Commentary Politics

Of sub-standard ministers and the infamous Jho-Low

There's no need for "fatty boy" Low to rely on government moles in Malaysia to avoid arrest while overseas when no country other than his own is known to have issued a warrant of arrest.

Written by Aziz Hassan

October 22, 2018.

Recollections & Reflections – A commentary

WE don’t know why they have been given such low marks but it’s been at least twice since the Pakatan Harapan election victory on May 9 that the performance of federal ministers has been put at below par.

And the man who has made this evaluation is none other than their boss – the coalition’s chairman and Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. We don’t know though the detailed criteria behind the yardstick because we haven’t been told about it.

Lack of experience because they are new to the job and a mind stuck in their opposition days are the two factors cited and many of us would, for the most part, agree.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, for example, has been making statements as if he’s an auditor, not a minister and what he hopes to achieve by doing that only he knows. And since some weeks ago he has a political secretary who’s been talking as if he is a member of the administration, encroaching into areas under the jurisdiction of other ministers. When we had one before, now we have two……

Dr. Maszlee Malik, the education minister, is a Ph.D but look at his specials that have been slayed and torn to pieces all over on social media.

There are a few others who thought they were being clever by straying into the jurisdictions of others – a not uncommon practice during the Barisan Nasional days – but we thought this new government was supposed to be different and much better.

These at times funny utterances from federal ministers only go to prove that wisdom can be difficult to find. The number of academic or professional qualifications one has doesn’t guarantee that person may indeed be such a wise character, that’s for sure.

There was this recent episode when MPs Fuziah Salleh and Wong Tack were appointed to the committee that was to review the operations of the Lynas plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, without any terms of reference being made public. Yes, only two of them supposedly were to do the review, two politicians who were in the forefront of the campaign against the plant a few years ago. Given the circumstances, it would be too much in most people’s minds to expect an objective review. Eventually common sense prevailed and a much bigger committee comprising mainly professionally qualified academics will do the job.

If however we take another look at many of the statements and decisions made after May 9, it is no exaggeration to say that the entire administration needs to do better, to give a sense of certainty and credibility, whilst also instilling confidence in investors.

There have many flip-flops regarding the high speed railway from KL to Singapore, the east coast rail link, our attitude towards real estate buyers from China, the employment of those under the now disbanded Land Public Transport Commission or SPAD and the most recent one concerning the underground construction work for the MRT2 line awarded to MMC-Gamuda by the previous government.

In the case of the latter, first we were told that the Cabinet had decided to suspend the work pending a review or even a re-tender, only for Mahathir to say differently two days later and followed by the announcement that a cabinet committee would undertake a review, which leads to the question “What influenced the cabinet to make that first decision?’

Why the fuss, when apart from Malaysia, Jho Low is not known to be a wanted man in any other country….

An issue was recently created about the infamous Low Taek Jho alias Jho Low and the possibility that moles in the government, including the civil service and security apparatus, may have been responsible in helping the Penang born to evade arrest while being on the run overseas.

This was first mentioned by former minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, who’s been very much in the news since Pakatan took over the government, and then picked up by Mahathir. A most recent allegation also talked about sabotage within Pakatan and the civil service. I say created because no substantiated proof has been provided to back these claims, which should make some people in the government unhappy at being accused of conspiring with the country’s public enemy number 1, although no one has specifically been identified by either Daim or Mahathir.

As far as is known, the only warrant of arrest issued against Jho Low has been by Malaysia and the bloke hasn’t been here in maybe four years now! Reference has also been made many times to the Interpol red alert but the fact is that this alert is non-binding and Interpol itself has confirmed this, which means that no foreign government or police force is obliged to go after “fatty boy” if it doesn’t want to.



About the author


Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.