PM should give his personal attention to end the
growing malaise, drift and even rudderlessness in leadership and governance
in his administration or we will be heading further south
by Lim Kit Siang
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh
Ahmad and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail should explain the cause
of the “miscommunication” yesterday about the repatriation of 130
Muslim-Thais seeking refuge in Malaysia, making the Malaysian government the
laughing stock in Bangkok.
The announcement by Radzi and Gani that the 130 Muslim-Thais, who had fled
to Kelantan in August, had been released and sent home, created a
seven-hour confusion in both countries until Gani came out with a retraction
and apology for the “miscommunication”.
This seven-hour blunder of the Malaysian government, which was the
staple of the Thai press and even international media, was blacked out
local mainstream media today. Who issued the instruction for
such a “blackout” as if there is no need for accountability for such a
Malaysians are entitled to know how such a blunder and “miscommunication”
could have happened, involving the Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department and the Attorney-General, as it has adversely affected Malaysia’s
international image about the quality of leadership and
governance in the country.
Recently, there is an increasing national perception of a
deterioration in the quality of leadership and governance in the
administration of the
country, with a growing sense of malaise, drift and even rudderlessness in
many sectors of government.
There are examples galore about such government malaise, drift and
rudderlessness just in the press reports of the past few days, e.g.:
• The damning condemnation of the
poorly-managed and “chaotic” Insolvency Department by the Court
of Appeal, with Judge Datuk Gopal Sri Ram asking: “Is everyone taking out
their blanket and pillow to sleep because of the cosy atmosphere in
the air-conditioned office? Nobody knows what is happening.” More and more,
the question asked is whether the Palace of Justice is all
“palace” but no “justice”?
• Education Minister Datuk Seri
Hishammuddin Tun Hussein announcing that a final decision would be made
tomorrow on whether to allow schoolchildren to use handphones in schools, a
week after the Education Director-General Datuk Dr. Ahmad Sipon had
announced the lifting of the ban.
Why wasn’t a full and proper consultation conducted before an important
decision was made or unmade? The major reason cited by parents who
support the lifting of the ban is the safety and security of their children
in school. Isn’t this an indication of a very serious development where
parents have lost confidence about the safety and security of the
school environment for their children, which should warrant full attention
of the education authorities and not just whether to allow schoolchildren to
use handphones in schools?
• The heinous
abduction-rape-murder of Universiti Utara Malaysia graduate and marketing
executive, Chee Gaik Yap, 25, in Sungai Petani and the
endless spate of serious and gruesome crimes in various parts of
the country - grim reminders that Malaysians have not got back
their fundamental rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime.
The Chee Gaik Yap case is also a reminder of the heinous Canny
Ong abduction-rape-murder in Kuala Lumpur in mid-2003, which sparked a
nation-wide outrage that Malaysians have lost the right to feel safe and
secure in the streets, public places and even the privacy of their
homes,leading to the establishment of the first Dzaiddin Royal Police
Commission – but with no appreciable change in the sense of personal
safety or security for the citizenry.
Nobody knows what has happened to the first Dzaiddin Commission Report and
its 125 recommendations, particularly its recommendation for an
Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) in the past
seven months, while the public is waiting for the publication of the
second Dzaiddin Commission Report!
• The six-month delay in the
repair of the cracked RM238 million Middle Ring Road Two (MRR2) Kepong
flyover, which had to be closed for four months from August to December,
with bigger cracks on 31 of its 33 beams, despite endless meetings, studies
• The formation of the
75-strong “snoop team” by the Religious Department of the Federal
Territories (Jawi) for Putrajaya, the Putrajaya Islamic
Council Volunteers Squad, to be on the lookout for “indecent acts”, such as
Muslim couples showing mutual affection in public, including holding hands.
How can Jawi form such a morality police under the nose of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet in Putrajaya, when the Cabinet had only last year
issued a directive to Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam to
put a stop to its snoop squad initiated by the 4B Youth Movement?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should give his
personal attention to end the growing malaise, drift and even rudderlessness
in leadership and governance in his administration, or far from eradicating
the “First-World Infrastructure, Third-World Mentality” disease, we are
heading further south.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission