Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 2nd June 2010:
Najib Cabinet2 not only the most unrepresentative in nation's history, but also very backward and inward-looking which does not inspire confidence that 1Malaysia and NEM are more than slogans
The Najib Cabinet2 is not only the most unrepresentative Cabinet in the nation's history with the most number of unelected and unelectable Senators, but also very backward and inward-looking which does not inspire confidence that 1Malaysia and New Economic Model (NEM) are more than slogans.
The minor Cabinet reshuffle yesterday is the second blow in a week to Najib's claims to reformist credentials - the first being the public humiliation and slap-in-the face the Prime Minister endured when he attended the congress of the Perkasa-led Malay Consultative Council on Saturday to be told of its rejection of NEM.
After the Prime Minister had talked so much about national political, economic, social and government transformation if Malaysia is not to miss the boat to escape the two-decade middle income trap and take the quantum leap to become a high-income advanced nation with inclusiveness and sustainability by 2020, one would have expected the Najib Cabinet2 to send out the message: "We are capable of change"!
But this is not the case. Instead of change and a breath of fresh air, Najib's Cabinet2 is another game of musical chairs with old, tired and discredited political faces.
Instead of a trimmed-down Cabinet to get rid of Ministerial deadwood, the Cabinet has been expanded with the appointment of four new Senators so that they could be given deputy ministerial appointments.
By Najib's sleight-of-hand, Barisan Nasional has expanded from a coalition of 14 parties to become a 14+ creature - with Senator Datuk T. Murugiah, retained as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, in his capacity as President of PPP2!
The dropping of Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat from the Cabinet has not come as a surprise, making him the shortest-serving MCA Minister in MCA history, although not the short-serving MCA elected president - as former MCA President Tan Koon Swan resigned as MCA President in August 1986 after only nine months in office.
However, it must be conceded that Ong outshines all the four MCA Ministers in public credibility.
One example why Najib's Cabinet2 is sending out all the wrong messages detracting from his claims as the Great Reformer is the elevation of Datuk Chor Chee Heung as Minister for Housing and Local Government.
What signal is Najib trying to communicate when he could appoint Chor as Minister although the latter was among the politicians implicated in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal for possible conflict-of-interest by the PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) audit report released last year?
Although the Alor Star MP, who was Port Klang Authority Chairman from 2007-2008, had denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he had accepted the post of chairman to do “national service”, Malaysians are entitled to ask why Chor’s disastrous tenure in his "national service" in the PKFZ scandal should not disqualify him from another tenure of "national service" as a full-fledged Minister!
As Chor was specifically implicated by the PwC audit report into the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal, has Chor’s appointment as full Minister been cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)?
It is noteworthy that the new Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kang Cho Ha has nothing to say about the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal in the MCA newspaper, the Star, on his new appointment.
Is the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal now "dead and buried" as an issue in the Barisan Nasional Cabinet and government?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor