Long overdue for Abdullah to revamp and downsize his Cabinet to get rid of Ministerial deadwoods as a first step to clear the deadwoods in public services, universities, GLCs, etc clogging up the national bloodstream of excellence and international competitiveness
Media Statementby Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): Time is long overdue for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to revamp and downsize his Cabinet to get rid of Ministerial deadwoods as a first step to clear the deadwoods in the public services, universities, Government-linked companies (GLCs), etc clogging up the national bloodstream of excellence and international competitiveness..
This was my predominant thought when I attended the grand parade and trooping the colour by the Malaysian Armed Forces to mark the 62nd birthday of the Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullal at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Although the press this morning reported that thousands flocked to Dataran Merdeka yesterday to watch the grand parade and trooping the colour, the Cabinet attendance was dismal and disgraceful with many seats reserved for Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries embarrassingly vacant.
Apart from the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, the number of Cabinet members present were 12 Ministers, one Deputy Minister and three Parliamentary Secretaries out of a jumbo Cabinet of 93 comprising 33 Ministers, 38 Deputy Ministers and 22 Parliamentary Secretaries (one of the biggest in the world). In percentage terms, the Cabinet attendance rate at the grand parade and trooping the colour to mark the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s birthday works out to 38% for Ministers (excluding the PM and DPM), 2.6% for Deputy Ministers and 13.6 per cent for parliamentary secretaries – which are dismal failure scores.
The following is the attendance list for the grand parade and trooping the colour yesterday:
10 Ministers present (excluding the PM and DPM)
Cabinet deadwoods are not synonymous with years of service, as I would not categorise Keng Yaik as a “deadwood” although together with MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, the Gerakan President is one of the longest-serving Cabinet Ministers going back to the early 70s, although with breaks in-between. I was in fact quite impressed with his preparedness to attend the parliamentary roundtable on water in Parliament next Friday when I extended the invitation to him yesterday. I can single out a few freshies whether as Minister, Deputy Minister or Parliamentary Secretary who have become “deadwood” although they were only appointed in the past 20 months after the March 2004 general elections.
Recently, the Minister for Information Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir lamented the decline of patriotism as reflected in the waning respect and appreciation of the national anthem among Malaysians. The Information Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Arshad Hashim even announced that cinemas nationwide would have to play the Negara Ku before the movie starts.
The proposal to require cinemas to play the national anthem before the start of the movie is not a smart idea at all, and should be dropped altogether. It would be more beneficial if the Information Ministry focus attention on how to get Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to set an example of demonstrating greater respect to King and country by better attendance record, for instance, at the grand parade and trooping the colour ceremony to celebrate the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s birthday.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman