By P Ramakrishnan
Ramakrishnan queries the presence of the Chief Secretary, Mohd Zuki Ali, at the private meeting of a political party on 24 January 2021. By right, the chief secretary, representing the government, must not attend a political meeting, only government meetings. So what is happening?
Many Perikatan Nasonal (PN) ministers must be fully aware of government policies and measurestaken to implement those decisions. Being knowledgeable on these matters, the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues are best equipped to provide explanations and clarifications to the members of the presidential council.
That being the case, it really raised more than eye-brows seeing the Chief Secretary, Mohd Zukri Ali, participating in the private meeting of a political party on 24-1-2021. The Chief Secretary, being the top public servant, is not beholden to the PN president or any leader of the other 11 parties. Why then was he present at this private virtual meeting?
According to Muhyiddin, this meeting was attended by the heads of the various component parties of PN, namely, PPBM, Umno, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, MCA, MIC, Parti Rakyat Sarawak, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party, Progressive Democratic Party, Parti Bersatu Sabah, STAR and Sabah Progressive Party.
All these heads hold important positions in the PN government and are ministers attending the weekly cabinet meetings where they are briefed by the heads of government departments when necessary. What is the special need for the Chief Secretary’s presence at this political meeting when serving ministers are well suited to provide the briefings to others?
Besides the Chief Secretary, the Deputy Director-General of Health, Dr Norhizan Ismail, was also present. The presence of Dr Norhizan, is inexplicable. His boss, the Director-General, provides daily television briefings to the nation besides the Senior Minister for Security and Defence Minister, Sabri Yaakob, who also appears frequently and provides the updates. Does this mean that those attending this private political meeting didn’t bother to listen to these briefings in order to be informed?
A pertinent question arises. Supposing the presidential council meetings of the opposition parties are held, will these two government servants be permitted to provide in-depth briefings at these meetings? Actually, it’s the opposition that needs to be briefed. In all fairness, this should be the case.
In the name of the neutrality of the civil service, can the Prime Minister now assure Malaysians that this privilege will be extended to the opposition as well?
Otherwise, what has happened is clearly an abuse of power and misuse of authority which cannot be tolerated and must be condemned vigorously. It reflects a couldn’t-be-bothered attitude which is extremely appalling.
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)
The article was published on 27 January at this link.