KUALA LUMPUR: Veteran politician Lim Kit Siang today called on heads of the civil service to resist political pressure from the prime minister and the Barisan Nasional leadership to co-opt the civil service to campaign for the BN in the run-up to the 14th general election.
“The civil service must be mindful that it is non-partisan and serves the government of the day, whether Umno/BN or Pakatan Harapan, to further the interests of the people and country.
“The civil service owes loyalty to the people and nation and not to any political party or coalition, as civil servants are paid from the taxes levied on Malaysians and not from the pockets of the prime minister or party coffers of any coalition of parties”, the Gelang Patah MP said in a statement.
He said the political pressure applied on top civil servants to co-opt the civil service to campaign for Umno/BN had “already caused several top public servants to commit public bloopers and become the butt of public jokes or adverse comments”.
A case in point, he said, was the “shocking statement” by the Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa yesterday that there was no problem with Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor openly inviting teachers to join Umno at a school function in Putrajaya.
The DAP parliamentary leader noted that the function had turned into a “mini-Umno affair” with students singing the Umno party song and waving Umno flags.
Lim asked: “Would Ali say that teachers can join DAP and the other Pakatan Harapan component parties, and if not, can the 13th chief secretary point out where in the General Orders is it stated that teachers can join Umno but not DAP and the other Pakatan Harapan component parties?”
He said teachers needed some clarity on this as Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid had said in March that teachers who supported the opposition and criticised the government should leave the profession.
Lim said another top public servant to have slipped up due to the increasing political pressure on the civil service to help Umno politicians was new Inspector-General of Police Fuzi Harun.
He said Fuzi had issued a statement saying that the Better Beer Festival 2017 had been disallowed because of a terrorist threat and for security reasons.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall had cancelled the beer festival event which was scheduled to be held on Oct 6 and 7 at the Publika mall in Solaris Dutamas.
Lim noted that the reason given by Kuala Lumpur City Hall for the ban was “political sensitivities”, different from that given by Fuzi.
Also, Lim said, a day before Fuzi’s statement, Bukit Aman counter terrorism division senior principal assistant director Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay had said he knew nothing about the Better Beer Festival being cancelled because of terrorist or security problems.
The MP said: “The job of the top policeman in the country is to lead the police force to fight crime and ensure the safety and security of Malaysia to its citizens, visitors and investors and not to play Barisan Nasional politics with the sacred duty of the police force for the benefit of politicians in government.”
He noted the difference in the way police had dealt with the “security threat” involving the beer festival and that involving the recent Merdeka celebations.
Lim said two weeks before the 60th Merdeka anniversary celebration, Perak police had revealed that the Islamic State (IS) was planning to launch an attack in Perak during the celebration.
Lim asked: “Did the government cancel all Merdeka celebrations in Perak because of such intelligence reports?
“Of course not, although the intelligence reports would have justified more police reinforcements at critical areas and greater police preparedness.
“If the Malaysian police cannot even handle a security or terrorist threat to the Better Beer Festival, which would be held in a very localised and easily protected area, Malaysians will be entitled to ask how can the police face a major or full-scale terrorist threat?”
Lim said two days ago, Prime Minister Najib Razak had “blatantly campaigned for votes among the civil service” when he addressed about 5,000 civil servants. Najib had warned the civil servants of a bleak future if Pakatan Harapan were to come to power.
Lim pointed out that the Umno/BN coalition and the civil service were separate and distinct entities, and the future of the civil service did not and must not depend on the fate of the Umno/BN coalition.
He accused Najib of fear-mongering for stoking “fears among Malay civil servants” that a Pakatan Harapan general election victory will “gamble” away their future and those of their descendants.
“The Pakatan Harapan state governments in Penang and Selangor for two terms are an assurance to all civil servants that under a Pakatan Harapan federal government, Pakatan Harapan will compete with Umno/BN to show that Malaysian civil servants, regardless of race, religion or region will enjoy a better deal as Malaysians than under the Najib premiership.”
Lim had another question for Ali: Will he ensure that Pakatan Harapan leaders have a similar opportunity to address the 5,000 civil servants on what they could expect from a Pakatan Harapan federal government in the run-up to the 14GE?