UPDATE: 1st May 2008
Ong Ka Ting interviewed by Sin Chew Daily: Read here for more
"...MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting says the party NO longer recognises Malay supremacy as well as mono-racial and mono-religious policies, because such practices have deprived the rights and interests of the other races.--- End of Update
Ong said the spirit of the Constitution has often been interpreted narrowly by some people, including the unilateral interpretation of the Malay privileges, the non-Malays have no right to propose alternatives.
He pointed out that under the Constitution, when they stress on the Malay privileges, it must also, at the same time, be interpreted together with the article 153 (7) of the Constitution. The rights of the non-Malays CANNOT be denied..
He accused some Malay newspapers of slanting MCA's statements or his statements on Malay supremacy..
He said today’s society, including some Malays are using extremist speeches, when talking about hegemony, power abuse, corruption and waste of public funds.
Ong stressed that political parties must... abandon the concept of Bumiputra and non-Bumiputra. In his view, it is feasible to stop using “Bumiputra” and “non-Bumiputra” in policies and laws, because the public opinion shows that the people, especially the new generation, do not like to have this type of racial distinction."
"MCA Back-Bencher-cum-President MCA Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting threw off the shackles today and trampled on all the sensitive topics (in Parliament) that he and the MCA have studiously avoided over the years.
Ong Ka Ting the ordinary backbencher is certainly sounding more substantial and frank than Ong the Cabinet minister.
If this is the approach that MCA politicians will take from now on, they could end up stealing the thunder from the Opposition and also put them on the path of confrontation with Umno and the powerful religious authorities." Read here for more
Interestingly, how come THIS time around UMNO did NOT screen the MCA President's speech before he delivered in Parliament? Totally out of character of UMNO's normal behaviour !
Will we have to wait too long for UMNO Youth to ask Ong Ka Ting to withdraw parts of his speech for questioning the Syariah court and to apologise to all Muslims? Or a police report by UMNO YOUTH for insulting the police? Perhaps a delegation of Mat-Rempits paid for by UMNO Youth treasurer to MCA Hq or to Ong Ka Ting's house with a threatening memo? Or a street demonstration?
Cast your bets, folks, on the likely options from UMNO /UMNO Youth that will take place.
Ong Ka Ting said in Parliament:
Ong welcomed the announcement of the restructuring of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the establishment of the Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC), the Parliamentary Committee on the Prevention of Corruption, and the Anti-Corruption Board.
Non-Muslims are not to be subject to any form of Syariah laws, and for any disputes or overlapping areas between the jurisdiction of the civil and Syariah courts, civil laws must prevail. We urge the government to be transparent in this process to avoid a repeat of the cases mentioned above. We cannot help but notice that the composition of our judiciary does not reflect the multi-racial aspect of our society. If a child was unilaterally converted to Islam by one parent without the consent of the other parent, the child should be allowed to maintain his or her original religion until he or she attains a majority age where the child can decide on the religion of his or her choice. Should a dispute on the child's faith arise, the religion must remain as status quo until the child reaches the majority age of 18 years old, upon which the child will decide. The mind-set that the government cannot help partially-aided schools is completely rejected by the rakyat, especially in this era when our nation’s core leaders emphasise developing human capital.Nobody loses out if the Ministry of Education treats all schools as government schools. The rakyat expects the police to be effective in arresting snatch thieves, rapists, robbers and other criminals. Meanwhile, corruption is rampant among law enforcers.
Ong said the government must help the poor and disadvantaged regardless of race and ethnicity
On the Judicial Commission for the appointment and promotion of judges, Ong called for a strict vetting process of candidates "to avert any accusation that only the connected are being considered for judgeship."
Ong also called for open tenders in government procurement, as this will foster more competition and help reduce operational costs.
Ong called for a time-frame for all government bodies to process all types of applications and announce these to the public.
Ong called for heavier penalties against corrupt civil servants or those in the private sector, including withdrawing pension benefits from the latter.
MORAL OF THE STORY
For Presidents of component parties working with UMNO in BN to find his/her voice and to show some element of credibility, don't take any Cabinet post.
Research Finding from the Parliament Session: A President of a political party in an UMNO-led BN Government who is a backbencher is more effective politically than a President of a political party holding a cabinet post in Government.
Research Recommendation: Change the constitutions of the component political parties in the Umno-led Government to disallow their Presidents to hold any cabinet post (exception applied for UMNO since the President of UMNO is more powerful than the members of the party.)
Unfortunately, we do not have the benefit of the presence of Samy Vellu and Koh Tsu Koon in Parliament to further confirm this finding, though they might even be MORE effective as an un-elected President of their respective party.