Monday, November 12, 2007
Opposition are 'pondans' - Nazri's tirade
Insults were rained on the opposition in the Dewan Rakyat today over the massive rally held in Kuala Lumpur over the weekend.
Without mincing his words, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz lashed out at the opposition, calling them among others, "pondan" (wimps).
It started when Che Azmi A Rahman (BN-Kuala Nerus) told Nazri that he failed to grasp the logic behind the rally which called for electoral reforms.
The rally, organised by the opposition-backed Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), saw some 40,000 people taking to the streets and the submission of a memorandum to the King.
"The opposition has won seats in the previous elections, especially in Kelantan. Why are they calling for the Election Commission (EC) to be freer and fairer?" asked Che Azmi.
"Are they implying that their respective victories were a result of the EC's failure to be free and fair?" he added.
Responding to this, Nazri (BN-Padang Renggas) said it would be pointless to try and understand the reason behind the rally as the "brains of opposition members do not function well."
"If I were to describe this in the language of today's youths, I would have to say that the wires in their heads are severed. I don't understand why they claim that the EC is unfair," he added.
Fails to understand Anwar
Nazri also said that he was puzzled by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
"I would understand if he (Anwar) says that the EC is unfair after losing an election, but he hasn't even contested to say that the EC is unfair and that's why I say that his head does not function well."
According to the minister, the opposition icon realises that he will lose in the coming elections should he contest for a seat.
"Not just lose, but lose terribly," he added. "That's the reason why Anwar is trying to create a smoke screen so that he can say the EC is not fair when he loses."
The minister then dismissed the episode as a "pondan matter" which required no further attention.
By the end of Nazri's tirade, opposition leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) was already fuming and described the minister's response as being "very irresponsible".
"We are serious in this matter, and we are not playing politics. The real question here is whether the electoral roll has many defects. We saw thousands of people in the gathering. Is the government ready to give a positive response instead of making baseless and wild accusations?" he said.
Lim also refuted the government's stand that the opposition had dragged the royalty into politics.
"The King is the fountain of justice. Is it not the government's responsibility to uphold the dignity of the monarchy and not insult it in this issue?" he asked.
"Don't politicise the gathering by saying that it's a racial gathering. There was nothing racial about it. People from all parties and races were present so it is a national issue and not a political issue that can be played up by the ruling government," he said.
Lim noted that the government sympathised with the pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma but react differently when it happens in Malaysia.
'King is behind us'
An irate Nazri retorted by shouting that the rally was illegal as no police permit was granted.
"Yang Di Pertua (Speaker), this is a man (Lim) whose 'wires in the head have severed'. We support the demonstrations in Myanmar (Burma) as there's no democracy there. But we have democracy here, which is through the elections, not through street demonstrations," he said.
"Don't try to drag the King into this. The King and the people are behind us. They (the opposition) are afraid to face the next elections. If you've no courage, don't become a 'pondan'," he said.
Earlier, Nazri, in replying to a query from Che Azmi, said the government has no intention to drawing up a law to allow citizens to be automatically registered as voters upon reaching 21 years of age.
He said the law would not be formulated as the system is not appropriate to be implemented as yet.
"Many Malaysians who shift to another state or district do not inform the National Registration Department of their new address.
"In this case, they have to return to their previous constituency to cast their votes and it creates the possibility for a very poor voter turnout as many will be reluctant to travel to their previous constituencies to vote," he said.