On ethics, morality and tenacity

Gan Peck Cheng

About 10, days ago I came across a news snippet on second-term DAP assemblyman Gan Peck Cheng (52 years old) being appointed deputy speaker of the Johor state assembly. She was once a kindergarten teacher.

This 50-word report continued that she had lost five times before! Gan had first contested in GE8 in 1990 losing in the Pontian parliamentary seat, which was then an MCA stronghold. She secured 39 per cent of the ballots cast.

She moved to the Penggeram state seat in the Batu Pahat parliamentary constituency and lost in GE9, GE10, GE11 and GE12, garnering 22 per cent, 25 per cent, 26 per cent and 45 per cent respectively of the ballots cast. And in GE13, she finally succeeded with 62 per cent of the popular votes, and 64 per cent in GE14.

How does one begin to understand her dogged determination? Her party couldn’t have provided her with much funding and surely her sponsors and supporters would have dwindled after her third failed attempt.

Besides, at best PH could accomplish was to become more raucous oppositionists in the assembly.

Johor Umno/Barisan Nasional losing the state was quite unimaginable before the May 9 incident.

Gan’s sheer tenacity is like a tale lifted from a fable on fantastic facts and fancies! I am told there are many in DAP with remarkable perseverance.

Was Umno or MCA bothered enough to study and analyse this DAP phenomenon?

One may detect a bit of leniency extended when High Court judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak granted the temporary gag order and agreed to the reduced bail at RM1 million (against RM4 million proposed by the prosecution) on the case of the criminal charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

But when we learned the judge is a younger brother of an Umno Pahang strongman, who is a fourth term state exco member, we wonder how the judge, judicial commissioner since 2005, hadn’t seen it fit to recuse himself?

Didn’t it bother him that “justice wouldn’t be seen as done”, and the bench’s reputation could be further compromised?

The issues are so basic it is almost an embarrassment to have to raise them. For too long now morality and ethics have not figured enough in our governance equation; it’s like if the law does not explicitly disallow, it is permissible.

The Malaysia Baru cabinet must insist that morality and ethics are weighed in on all policy decisions and implementations.

While waiting for the swearing in of the additional cabinet members and deputy ministers, there were reminders that the selection is the prime minister’s “prerogative”.

I think getting the PM’s “concurrence” is more appropriate as coalition partners must agree on the cabinet posts and the candidature collectively.

There will be some “jostling”, and the opposition and the media will have a field day with speculations. The reverse is authoritarianism or Malaysia Lama.

PBBM or Bersatu has been touted as Umno Baru 2.0 because the leadership comprises Umno dissidents. Its membership rolls may even outnumber Umno’s eventually.

PKR, DAP and Amanah must take care that Bersatu is not the boss, but owing to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s eminence, is the facilitator (chairman) in the presidential council.

This council mustn’t evolve into the BN supreme council where dominant Umno holds the chair, deputy chair and secretary-general positions.

For Malaysia Baru to be sustainable, PH must have an unshakeable resolve that the PM is the first amongst equals and not the supremo as embedded in the BN administration.

God bless Malaysia Baru!

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