KUCHING: Who are the towkays (bosses) - the Politicians or the People?
This is the question being asked by politicians and rakyat from both the Opposition and Barisan Nasional.
President of Parti Rakyat Sarawak James Masing said that the politicians are the bosses and advised voters to ‘follow a rule of life – jangan lawan towkay’.
“In any organisation, including political parties, we cannot go against our boss. That is the golden rule in life which we must observe,” Masing said in defence of his Vice-President Mong Dagang who is also the Assistant Minister of Agriculture (Research and Marketing).
Dagang had written a letter to the Assistant Director of Agriculture ordering him to cease all subsidies and welfare allowance to Frusis Lebi who is deformed in both hands and legs because he was a strong supporter of the Opposition.
Since last October Lebi did not receive the subsidies and the welfare allowance.
But Sarawak DAP Secretary Chong Chieng Jen said that what Masing said that ‘jangan lawan towkay’ (don’t challenge the boss) is totally unacceptable.
“Ministers are public servants of the rakyat. Every five years the ministers have to submit their resumes for re-appointment or re-election by the people.
“In many occasions especially during the election times we can hear that some of BN leaders say that the rakyat are the boss. But the BN leaders are only paying lip service.
“In their mind they treat themselves as the boss and the people as their servants.
“This is a clear example of the mentality of the BN senior politician and senior minister. No wonder the rural people have been neglected,” said Chong who is the Kota Sentosa Assemblyman.
He added: “This is the typical mentality that results in the neglect by the BN of the rural people’s needs and development.
“Not only Mong has to apologise, Masing should also apologise especially to the voters in his (Baleh) constituency.
“Masing’s remark is also contrarily to 1Malaysia slogan where ‘rakyat first, performance now’.
“To Masing, the ministers come first because the minsters are the boss. That is his interpretation and his mentality.
“Nevertheless, whatever he said we still continue to press this matter in parliament. I think this is a clear breach of the constitution and I will challenge Najib (Prime Minister) what he has to say when his BN party leader has openly said that ministers are 'towkays' and the people are the servants, and the servants must obey the towkays,” said Chong who is the Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament.
Commenting on the same issue, Sarawak PKR Vice-Chairman See Chee How said the arrogance manifested by Masing calls for the severest political censure condemnation.
“With the exposure of the misdeed by his party Vice-President and state Assistant minister Mong Dagang, one would have expected Masing, as a Senior State Minister, to mollify the damages that have been inflicted on image of the BN government.
“Instead, the Senior State Minister amplified the contemptuous act by challenging the most fundamental ideals of a democracy that a government is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people".
“His callous remark that the people should not go against the government because the government is boss (“towkay”) reflects terribly on the BN leadership of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister.
“It is obvious that the reign since independence has made him egoistic and arrogant,” said See, who is the Batu Lintang assemblyman.
“Masing should be taught that the relationship between the government and the people is like the ship and the water.
“The water can keep you afloat, it can also sink you,” he pointed out.