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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


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

Parliament, Wednesday): 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 in the
local  mainstream media today.  Who issued the instruction for such a “blackout” as if there is no need for accountability for such a blunder?

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 and assurances.

•        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 Chairman

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