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More meaningful to form a “Change Lifestyle” Cabinet Committee to spearhead government   example of integrity, accountability and efficiency and deliver Abdullah’s stalled reform pledge and programme


Media Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Friday): The television  call on Wednesday night  by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Sri Najib Razak to Malaysians  to “Change lifestyle” as a key  response to inevitable  fuel price increases  has been greeted generally with public derision  as it is a blatant example of  “cakap tak serupa bikin”  by the government.

If Najib is serious, then it would be more meaningful to form a Cabinet Committee to change government lifestyle to deliver the reform pledge and programme of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  and set a government  example of integrity, accountability and efficiency by both its  political and civil service leaderships.


Can a credible “Change Lifestyle”  Cabinet Committee be formed comprising Cabinet Ministers who can  instantly inspire Malaysians about their  uncompromising commitment and dedication  to eradicate corruption, establish accountability by all government departments and government-linked organizations like Petronas and ensure excellence and efficiency of the public service delivery system, whether in  the justice, law-and-order, finance, economy, education,  health or   transport sectors?


Before there can be such a credible Cabinet Committee to change government “lifestyle”, can the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or any Cabinet Minister explain how the Cabinet today differs from the Cabinet under former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in terms of commitment as  an Integrity  Cabinet?


Is there no difference between the Cabinet today and the previous Mahathir Cabinets as far as the Integrity Agenda is concerned? If there are differences, can these be pointed out as they have  escaped the notice of the most sharp-eyed  Malaysians so far?


On corruption, can every Minister stand before the Malaysian public as an exemplar of integrity? Are   Cabinet Ministers prepared to declare their assets and those of their next of kin, currently and before they became Minister, and  be prepared to be subject to public scrutiny?


In the Metramac contempt case yesterday, Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Gopal Sri Ram in pointed reference to former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, said:


“These are remarks made against the rich and powerful. They cannot think that they are above the law... Let me remind them: Be you ever so high, the law is above you.”


Are the political and civil service leadership at all the three tiers of government – national, state and local – fully imbued with the consciousness that they are not above the law and owe to all Malaysians the responsibility to exercise their trust of office with integrity?


On accountability,  is Petronas which is likely to post RM100 billion profits for the past three years, prepared to be subject to parliamentary and public scrutiny of its management and trusteeship of the  national “black gold” resources?  Petronas posted RM23.66 billion profits for  2004, RM35.56  billion profits for 2005, and is poised to post record-high profits  for the financial year ended March 31, 2006 because of spiraling oil prices.


Will there be a full accounting of all the current and past mega-financial scandals, whether Bank Islam, MAS, Proton, APs or Perwaja?


On efficiency, is the government really  prepared to  prioritise  excellence, productivity and meritocracy to create a world-class public service, including dismantling  the subsidy architecture of the public delivery system which had greatly undermined both  the nation’s international competitiveness and the task of creating national unity.


Will there be enough Cabinet Ministers of indisputable integrity   who are personally qualified to be members of the  “Change Lifestyle”  Cabinet Committee to spearhead government   example of integrity, accountability and efficiency and deliver Abdullah’s stalled reform pledge and programme?


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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