The following incidents in the first month of the new Cabinet after the election of the tenth Parliament on 29th November 1999 are reasons why the Cabinet is not projecting any millennium image but a very Jurassic one:
1. Convening of the new tenth Parliament in contempt of Yang di-Pertuan
Agong and not in accordance with the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing
Orders. As a result, all proceedings of the tenth Parliament, including
bills and businesses enacted, are open to constitutional challenge as being
unlawful and therefore null and void.
2. Lack of Cabinet sense of urgency on the need to initiate the process of national healing as by establishing a Royal Commission on National Unity to undo the great harm done to nation-building in the recent dirtiest general election campaign in history. The Royal Commission should comprise representatives from various political parties, religions and the civil society to draw up a Blueprint for National Unity for the next two decades.
3. Cabinet refusal to address public outcry at lack of independence, professionalism and failure of the Election Commission to carry out its constitutional mandate to conduct a free, fair and clean general election.
4. Restoration of independence of judiciary. Datuk Rais Yatim spent four years from 1991-1994 writing about the critical importance of restoring the independence of the judiciary. But he has not said a single word since his appointment as Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department specifically in charge of law and justice as to how public confidence in the judiciary could be restored.
5. No political will to launch an all-out war against corruption and develop a new culture of zero tolerance for corruption in high political and public places. Cabinet Ministers refuse to follow the example of the Terengganu PAS State Government on the public declaration of assets.
6. Home Ministry harrassment of independent publications, issuing Harakah and Detik with show-cause notices to withdraw printing permits and warning three other pro-opposition publications, Wasilah, Tamadun and Eksklusif. The Cabinet Ministers should give serious thought to the statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah three days ago that "Some people feel it is an insult to their intelligence when reading mainstream newspapers".
7. Cabinet unable to discipline Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Mohd Ali Rastam and enforce Cabinet decision that Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar should not head Municipal Councils when Ali Rustam personally took over the Malacca Municipal Council.
8. Cabinet indifference to the socio-economic sufferings and hardships borne by the poor and low-income groups as a result of the ill-planned rent decontrol of 33,000 pre-war premises on 31.12.99.
9. Cabinet emulating the example of Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik in being "hands-off" and "minds-off" on the road carnage during the festive season, with another 21 traffic deaths reported on the 18th day of Ops Statik IV, which have chalked up a horrifying total of 240 deaths (134 of whom were motorcyclists and pillion riders) with 1,190 people injured in 18 days. How many more people will be killed before Ops Statik IV ends on Chap Goh Meh on February 20, 2000? The Cabinet Committee on Road Safety, which had made so much noise many years back, seemed to have gone extinct or is in hibernation while lives are criminally lost and wasted away.
10. Floods of developmental woes, as frequent flashfloods in Klang Valley after a few hours of downpour, stranding thousands of motorists in massive traffic jams for five, six hours - with PLUS still demanding tolls despite its failure to provide efficient, smooth and comfortable highway journey to highway users.
11. Failure of the Cabinet to establish National Commission of Human Rights to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia by end of 1999, as promised by the Barisan Nasional government.
12. Niggardly and sulky decision to send token force of 20 military observers to United Nations peacekeeping force in East Timor (UNTAET) because Malaysia was not appointed head for the force - when a smaller country like Singapore is deploying 185 military and support personnel, including eight women, for UNTAET in the rebuilding of East Timor.
This is not a full list of the sins of omission or commission of the new Cabinet in its first month in office, and why it has confirmed the worst fears that it is a Jurassic rather than a millennium Cabinet.
The Cabinet meeting tomorrow should issue a report card to publicly grade its performance for its first month in office, whether it thinks that its report card would be in black or red. If the Cabinet is not prepared to do so, then the Malaysian public should issue a report card to grade Cabinetís performance for its first month in office.