Most unimpressive Cabinet of all six Prime Ministers in the nation’s 56-year history

The Cabinet unveiled by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday is the most unimpressive Cabinet of all six Malaysian Prime Ministers in the nation’s 56-year history.

It has in fact accentuated the great divide between Pakatan Rakyat and the Barisan Nasional in the recent 13th General Elections – that Pakatan Rakyat holds out hope and a vision of new politics for Malaysia while Barisan Nasional represent the old, tired and discredited politics of race, fear, corruption, abuses of power and injustices.

The injustices of the 13GE results and the nagging question for the first time in Malaysian historty of the legitimacy of the Prime Minister have spawned a spontaneous “black” political consciousness movement in the country, as witnessed by the 30,000-crowd at the “Black 505” rally at Ulu Tiram, Johor Baru last night, following massive crowds at other “Black 505” rallies in Kelana Jaya, Penang, Ipoh and Kuantan, drawing support from Malaysians regardless of race, religion and region finding special strength in the young generation of Malaysians who until now have been very apathetic to politics and political developments in the country.

Malaysians, particularly young people regardless of race, religion or gender, are outraged by the injustices of the democratic and electoral system to make a stand about their disappointments, frustration and anger at the outcome of the 13GE as well as the legitimacy of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister, as they feel robbed of their fundamental democratic right to help determine the political future of the country.

Firstly, the majority of 51 per cent of the popular vote supported Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, while Najib and the Barisan Nasional secured only 47% of the popular vote.

Secondly, if the 13GE had been clean, free and fair, the popularity vote of Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar would have exceeded 60 per cent and even reaching over 65%, as well as winning the majority of the 222 parliamentary seats in the country.

Thirdly, the Cabinet annnounced by Najib yesterday has heightened the cloud of illegitimacy of Najib as the Prime Minister of Malaysia after the 13GE.

The Cabinet announced by Najib yesterday is undoubtedly the most unimpressive Cabinet of all six Prime Ministers in the nation’s 56-year history.

It is not a Cabinet for all Malaysians, as its aim is basically to ensure that Najib could triumph in the power struggle in UMNO at the end of the year during the UMNO party elections.

There are 10 Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, the PM, DPM and eight Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, more than the four Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department in the last Cabinet.

This is ridiculous and inflated Cabinet, not only unproductive but reflect the lack of professionalism of the Cabinet set-up, with the total number of Ministers in the PM’s Department representing one-third of the Cabinet – which must be one of its kind in the whole world!

I am intrigued by the exchange of Cabinet posts between Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, especially as Hishammuddin has failed as Home Minister to reduce crime, eradicate the fear of crime haunting Malaysians, both of which are most acute in Johor Baru which has become the capital of crime in Malaysia.

I will seek an early meeting with Ahmad Zahid on whether he has any strategy to eradicate Johor Baru’s infamous reputation at the capital of crime in Malaysia, and if he is unable to make any appreciable impact to reduce crime and the fear of crime and remove Johor Baru’s notoriety as the capital of crime in Malaysia, he should admit his failure ask for a change of Cabinet portfolio.

A surprise is the appointment of P. Waytha Moorthy as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. I had wondered why Waytha had come to Gelang Patah in the last few days of the 13GE to openly campaign against me, joining the Barisan Nasional team led by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir who wanted Gelang Patah to be my “burial ground”.

I was surprised as I had no past conflicts with Waytha, but I now understand why he was in Gelang Patah to help the BN campaign to defeat me – as it is clearly part of his bargain in his MOU with Najib. I feel sorry for Waytha for he has come become the centre of odium and opprobrium for what he had done.

Datuk Paul Low’s appointment as Minister in the PM’s Department is another surprise, although I am not sure whether it would finally end to the detriment to Najib or Paul Low, as this appointment is presented as reflecting Najib’s commitment to tackle graft in the country.

Najib signed the Transparency International-Malaysia’s Election Integrity Pledge on Feb. 20, committing to observe and comply with four principles when contesting in the 13th general elections, viz:

  • Truth, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability, including not accepting or giving bribes or being involved in corrupt practices in any way;
  • Upholding and giving priority to the interests of the rakyat as a whole;
  • Good governance and transparency; and
  • Compliance with all the applicable laws and regulations of Malaysia.

Najib has violated all the four principles of the TI-M Election Integrity Pledge many times over in the 15-day 13GE campaign.

On the first questions I will ask Paul Low in the 13th Parliament is to give a full report of the breaches and violations of the TI-M Election Integrity Pledge by Najib and the Barisan Nasional Ministers during and after the 13GE election campaign.

I am giving Paul Low early notice so that he could immediately initiate investigations so that he could give a satisfactory answer to this question in the first week of the 13th Parliament.

The first comment of Najib after the 13GE results was that the 13GE outcome was a Chinese tsunami and he spoke of the need to effect a “national reconciliation”.

This 13GE results is not a Chinese tsunami but a Malaysian and urban tsunami. It is Najib and the UMNO/BN leaders who have polarised the country and created the need for a “national reconciliation”.

At the first meeting of the new Cabinet, Paul Low should press for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry for national reconciliation after the 13GE, and its terms of reference should include a full investigation into all the election frauds, irregularities and abuses of power which have made a “national reconciliation” urgent and imperative.

The RCI on national reconciliation should be headed by the Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenivasam.

I hope Paul Low will take up these issues in the Najib Cabinet and Government.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Gelang Patah