PETALING JAYA, 31 Oct 2008: The MCA and Gerakan may have come out against the Internal Security Act (ISA) but to date, none of their parliamentary representatives have signed an opposition-initiated petition against the act.
The petition, started by the Repeal ISA Parliamentary Caucus that was spearheaded by the Pakatan Rakyat on 21 Oct, seeks the prime minister’s permission to allow a debate on the act in Parliament.
As of 23 Oct, the caucus collected 85 signatures, including one signature from a BN component party representative.
Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Hulu Rejang, Billy Abit Joo, was the only BN representative who signed the petition before it was submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office.
When contacted, MCA Youth Chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong admitted that he had been approached by the caucus’ members to sign the petition but had rejected it.
“If we (MCA MPs) did not sign the petition, it did not mean that we have no guts.
“It’s just that the ruling coalition has a different way of doing things from the opposition,” said Wee, who is also Deputy Education Minister and MP for Ayer Hitam.
He said debating an act, for it to be amended, was a passive way of solving the problem as all acts needed the cabinet’s approval before amendment.
“Even if they are allowed to debate about it, they can keep debating until the cows come home but the law will still remain the same.
“We have to go back to the conventional structure, which is to go through the cabinet, if we want to amend any law,” he said.
He added that the petition could be another opportunity for political mileage for the opposition and the MCA did not need to support it as the party had its own forum of airing its views to the BN.
The MCA’s MP for Labis Chua Tee Yong shared Wee’s sentiments and believed there would eventually be changes in the act but not now.
“MCA has called for the act to be reviewed because we believe that such law is needed in the country, just as in other countries, to keep law and order.
“But we want the act to be reviewed so that it will not be easily abused,” he said.
Chua, however, said he could not recall if the caucus had approached him to sign the petition but he was confident that it was merely an attempt at gaining political mileage for the opposition.
Wanita Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, who is one of the two Gerakan MPs, said she would not support the petition.
“Gerakan has passed a resolution for the act to be reviewed so that it will not be misused and I stand by my party’s resolution.
“I do not want to support the petition because I do not want other people to ride on us (Gerakan) for political mileage,” said Tan.