Saturday, 20 September 2008

Christian Leader Comments on MPs Crossing Over

I normally do not post or comment on political developments in the nation in my blog. However, when a Christian leader makes a press statement that seems to affect the Christian community, I would make an exception.

The Star reports what Rev Wong Kim Kong has to say about MPs crossing over to another political party:

National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia executive adviser Reverend Wong Kim Kong said a person was elected by the voters on the platform of his or her party.
“Using the back door to form the government is not credible and is an undignified way of creating a governing authority.

“No doubt the personality and individual’s track record are important but voters are also choosing you based on what your party represents, its principles and manifesto,” said Rev Wong.

Should an MP no longer have faith in the party he represented, Rev Wong said the honourable thing to do would be to resign and seek a fresh mandate from the voters.

Do we really vote for the candidate or the party? Are political matters so simplistic?

For another perspective, see my colleague's post on "To cross over or not to cross over."


Bob K said...

As usual, I think the Rev Wong Kim Kong is being unfair by being overly simplistic.

Malaysia uses the Westminster system whereby the assumption is that an MP acts primarily as a representative of his or her constituency. Party affiliation, if any, is a secondary concern. Hence the existence of independent MPs.

One characteristic that you'd find in the Westminster system compared to a mixed member proportional system (such as the system used in New Zealand) is that in the former, there is usually a larger disparity in terms of % of votes obtained and the % of seats occupied within the legislature.

For example, in Malaysia, the BN still retains control of 62.6% of the lower house despite its representatives garnering merely 52.2% of the popular votes. A more extreme development would be the 11th Parliament where the BN controlled 90.4% of the legislature with only 63.9% of the votes.

In the outgoing Parliament of NZ, the NZLP controls 41.3% of the legislature after having garnered 41.1% of the popular votes.

It would be more appropriate to view defection in NZ as being a technical betrayal of the voter's mandate compared to a similar situation in Malaysia.

Surely that would be obvious to someone as well read as Rev Wong. Then again, having not seen the full context of his statement, I might have been too hasty in making a judgement call.

Kar Yong said...

Thanks, Bob, for your input.

I concur with your observation that Rev Wong may have been too simplistic here.

Once again, perhaps, Rev Wong's statement has either been misquoted by press, or taken out of context, or misrepresented. But I won't bother to write in this time.

sp lim said...

The piece by William Leong which was posted by the Reb is one the best argument I've read so far to justify MPs crossing over. Of course, the writer may not be a neutral party but the arguments are based mainly on our Parliamentary system.

I'm sick of people telling the MPs to resign and get a fresh mandate from the people. Don't they know our present law doesn't allow that? Any MP who resigns is barred from contesting (for 5 years if I'm not mistaken)

Well, in the same report guess who agrees with Rev. Wong's stand? Muslim Consumers’ Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Dr Ma’amor Osman. That is the person who lodged a police report against Teresa Kok after she was detained and who supported the Govt's decision to arrest under the ISA.

Rev. Wong, we do not want anymore Christian MPs who are afraid of the Party Whip and who can only agonised and cry on his knees in the comfort of his own home but publicly is willing to betray his own conscience. The Party Whip is more fearful than his God. Thank God the people has booted out some of these Christian MPs in March.

I think under the present circumstances it is untenable for any Christian MP to remain in BN.

Kar Yong said...

Hi SP,
Thanks for articulating this very well in your blog as well. This was the topic of conversation among a few of us during our fellowship time after church this morning.

I just wish Rev Wong won't say things that would lead to misrepreseatation of the Christian community, and in the end, would leave us making lengthy explanation to others. Our time could be better used elsewhere. But again, perhaps, what he expressed is his personal opinion, and if this is so, then I strongly believe that NECF's name should be left out. I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that Rev Wong has been making far too many statements in recent months that not only lack theological depth but overly simplistic.

Sze Zeng said...

On the other hand, the Star and other media should also bear the blame for recklessly looking for unreliable/uninformed sources in their reporting.

But of course we know that the media, especially the Star, are government owned, as all Malaysians know. Hence the image the media trying to give to the public could be the ploy of their directors.

Kar Yong said...

Thanks, JW, for the input. But again, what's wrong for Rev Wong NOT to say anything?