The art of flip-flopping

SAPP has been issued with a show-cause letter. And they are given 30 full days to respond and come up with a good reason as to why they chose to voice their dissatisfaction with the current leadership by saying that they would support a motion of no-confidence in Parliament.

Which is not the whole point of what I’m trying to get at.

You see, this whole thing started when Yong Teck Lee first made that statement back last week, 18 June 2008. At that time, I dare say he surprised the wits out of a whole lot of people. Then, the BN decided that it is not SAPP’s decision, but Yong’s personal opinion.

Also at that time, Yong gave four reasons why SAPP has lost confidence in Pak Lah’s leadership, among them:

That no concrete action had been taken on the issue of illegal immigrants, despite repeated requests by SAPP and other Barisan component parties

So okay, complaint acknowledged. In fact, this is probably the first time I’ve seen the federal government working so fast to take care of a complaint. Based on personal experience, any complaint towards the way the government was doing things would be a needle in a haystack of paperwork, and probably never see the light of day. But then again, I am no state that has oil to boot.

So one week after they publicly made that complaint of the illegal immigrant issue, Najib comes up with a plan to “flush them out“. He says that the government is committed in wanting to take care of the problem. And I believe that he is going to lead this action.

But all of a sudden, it’s not what Sabah wants anymore. UMNO MP in Sabah, and brother of Sabah Chief Minister, Anifah Aman said that it is in fact not constitutional for the federal government to be heading such a movement, as anything to do with illegal immigrant problems are to be directly under the Chief Minister.

The Article in the Constitution to which Anifah Aman is referring to is Article 161E(4), which states:

In relation to any rights and powers conferred by federal law on the Government of the State of Sabah or Sarawak as regards entry into the State and residence in the State and matters connected therewith (whether or not the law is passed before Malaysia Day) Clause (2) shall apply, except in so far as the law provides to the contrary, as if the law had been embodied in the Constitution and those rights and powers had been included among the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e) of that Clause.

The above article refers back to Article 161E(2), which then states:

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution without the concurrence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the State of Sabah or Sarawak or each of the States of Sabah and Sarawak concerned, if the amendment is such as to affect the operation of the Constitution as regards any of the following matters:

(a) the right of persons born before Malaysia Day to citizenship by reason of a connection with the State, and (except to the extent that different provision is made by the Constitution as in force on Malaysia Day) the equal tratement, as regards their own citizenship and that of others, of persons born or resident in the State and of persons born or resident in the States of Malaya;

(b) the constitution and jurisdiction of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak and the appointment, removal and suspension of judges of that court;

(c) the matters with respect to which the Legislature of the State may (or Parliament may not) make laws, and the executive authority of the State in those matters, and (so far as related thereto) the financial arrangements between the Federation and the State;

(d) religion in the State, the use in the State or in Parliament of any language and the special treatment of natives of the State;

(e) the allocation to the State, in any Parliament summoned to meet before the end of August 1970, of a quota of members of the House of Representatives not less, in proportion to the total allocated to the other States which are members of the Federation on Malaysia Day, than the quota allocated to the State on that Day.

I am no Constitution lawyer, and I also don’t study law. So I’m definitely not savvy about what the whole article actually means. But to me, I don’t see where in the above article it states that matters of illegal immigrants are to be cared for by the Sabah Chief Minister. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Assuming I am, and assuming that what Anifah Aman is saying now is true, then why is it that the authorities in Sabah have never taken any action in curbing the rising problem of illegal immigrants right up to this minute? And assuming that Anifah Aman is correct, then why was SAPP President Yong Teck Lee making the issue of illegal immigrants one of the issues that he was disappointed with the Federal Government?

Yong Teck Lee said that Sabahans are disillusioned because so far, BN has made no concrete move in curbing the problem of the illegal immigrants in Sabah. But Anifah Aman says that it is actually un-constitutional for a member of the Federal Government to lead any action against the illegal immigrants, and it should actually be done by the Sabah Chief Minister.

One would assume that Yong Teck Lee and Anifah Aman are not on the same page, because UMNO is the backbone of BN, whereas Yong Teck Lee has claimed that SAPP has been treated as no more than a “stepson” by Barisan Nasional.

But no, Yong Teck Lee has decided to show his support for Anifah Aman, backing his claim that what Najib proposes to do is un-constitutional.

In the time frame of one week, Yong Teck Lee had started off blaming the federal government for not taking concrete action, and ended the week by supporting Anifah Aman in saying that whatever the federal government wants to do is against the constitution.

If Pak Lah is indeed the “king of flip-flop”, as some have identified him, then surely this has rubbed off on Yong Teck Lee. He has most definitely demonstrated his mastery of the art of flip-flopping.

*Read also mana-mana.


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