If a by-election is held in Titi Tinggi, it could turn out to be a referendum on unpopular neo-liberal policies such as the regressive Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Full-Paying Patients (FPP) scheme.
The MCA’s Yip Sun Onn has resigned from his seat in the Perlis State Assembly just days after Indera Kayangan assembly member and Kangar MCA chairman Dr Por Cho Chor replaced him in the Perlis state government exco line-up on 19 March. Utusan reported yesterday that the “replacement was made by the state government as a normal practice upon the request of the MCA leadership itself”.
The GST has been shelved for the time being – but it could be resurrected later. At the same time, plans are afoot to extend the Full-Paying Patients (FPP) pilot scheme to other general hospitals.
This FPP scheme reflects the neo-liberal mindset of top officials in the Health Ministry, which is helmed by Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, who is MCA vice-president. (Tiong Lai has announced that he will contest the party’s deputy presidency.)
Sun Onn’s resignation is another blow for the tottering MCA, already dazed by the scandals, factionalism and intrigue in its ranks – and it comes at the worst possible time for the faction-ridden party as it prepares for divisive leadership polls this Sunday.
With a dearth of issues of substance in the MCA polls, a by-election at Titi Tinggi could provide a platform for real issues to be forefronted for public debate.
The BN had been anxious to avoid a by-election in this season of ‘katak-hopping” – but now this happens. Yip had won the seat with a 1,814-majority in the 2008 general election.
In the meantime, if you want to tell the government what you think of the GST, just go here.