Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 26th September 2010:
My reply to Muhyiddin could simply be: It’s the political will, stupid!
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has challenged me to show him the part of the Constitution or law where a deputy prime minister or education minister has the powers to take action against a senior civil servant with a permanent position.
Akin to the American political catchphrase, “It’s the economy, stupid”, I could have simply responded: “It’s the political will, stupid”.
But as a Malaysian, I will not do so. Muhyiddin accused me of ignorance as I have never been a government officer and worse, of being “100 per cent politician” but I will not reply by hurling the latter accusation back at him and say he is “120 per cent politician” and that he is not acting like a Deputy Prime Minister at all, let alone a 1Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister for all Malaysians.
Nobody suggested that Muhyiddin should personally take action against the two principals, one from Johore and another in Kedah, who uttered incendiary, racist and sensitive remarks to their students in school, as asking “the Chinese students to go back to China” and likened the Hindu prayer bracelets to a dog leash, but he must doubly bear responsibility as Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister for a government which for 45 days has not been able to take action against such offensive, racist and sensitive remarks, especially occurring in the education sector with two principals as the culprits!
This is for two reasons:
To the man-in-the-street, Muhyiddin’s claim that he is not responsible for the 45-day inaction against the two principals is simply laughable, giving Malaysians a new subject to mock at as their conversational topic.
If Muhyiddin as Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister is not responsible, who then is responsible?
Anybody else in the Cabinet to whom Muhyiddin can pass this buck to in terms of bearing political responsibility or does he want to push the whole responsibility to the Prime Minister himself?
Or is nobody is to be held politically responsible for this deplorable state of affairs because the Najib government has become a shambolic and headless government?
Muhyiddin’s attempt to hide behind the Public Service Department, claiming that there are procedures and guidelines to be adhered to in such cases as governed by the PSD’s code of discipline for the 45-day inaction may be adequate to appease MCA and Barisan Nasional leaders but simply unacceptable to the Malaysian public.
At a time when the Prime Minister is propagating the “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” policy and a National Transformation Programme, the entire Najib administration is shown up as just not serious about these pronouncements when 45 days can pass without any action being taken against the two principals for incendiary, racist and insensitive statements to students in schools.
And what is worse – we have the Deputy Prime Minister luxuriating at his inability to do anything for 45 days over the two principals!
What type of a civil service transformation can Malaysians look forward to when there is nothing the No. 2 in the country who also helms one of the most senior Ministries over the 45-day hiatus of the PSD over the anti-1Malaysia indiscipline of the two principals?
If the civil service is so hidebound by so much red-tape and bureaucracy, then it is beholden on the political leadership to shake up the civil service if it is to take the first step of a national transformation process so that Malaysia can achieve a high-income developed nation by 2020.
I have yet to raise the question as to why for 45 days, Muhyiddin himself had failed to condemn the incendiary, racist and insensitive remarks of the two principals against students in schools.
Can Muhyiddin defend himself?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor