Friday, May 05, 2006

Shahrir's second resignation not shocking

Parilamentary Backbenchers Club (BBC) Chairman Sharir Samad's resignation from the caucus of government supporters in the national legislature is not that shocking if we remember he also once resigned as the National Front/Umno Member of Parliament of Johor Baru in 1988 to immediately re-contest it as an independent candidate against Dr.Mahathir Mohamad's National Front again to show that he personally enjoyed the support of the constituency. Sharir was anti-Mahathir and pro-Razaleigh in the 1987-1988 Umno split.

I still remember Sharir used the symbol of Three Keys or Tiga Kunci with a yellow background. Many opposition leaders, members and supporters from DAP, PAS and PRM assisted in his electoral campaign in the famous Johor Baru by-election which saw a humiliating defeat of the National Front candidate by a 10,000-margin. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was, of course, fumed and he later ammended the Federal Constitution to disallow any MP from resigning his or her seat and contest immediately in the subsequent by-election.

If I do not remember it wrongly, Dr. Mahathir, who personally attended a campaign ceremah in the by-election, condemned Sharir as being "individialistic", "irresponsible" and "trecherous" for quitting the seat and contesting against the National Front. Sharir's supporters, of course, described the fight as being "democracy versus dictatorship".

What is still absolutely clear in my memory is that the first night I arrived at Johor Baru to organise campaigns in support of Sharir, I could not find any more hotel rooms to lodge in because thousands of campaign workers from both side of the political divides all over the country had swarmed the city. So, my group slept at the kaki lima (not inside!) of a 'massage parlour' called 88 in Chinese in Taman Pelangi.

At that time, Parliamentaty Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng were still inside Kamunting after being detained without trial under the ISA on 27 October, 1987. Lee Lam Thye (now Tan Sri) was the acting DAP secretary-general and Parliamentary Opposition Leader and the Acting Opposition Whip was Sim Kwang Yang.

However, Sharir later joined Dr. Mahathir's "dictatorial" Umno Baru and returned to the unchanged National Front which still rules through oppressive laws like the Internal Security Act, Printing Presses and Publications Act, Sedition Act, Universities and University Colleges Act and Official Secret Act.

Having seen and gone through all those much hyped Manichean dramas of heroes and villains, I am only 44. Thanks be to God.


Blogger The Malaysian. said...

You have presented the issue of his resignation from a very different and interesting perspective. Thank you. I learn a little daily from your blog. I support him on this one though, because the way the matter of the Jasin MP being 'hushed' in the august House is, I feel, incorrect. I have written several articles on this matter at my blog. Please do peruse them and give me the benefit of your advice and comments.

9:15 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

It is just a backgrounder and a personal reflection of an episode in the country's political development. Really, I did not say Sharir is wrong or not right. On the contrary, I always admire his outspokenness. The question is how much a personalised or individualistic hero can change the entire political structure and political culture of the BN system?

9:37 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

Sifu Jeff Ooi has also offered a very insightful and out-of-box observation of the Master Script in his latest entry Sandiwara? Get the master script!

10:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home