Thursday, June 06, 2019

Malaysia Baharu's latest "twists and Tun"

Bandar Kinrara, 2nd Shawal: In rapid succession, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made three things happen at the end of Ramadan. The Prime Minister announced that:
1. Lynas will stay
2. Telekom Malaysia CEO decided but not Imri
3. MACC chief is a politician

Good things come in threes, they say, but these three announcements sure spoilt some people's Hari Raya.

Lynas so shocked Yeo Bee Yin that the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister ended up issuing a press statement to clarify her boss' remarks, in a desperate attempt to salvage her own integrity as well as her party's reputation for their rabidly anti-Lynas stance all this while.

News of the TM CEO came just days after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had refuted a claim that PMO didn't want his candidate Imri Mokhtar as CEO (the MoF had approved Imri's appoointment in February).

The decisions, apparently, were made unilaterally by the PM. In his own words after the ground had shaken violently following the appointment of Latheefa Koya as MACC chief:

 "I did not discuss with Cabinet ... I make the decision myself because I don't have to ask the Cabinet as to who I approve".

In other words, "I did it my way". Some will call it the Old way. If you don't like it, go take the highway, baby.

MP Nik Nazmi came out with a long, carefully-worded posting on Twitter out of grave concern over the appointment of his PKR ex-colleague, Latheefa:

"More importantly, however, the manner of her appointment, which was decided upon by the PM alone, goes against the promises Pakatan Harapan made in our manifesto. The 14th Promise of the  manifesto states that under a Pakatan (sic) the MACC will report directly to Parliament, rather than to the Prime Minister ... Appointment of these Commissioners must be validated democo.  atically by Parliament". - Nik Nazmi

But beyond "worrying", what will Nik Nazmi do?  What will the "disturbed" Bar Council do? What will a concerned Suaram do, if it sincerely feels that Latheefa is not the right person for the job?

Or, rather, what can they do?

What can Yeo Bee Yin do? With Mahathir's open support for Lynas - and in front of the world media, too! - she is now at the mercy of her Australian counterpart who had been at her mercy for the last one year (and years before that when she was in the Opposition). Read Ahead of meeting with Yeo, Australia's Bill Johnston rejects Lynas waste..

What can Lim Guan Eng do? The Finance Minister got his way over the appointment of CEO for Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) but if he thought he was free to put whoever he pleases, he's dead wrong. Way above him, there are greater forces at work. Same message goes to all Guan Eng sympathisers [like this epistle to The Star, Invisible hands in Corporate Malaysia?).

What can anyone do about the MACC's position? Well, according to Lim Kit Siang's spokesman, the Parliamentary Select Committee can review Latheefa's appointment, but will have no legal effect.

My take? I think Dr M is doing all these not just because he can but because he had to.

What else can he do now that he is stuck with a Cabinet of Clowns who, after a year of being in the Government, still behave like the Opposition (by opposing key investments like Lynas just because it was the popular - and easy - thing to do); who think they can rule the GLCs like they have ruled the DAP (or like past Finance Ministers ruled GLCs); and who expected him, the country's only two-time Prime Minister, to be controlled and dictated by a mere manifesto?

Mahathir's one-line in Sometimes we get surprises, Dr M of new MACC chief should be a constant reminder to these people:

“Well, (the Ministers) cannot be complacent and think whatever they think will be approved.”

Expect more surprises.

Read also:
"The (Lynas) plant will stay, as Tun said ... we are only concerned with environmental issues", says Mestecc sec-gen
"There needs to be better transparency on such appointments," says Maria Chin Abdullah
Left in the dark, parliament committee to discuss Latheefa's appointment with PMO
Bersih 2.0 likes Latheefa but troubled by appointment process
Azam Baki, twice overlooked for MACC chief position, pledges support for Latheefa

1 comment:

  1. Politischeiss2:36 am


    Firstly, Selamat Hari Raya Aid Il Fitr to you,your family and all your readers.

    I had expected that first two days of Shawwal to have been politically quite or tame online, as typically has been case but this time, the political fireworks began during the first two days of Shawwal, as you have so concisely articulated in your blog post above.

    In addition to that, it's rather curious that Lim Kit Siang did not say anything about it but came out with a statement about an unrelated issue in 2015 instead:-

    "Kit Siang calls for ‘Black Tuesday’ and ‘Week of Long Knives’ probe"

    However, thanks Lim, I was totally unaware of the blog TheRecounter until you mentioned it but all this is like almost four years ago.

    On the other hand, Ramkarpal Singh came out saying that unilateral appointments are not healthy for democracy.

    "Ramkarpal: Unilateral appointments not part of a healthy democracy"

    I wouldn't be surprised if Lateefah's unilateral appointment as MACC chief will be a big topic of debate during the next parliamentary session.

    Whatever, it looks like Tun is in charge right now, whilst others can't do much about it but I wonder what will happen once Tun steps down and whoever succeeds him as prime minister.