Monday, December 26, 2005

The Whip

It all started with this report in The Star last week:
KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s groups are against proposed changes to a Bill which
appears to enhance Muslim men’s rights in cases of polygamy and make divorce
simpler for them.
The Bill is expected to be tabled in the Dewan Negara tomorrow. Some women senators told The Star that they would object to the Bill or vote against it.
And then, a day later:
KUALA LUMPUR: Women senators who have been up in arms against the controversial family law Bill, which they say will lead to erosion of their rights, will have no choice but to vote for it.
All talk of breaking ranks to vote against the Bill dissipated after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz spoke to them in small groups before talking to a group of 25 senators, including the 19 women.
Anxious to ensure that Barisan Nasional senators toe the line, he warned that he was invoking the Whip (are they f*cking kidding me??) and ordered the 19 Barisan women senators to vote for the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 when it comes up for debate today.

“They are free to debate and speak their mind, but when it comes to a vote, they have to follow,” Nazri told a hastily called press conference. The Bill must go through. No question about that,” said Nazri, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs.
The 19 women senators were lined up against a contentious Islamic Bill, which having been unanimously passed under protest, eroded their rights while enhancing the men’s.
On the eve of the debate, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz invoked the whip, compelling the women senators to toe the party line. They did. Each said that despite her conscience, “I am a loyal party member and will obey.”
So that's the concept of democracy in Malaysia, huh? We have a Cabinet who gets to decide which bills to pass, however, although it's in theory a vote, members are told to 'toe the line' and vote for whatever the powers-that-be want. And in this case, apparently something about making it easier for men to practise polygamy.
So maybe I sucked in GP during A-levels. And didn't take political sciences in undergrad. Would someone then explain to me how this can be considered democracy?
Especially for a chauvinistic and controversial topic such as this. Wow. This would set our mindset back a couple of centuries. MCPs, every farking single one of us.


Blogger Sylvia said...

Thanks for visiting my blog:-) The only thing I know right know is that I would really like to work with people. But the problem is I´m almost never sure of anything these days, especially when it comes to what I´m going to to for the rest of my life.

Nice blog by the way!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Well, it has never been a right democracy in our country if you notice. What to do? They even have bills to protect their undisputable rights. What rights? I really don't know.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous distinguished mediocrity said...

sometimes when i think of briyani and nasi lemak and char koay teow, i'm immensely proud of where i come from.

other times, less so.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous sabrina said...

good to see that you've brought this up. i am appalled by it. no women's rights at all. so called democracy. bah.
like i've said, i'll shake my head.

10:05 AM  
Blogger YeePei said...

Suddenly I see a dire need to get out of the country asap. Bah. This sucks.

10:35 AM  
Blogger piffles said...

was reading tons of theories and ideologies during the wkend (u know la, my stoopid assignment is still not done) and i.... couldn't figure out which one m'sia adopts. more authoritarian i wld say, but sometimes societal corporatism... but whatever it is, democracy is just a facade.

but not just in our country.

7:09 AM  

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