LETTER | We were so used to wakil rakyat and ministers of the old BN regime clinging on to their posts like barnacles to the ship of state even after scandals were exposed but are we to expect the same from peoples’ representatives in the “New Malaysia” under Pakatan Harapan?
If those MPs who rode to victory at the polls on the back of voters who thought that they were totally committed to the struggle to remove Lynas from Kuantan have any integrity in their bones, they would resign forthwith if their Harapan government decides to allow Lynas to continue operating in Kuantan.
Every MP knows that misleading Parliament is considered a heinous crime. But what about misleading the voters? Is that not thought to be a resigning matter? Why should misleading Parliament be regarded so much more seriously than doing the same thing to the voters?
Politicians who told the electorate that they would “Stop Lynas & Save Malaysia” if the voters voted for them at GE14 cannot justify staying on if their own government decides to do the same as the old BN regime. They cannot try and rationalise the situation by claiming that they are not “Yes-men”. Wasn’t this the old taunt by DAP leaders that Gerakan was trying to “rectify” the BN but that they were not “yes-men”? Does having yes-men or no-men in the new government make any difference to the people of Kuantan if Lynas stays? Have they become MCA 2.0?
Resigning from office is a critical ethical decision for real eco-warriors. The act of resigning reinforces integrity, responsibility and accountability. By resigning, individuals in office are merely living up to their promises made to their electorate. The voters, in turn, expect their elected representative to make good those promises and to be able to be effective. If the elected representatives fail to achieve the most important objective which is to stop Lynas, there can be no stronger moral reason than for them to resign their seats.
In 2003, then leader of the House of Commons in the UK, Robin Cook, resigned over the Iraq invasion. It earned him a standing ovation in the House of Commons. Harold Wilson resigned as a junior minister protesting at the introduction of NHS medical charges. Following the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in 1982, Richard Luce, then minister for state for foreign affairs resigned from his post. And as the press turned against the government and public unrest grew, Lord Carrington resigned along with two of his junior ministers on the principle of ministerial mismanagement:
"It made me feel that principled resignation as a matter of honour was good for our democratic system."
After decades without such a tradition in "Old Malaysia", here is an opportune moment for those that spoke out so loudly, who marched so heroically and campaigned so vigorously for an environment free from the long-term health hazards that the waste from a rare earths facility can bring … to honour their commitment to the voters, take a stand and step down. Tell the so-called “New Malaysian” government that you will not pawn your integrity for old BN careerism.
The writer is Suaram adviser.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.