Live with your guilt, you truant MPs


PR supporters can cry themselves to sleep knowing that the opposition MPs could have delayed the passing of POTA but did not

Ishmael Lim, Free Malaysia Today

Pakatan Rakyat supporters will have to cry themselves to sleep knowing that the federal opposition MPs could have delayed the passing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) but did not. Sixty Pakatan MPs were present and accounted for, but 26 were absent for unknown reasons. The bill passed without revisions, 79 to 60.

To the 60 Pakatan stalwarts who were present, kudos to you for taking your jobs seriously. We understand it was a long session and your energy was at a low, but you stood your ground and held the fort for what it is worth. You have every reason to hold your heads up high.

We have heard all the impassioned pleas by the opposition that this bill is unjust, unconstitutional and downright unfair. But what did they do when they had the chance to foil the passing of this bill, or at the very least, have it revised? They were nowhere in blue blazes to be seen.

Spare a thought for the PR supporters, civil society activists and demonstrators who took to the streets and risked their liberty and safety to carry your messages on placards and picket signs. They believed in you and the message that POTA was wide open to abuse, that POTA’s structure could easily be used on common folk with nothing to do with terrorism and merely exercising their democratic right to peacefully disagree. They expected the underdog MPs that they voted for to hold their end of the bargain in the august Parliament, to stop the tide of bad laws that would further jeopardise the freedom and liberty of the people.

If the 79 Barisan MPs had the resolve and stamina to stay their course, what excuse do the 26 absent Pakatan MPs have not to support their 60 comrades who stayed to oppose till 2.25am in the wee hours of the morning?