COMMENT | DAP has pushed for freedom of speech and the press as core values of a free and democratic society.
Yet in only eight months, DAP is evolving into its antithesis seeking to intimidate and win multimillion-dollar suits against its political opponents, media houses as well as its own voters who hold divergent views.
It strikes as the antithesis of democracy when you display zero tolerance to dissent by silencing or intimidating your critics from a position of strength and power when an elected representative, from DAP, A Sivanesan (photo, above), who was corralled into power by voters, pulls the carpet from under his voters' feet and files a defamation suit against four individuals.
One of whom is a young simple farmer who in all probability had voted for him.
Instead of assisting the villagers, the Sungkai state assemblyperson and exco member does the unbelievable thing of hauling this Perak voter to court.
Pray, what could have farmer Poh Wai Sheng, 23, uttered that Sivanesan felt offended or threatened as a state exco member?
It is more of a bullying gesture to silence dissent from a party that advocates democracy and freedom of speech.
Politicians should expect and welcome criticism whether warranted or otherwise. In this case, the criticism is constructive in nature; the elected representative must be a good listener and a sympathiser in order to address the woes of his or her constituents.
Perak farmers were given the impression by DAP during GE14 that their farms would be saved. Sivanesan, therefore, should perform his level best to protect the farm, or come up with a viable alternative.
On a macro scale, which is more worrisome, if a state assemblyperson-cum-exco can sue a common, humble farmer, will other Malaysians be susceptible to court cases if they insist that the Pakatan Harapan coalition, its federal and state governments, its senators, members of Parliament and state assemblypersons honour their promises or election manifesto?
This will be the first case in the history of Malaysia, where a state assemblyperson sues his voters. Will there be more such cases when voters place higher expectations on their elected representatives and the ruling government in a new Malaysia?
Sinavesan's action has laid bare the sheer hypocrisy and empty promises of DAP.
All its cries that “democracy is dead” were just a superficial front and never a commitment to hold true to their words.
TI LIAN KER is an MCA vice-president and senator
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.