Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin must be the most misinformed minister about parliamentary democracy and accountability. He seems to be at a loss as in understanding the workings of a democracy or appreciating the functions of Parliament.
He doesn't make sense when he recently said that the public is not mature enough to accept MPs' behaviour and racially-charged debates. What is his criteria for coming to this conclusion? He is both insulting and insinuating. He doesn't seem to have any healthy regard for Malaysians or their intelligence.
When he says that the public is not mature enough to accept MPs' behaviour and racially-charged debates, is he suggesting that the public must tolerate the obnoxious behaviour of certain MPs whose performance in Parliament leaves much to be desired? And pray tell us, why should debates in parliament be 'racially-charged'? Is this the norm in our parliament which he is trying to keep under wraps?
His comments seem to infer that the Barisan Nasional MPs must be the guilty ones in conduct and sentiment. If the culprits were the opposition MPs, surely the information minister would have loved to go to town in portraying them as misbehaving, recalcitrant, and racial in their entire outlook.
But he will not fool the public. They will not forgive him for his arrogance but will remember him for his infantile conclusion.
The public knows why he has to resort to this silly antic. He knows how annoyed and upset thinking Malaysians were - and still are - at what was said - and how it was said - at the recent Umno general assembly. It was a display of the worst kind of racial prejudice driven by, it seemed, nothing but sheer greed . Even the BN partners who had been sticking together and tolerating the unreasonable demands of Umno found the delegates' behaviour and actions intolerable this time.
Why, surprisingly, even Umno is talking about taking some form of action against these delegates for their extreme behaviour. Umno's action amounts to damage control for the terrible public relations disaster the delegates have inflicted upon the party.
Now that they have learnt a bitter lesson, we must never allow them to forget this. When debates are telecast, they would be forced to be responsible and reasonable. Their conduct would have to be ethical and acceptable.
If, on the other hand, the BN were to ban live telecasts, either parliamentary or political, it would only encourage such obnoxious behaviour to continue behind closed doors. Are we suggesting that racially-charged debates can and should continue unabated as long as this is out of the voters' hearing range?
Zam must grow up and be serious in his views otherwise he will become a laughing stock.
The writer is president, Aliran.