern times in its generic sense, living, occurring, or existing, at the same time; often also used as a synonym for "modern" Ma·lay·sia - A country of southeast Asia consisting of the southern Malay Peninsula and the northern part of the island of Borneo.

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Penampang
: The Barisan Nasional (BN) Supreme Council should take disciplinary action against the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) at its next meeting over the party's stated intention to support any no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin made the suggestion after the official opening of his Api Api Division's Annual General Meeting by LDP Organising Secretary Yong Vui Chung, Sunday.

"If no action is taken against SAPP over its unprecedented move, then other parties may follow suit in future. In that case, Barisan Nasional (BN) will lose its credibility and integrity. It will completely lose its effectiveness and be relegated to a powerless coalition," Chin, who is Api Api Division Chief, told reporters.

On the contention that no action was taken against certain Umno leaders for calling on the Prime Minister to step down after the March 8 general election, so no action should be taken against SAPP, he argued that the call from Umno leaders and SAPP's intention to support any no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister are two different things.

He did not elaborate. Meanwhile, Chin hinted at the possibility of him relinquishing his party posts after his current term expires next year.

"I may not be around, so perhaps it's time to start identifying potential leaders to take over," he quipped.

Also present were Merotai Assemblyman Pang Yuk Ming, LDP Youth Chief Chin Shu Ying and Wanita Chief Datin Naomi Chong Set Mui.

Earlier, in his address, Chin said unfortunately, despite the growing sentiment against the BN, particularly in the peninsula, Chinese leaders from the coalition failed to send this message across during BN meetings.

"Instead, they kept saying that the majority of the Chinese community would still vote for BN.

"That was before the general election but after the election, there was an odd twist when certain Chinese leaders changed their stand drastically, especially from SAPP, which passed a vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister's leadership."

The Deputy President said as far as LDP is concerned, SAPP had made a mistake for taking such a drastic move.

"In fact, LDP agrees with certain issues raised by SAPP but within the BN family, we must abide by BN principles and are not supposed to take drastic action that is tantamount to threatening the leadership of the country.

"If SAPP did not pass a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister, LDP would go all the way in supporting the issues raised by SAPP, particularly those concerning the interests and well-being of the rakyat."

On the March 8 General Election, he said prior to it certain leaders in Umno became quite adamant and ignored the voices of the rakyat, while certain leaders were weak in decision-making.

"The people felt this is one of the contributing factors to the BN's dismal performance in the election."

After the general election, certain BN component parties thought that Umno had become "too big", "simply because some component parties had been sending wrong signals to Umno."

"For instance, during the BN meetings before the election, some component parties did not convey the real situation and feelings on the ground to Umno leaders." Chin recalled that during that particular time, LDP was facing the Mazu Statue project issue in Kudat.

"We asked for discussions on the matter but, unfortunately, none of the other BN component parties responded. Instead, one or two fellow brothers in the BN coalition even took advantage of the situation to attack LDP.

"It was also sad to see certain religious groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) getting involved in the Mazu issue," he told the delegates.

On another note, he said within a political party, we must emphasise the importance of group leadership and not personal ideology.

"As the saying goes, leaders come and go. When a leader leaves, he or she must ensure that the right person will take over the position. Otherwise, the party is undermined and will become weak," he pointed out.

On incumbent MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting's decision not to defend his post in the party elections, Chin said Ong must have listened to the voices and seen the signals coming from party members and the rakyat.

This, he said, should remind us that it is crucial to place the party's and country's interests above all else.

"As such, we respect (Datuk Seri) Ong's decision. He is a good leader and under his leadership, MCA has brought about positive contributions to the country."

Chin also reminded the delegates that in politics, despite good work and services, if one commits a single mistake, at the end of the day, one has to face party members and the rakyat and be answerable to them. "So let us remember that as political leaders, we must be ready to give and take."

On BN component parties such as Umno, MCA and Parti Gerakan holding their respective elections within this year, he noted that in the present party's election system, leaders are elected by delegates to the various posts.

From another perspective, Chin said, it seems that to a certain extent, the outcome of the elections does not reflect the wisdom of party members.

"This is why it is very important for delegates to put aside money politics, and not accept the order of certain leaders to vote for certain candidates."

He called on delegates to use their wisdom in choosing leaders who can really serve the party, people and country.

"As such, the challenges and experiences during the last general election should amply serve as a caution to party delegates to exercise their maturity and wisdom in choosing leaders who can lead and contribute to the nation."