Datuk Abu Hassan Omarís appointment as Selangor Mentri Besar a 'total surprise', knocks out all speculations and a poor reflection on the present crop of UMNO Exco members and Assemblymen


Press Comment
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petling Jaya, Friday): The announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, of the appointment of Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Abu Hassan Omar has come as a total surprise, knocks out all speculations and a poor reflection on the present crop of UMNO Exco members and Assemblymen.

Abu Hassan is eminently qualified to be Selangor Mentri Besar as he is highly respected and has the enormous task of cleansing the Augean stables.* He fits the bill of the expectation of the Sultan of Selangor and the Prime Minister of a candidate for the post of Mentri Besar who is "really clean and honest"

Abu Hassan should start his administration not only with a new broom to sweep away all corrupt and improper practices, but set a high standard of high integrity and public accountability for the decisions and actions of the State Executive Council.

However, the appointment of a new Mentri Besar for Selangor, even under such extraordinary circumstances where the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed had to "demote" one of his Cabinet Ministers to bring in a political leader with the stature and authority to make a new start in the Selangor government, cannot close the chapter of Tan Sri Muhammad Taib who is still UMNO Vice President and Selangor State Assemblyman.

Muhammad Taib had said he would sue Brisbane Courier Mail for defamation for its reports about his Australian properties but three weeks have passed, and nothing has been heard about these legal proceedings. Muhammad Taib is still a national UMNO political leader and elected representative and must adhere to the principles of accountability - especially with regard to his extraordinary wealth and vast properties as reported in the international press.

If Muhammad Taib wants to give Abu Hassan a new slate in Selangor government and politics, he should resign as UMNO Vice President and Selangor State Assemblyman. While attention is now focussed on the extraordinary development in Selangor UMNO politics, attention will soon shift to the Cabinet reshuffle which has now become imminent - together with the implications attendant on such Cabinet reshuffle on power plays and political realignments in the ruling party.

*Augean stables. The stables of Augeas, King of Elis, in Greece. In these stables he has kept 3,000 oxen, and the stalls had not been cleansed for thirty years. When Hercules was appointed to cleanse these stables, he caused two rivers to run through them.

To cleanse the Augean stables. To clear away an accumulated mass of corruption, moral, religious, physical or legal. To reform wrongs almost past the power of man to tackle.

[The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable]

(1/5/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong