I hold Dr Syed Husin Ali in high regards. I had read some of his critically acclaimed publications. Syed Husin, if my memory does not fail me, had advocated a freedom of information for all citizens.
In the recent Fairus’ saga, he has asked the chief minister of Penang to keep mum. He said, “Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should stop discussing the matter of his former deputy in public as it would only benefit Pakatan Rakyat’s enemies.”
Dr Syed Husin said de facto PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Lim had a chance to talk and he believed that all the confusion between the two had been solved.
I have some issues with the statement made by Syed Husin:
He is sounding so much like the BN leaders he used to criticize. BN leaders were criticized for their backroom discussions on important public issues including the NEP, privatisation and all other sensitive public policies and issues. Dr Syed is speaking for his own party’s interest. However, politics is about the people and their right to good and accountable governance. Without making a clear and open explanation to the public, it will not help PR’s enemies to capitalize on this issue.
The confusion is not limited to only Anwar and Lim Guan Eng. The people are confused and kept in the dark over the real reason of Fairus’ resignation. Political parties must ensure that their candidates should be able and committed to serve a full term. If Fairus’ reason to quit is to focus on his postgraduate studies, it confirms his irresponsibility. With talks and murmurs of his alleged involvement in the quarry case in Penang, the people deserved to know the truth. Public office is a position held in trust of the people. If any Tom, Dick and Harry can come and go as they please, the parliament and state assemblies will turn into a half-way house. What if more elected politicians start to quit for all sort of reasons? Lost interest, getting married, having babies etc.?
Some analysts said, I was told, the by-election is necessary for PR to do some house cleaning. Goodness sake, this is the flimsiest excuse I have ever heard if it is true. Political parties doing house cleaning and we have to pay for their inability to choose better candidates, groom and train them even if they are not the brightest, or just want to reprimand bad apples. Why do the public have to pick up the tab for political parties? This sounds like the same situation in Pahang (RM63 million for breach of contract), Johor (abandoned crooked bridge project) and others.
Why can’t the chief minister feel slighted and pissed off? Why wouldn’t he? I am glad that Lim has voiced his dissatisfaction over this incident. The bottom line is you cannot just treat a deputy chief minister or an assemblyman position like a temp job in McDonald’s. Maybe Fairus should have applied for a job in a fast food outlet while waiting to pursue his postgraduate programme.
Posted by Khoo Kay Peng