June 6, 2019.
Recollections & Reflections – A commentary by Aziz Hassan
SOMETIMES you just don’t know what to make out of this Pakatan Harapan government, a coalition of four parties and one sympathiser from Sabah that promised so much before and immediately after last year’s general elections but has since been an anti-climax, what with its many u-turns and an unbelievably casual and nonchalant attitude towards its own manifesto.
The latest of these broken promises on institutional reforms came just days ago with the announcement on the appointment of lawyer Latheefa Koya, previously a card-carrying member of PKR and someone with partisan views on many issues, as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, an announcement which no Malaysian outside of the administration saw coming and has since been questioned by many.
First and foremost those supportive of her appointment have to be clear that the perception about Latheefa’s reputation as a lawyer/politician does not justify an appointment that had gone against a system put in place not by anyone else but Pakatan itself – and that is under Pakatan, appointments to critical institutions will not be an arbitrary decision of the prime minister. Thus it told Malaysians that such an appointment will be vetted by the parliamentary select committee it formed last year, the one on such appointments chaired by PKR Selayang MP William Leong.
The fact that Latheefa has quit PKR and an NGO does not mean her appointment should not be questioned and that she can be expected to be truly fair and independent.
Leong has confirmed that the proposal to appoint Latheefa never went before his committee, which in fact renders his committee a useless outfit that should cease to exist. If Leong is committed unwaveringly to reforms, this episode should be enough to influence him to resign from the committee.
Part of Leong’s statement to Malay Mail Online: “The committee was not consulted. The committee was not informed of this. We should have been informed and given a chance to go through the appointment.
“Yes, I am going to call for an urgent meeting of the committee first, and we will discuss this issue, and of course we will communicate this to the PM’s Office.”
He also said the appointment of Latheefa affected public trust and perception of the independence of the MACC, stressing that he was not referring to her personal capabilities or integrity.
“This perception will persist even if she had resigned as a member of PKR to take up the appointment.
“But I think more importantly is that the position of the MACC chief has to maintain public trust and independence.”
What have you to say now Syed Saddiq?
And what about Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, a member of Pribumi Bersatu who Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad made youth and sports minister after the elections, who tweeted in March last year about how these critical appointments will be made so as “to return power back to the people”? He too should resign, if he has such strong principles, that is.
Go further and the same question should be asked of the ministers in Mahathir’s cabinet who when in the opposition had been vocal on the need for good governance and transparency. Where’s Lim Guan Eng and his father Kit Siang and where’s Gobind Singh Deo?
Not to forget of course PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who in recent months especially has seen no flaw in Mahathir’s leadership and has been sounding more and more like a politician who speaks thus only because he is aware that whether or not he has a sniff at being prime minister midway through this parliamentary term depends in the first instance solely on Mahathir’s goodwill.
If indeed the choice of Latheefa was discussed by the cabinet, what was the reaction of Anwar’s wife and DPM Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail since Latheefa is no longer on their side?
It is sad that just over a year after ousting the Umno-led government that had ruled for almost 61 years amidst widespread talk of corruption and abuses of power, Pakatan isn’t the option many Malaysians had been hoping for and this feeling is only made worse by the simple fact that a change in government can be made only about four years from now.
On May 9 last year the people taught Barisan a painful lesson, which Umno especially needed, and will never forget. This should also keep Umno politicians on their toes and always be a reminder that the bad, old days must be left behind for good.
At the rate Pakatan has been twisting and turning, it looks like it too needs a similar lesson.
My one wish is to see GE15 resulting in a hung parliament which will force a few parties from both sides with no choice but to agree on another coalition. That’s when Pakatan too will be confined to history.
If this happens, Malaysia may finally have a government that it can be truly proud of, one that is virtuous and won’t dare to even think of taking the people for a ride.