Ask Lord Bobo: Party Whipping Can Be More Meaningful

ALBstFrom the Selangor Times Issue 21, 22-24 April 2011. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!

This week, His Supreme Eminenceness jabbers on about political ideologies, the whip system, and the role of a spouse.

Dear Lord Bobo, What political ideology do you most identify with? @adriene, via Twitter

Dearest @adriene — for anyone who sends in an average of 172 questions a week to this column cannot be anything but very dear to us — you obviously spend a lot of time asking what, why, how, when, where, which, who, and what the…? His Supreme Eminenceness expects you must be a highly intelligent, if not puzzled, individual — or likely both at the same time.

Lord Bobo has, in our unquestionably superior wisdom, deigned to answer three of your questions this week, despite their individual flaws.

With regard to political ideology, the question is flawed because His Supreme Eminenceness cannot be categorised into boxes and labels conceptualised by feeble humans. Many of Lord Bobo’s earthly minions have sought to become more intimate with Lord Bobo (no, not in that way) through meditation scented by roasting purple bananas, floating on Amazonian rivers in a banana boat, and even wolfing down banana splits. And still they keep trying, for while His Supreme Eminenceness’ ways remain a mystery, there is much enlightenment in the journey.

To get a peek at the “ideologies” approved by His Lordship, read the blawg. Common issues published there include the fight for individual liberty (from freedom of expression to religion to assembly) — some may interpret this as being a liberal. Also common are issues concerning the collective good & social justice (like ethnic discrimination, oppression faced indigenous people and the poor) — some say this reeks of socialism. But this method is flawed, as it does not reveal a “political ideology”.

Perhaps the one true defining principle that His Supreme Eminenceness holds to is the freedom of expression, and love (despite some unenlightened ones claiming that love is an illusion). That seems the only common thread that one can weave through posts on patriotism and love for Malaysia (#WhyMalaysia), football, music, events, human rights, language, politics, activism, education, fiction, film, books, food… the list truly is endless — almost as endless as Arsenal’s search for a trophy.

And so, fret not over such definitions or labels. For Lord Bobo is unclassifiable. His Supreme Eminenceness is both darkness and light; earth, wind, and fire; ebony and ivory; ape and monkey. Free your mind. Free your spirit.


What’s the point of debate in the legislatures in Malaysia when lawmakers vote according to the party line instead of conscience? The same person who asked the first question, via the same method

This question is flawed because it is premised on the assumption that actual “debate” takes place amongst Malaysian lawmakers — as opposed to petty accusations, name-calling, and limelight-hogging. But anyway.

Parliaments in Commonwealth countries often practice a certain convention in the august house by electing/appointing an official called the “whip”. The function of a whip official (usually an MP appointed/elected from the same party) is to enforce party discipline in legislatures by making sure MPs from their own party vote according to party lines. Whips also ensure MPs are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage of “whip” comes from the hunting “whipping in”, ie preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.

Different Parliaments have different practice of the whip system. Some are more strict and dogmatic than others. Some Commonwealth countries even do away with such practice altogether because it tends to breed partisanship across the floor and causes internal conflicts when MPs within the party disagree.

A recent controversy regarding the practice of the whip system in Malaysia was in 2006 when Shahrir Abdul Samad (BN-Johor Bahru) decided to vote in support of an opposition motion led by Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) to refer allegations of graft and corruption by an anonymous MP to the House Rights & Privileges Committee for investigation. He was the only government MP in support of the opposition-led motion. It was insinuated by BN party leadership later on that he would have been sacked if not for his voluntary resignation, for voting against the whip. UMNO subsequently issued a formal directive that all BN MPs must vote according to party line, regardless of personal convictions or the merits of the motions raised.

To Lord Bobo, the practice of the whip system has it merits, but it can be practised in a much more meaningful manner, for example by enforcing attendance amongst MPs during house sittings through the pairing of MPs across the floor for debate and voting of motions in the house. This application of whip system will encourage debate on all issues in the house and ultimately benefit the interest of the country by putting national interests above party interests.

By Malaysian law, what role is the spouse of the Prime Minister meant to play, if any? The same person who asked the first two questions, via the same method

The question is again flawed — because it assumes that law in Malaysia plays a primary role in shaping what happens in the country. Nevertheless, an intriguing query.

Upon applying Pythagorean theorem, Cartesian geometry, Newton’s infinitesimal calculus, consulting the alignment of celestial bodies and the principles of karmic astrology, using I-Ching’s system of divination, performing Crowley’s sex magick ritual and examining a plethora of literature including the Statutes of Murphy, the heretical Analects of the Sith, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, His Supreme Eminenceness has distilled the approach to arrive at the answer into the following formula: One Minus One Times Three Million Eight Hundred Ninety One Thousand and Five Hundred Twenty Six Point Three Three Seven.

And no, we did not consult the Federal Constitution. Why bother? No one else does these days!

It is arguably more important to refer to a certain (Pasir Mas) MP’s recent statement that wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfill their husbands’ demands. That anachronistic view goes against a core value which human rights seek to protect, namely the dignity of the individual. But, as an MP said it, it must be true.

Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected], stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions published will receive monkey-riffic LoyarBurok merchandise courtesy of Selangor Times. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!

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Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered! It is the ONLY place that His Supreme Eminenceness' thoughts are regularly channeled, via His Lordship's most loyal meditating purple-banana munching minions.

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