KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional has endorsed MCAs decision to suspend its two state assemblymen who abstained from voting against an opposition motion at the Penang State Assembly last month.
Prime Minister and Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, however, said the coalition would decide later when to lift the suspension, based on their behaviour.
On Dec 16, MCA imposed an indefinite suspension on Tan Cheng Liang (Jawi) and Lim Boo Chang (Datuk Keramat) after they abstained from voting against the motion on the Penang Outer Ring Road project.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the Barisan supreme council meeting yesterday, Dr Mahathir said that in future all Barisan elected representatives would be subject to the discipline spelt out under new regulations.
The regulations would make it clear what their responsibilities were and that they would have to be united in supporting the coalitions stand on any issue.
If they breach this discipline, then the Barisan (not any component party) will take action, Dr Mahathir said.
He said the discussion on the two assemblymen was carried out in the true spirit of the coalition to find a solution and not to score points or get a pound of flesh from anyone.
He said MCA's action against its two assemblymen had been based on the premise that there was no Barisan regulation stipulating that a component party could not act or had to refer such cases to the coalition.
So the question is whether the Barisan wants to pressure MCA to sack the two or whether it would rather determine the period of suspension.
We are of the view there is no need to enhance the sentence of the two. We accept their suspension and will decide for how long this should be, he said.
Dr Mahathir said that during their suspension, the two would remain as MCA members in the assembly but would lose their privileges in the party and not be allowed to hold party posts.
Although they are suspended, they are still MCA members. So, they cannot speak out or oppose or act against Barisan whether inside or outside the assembly, he added.
On the factors the coalition would take into account when considering the lifting of the suspension, Dr Mahathir said:
Obviously, the behaviour of the two members, if they misbehave or do some funny things.
Dr Mahathir also announced that the meeting accepted the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party as the latest component party of Barisan.
The SPDP was formed to take the place of the Sarawak National Party, which was deregistered by the Registrar of Societies for its failure to resolve a leadership dispute.
SPDP pro tem president Datuk William Mawan Ikom said the party appreciated and was grateful to be accorded membership in the Barisan.