The Cabinet has irresponsibly skirted grave and urgent national issues including:
1. Cabinet’s failure to heed nation-wide outrage at its refusal to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the causes and circumstances of Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on July 16 instead of breaking up the process into two parts – an inquest into the causes of Teoh’s death and a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into MACC interrogation techniques.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said in Pekan on Tuesday that the Commission of Inquiry into the MACC’s interrogation methods would only begin its work after the inquest into Teoh’s death.
It is Najib’s ensuing statement that the RCI “will take into consideration the findings of the inquest” which has given Teoh’s family the false hope that if they are not satisfied with the inquest findings, Najib is prepared to consider their request for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the causes and circumstances of Teoh’s death.
As far as I know, there is no legal basis for Najib to do such a thing. To avoid any misunderstanding as to what Najib really meant in his Pekan statement, I had urged the Cabinet to state clearly and unequivocally that it will agree to expand the scope of the RCI to probe into the causes and circumstances of Teoh’s death if the family requests it after the inquest.
The Cabinet however avoided the issue completely.
I had asked for a clear Cabinet position as there is no legal basis or power for any Royal Commission of Inquiry to overturn the findings of the inquest into causes of Teoh’s death.
The right and proper thing to do would have been to immediately expand the scope of the RCI to probe into the causes and circumstances of Teoh’s death and stand down the inquest pending the outcome of the RCI inquiry – as is the best international practices in Commonwealth countries in cases of mysterious deaths commanding great public interest.
2. Cabinet’s failure to express concern and institute a public inquiry into the excessive use of force by the police against the peaceful gathering by tens of thousands of Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, August 1, demanding the abolition of the Internal Security Act, by indiscriminately firing tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon against peaceful and defenceless participants, bystanders as well as residents in the area, together with 589 arrests.
3. Cabinet’s failure to respond to the Parliamentary Roundtable of July 28 unanimously calling for a new Inspector-General of Police because of Tan Sri Musa Hassan’s failure to roll back the tide of crime in the past five years as well as to provide a new police leadership to establish an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police force to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights.
4. Cabinet’s failure to include as the seventh National Key Result Areas (NKRA) the war against two killer epidemics, dengue and the A(H1N1), with monthly as well as six-monthly targets, particularly as the A(H1N1) pandemic has claimed 14 lives and exceeding 1,500 recorded cases in less than three months of the first confirmed case of A(H1N1).
5. Cabinet’s failure to modify its earlier decision on PPSMI (Teaching of mathematics and science in English) to make it more flexible, liberal and innovative to allow parents the choice to decide on the medium of instruction for their children in maths and science, both primary and secondary, in line with the national aspirations to be internationally competitive to become a high-income nation.
6. Cabinet’s failure to take stern action against Umno’s two newspaper groups, Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian, which have recently been spouting rank racism, incitement and sedition totally subversive of the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia objective and mission.