Forces tasked to be political
Prime Minister Ismail Saberi Yaakob announced a cabinet decision that allows for the formation of three task forces.
First, to resolve the mysterious death of fireman Muhammed Adib at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple fracas on December 2018.
Second, the allegations of judicial abuse by the former AG Tommy Thomas as reported in his recent book.
Third, the possibility of a judicial review of the Pulau Batu Putih, the island that was returned to Singapore by the international court in 2008.
I am not sure whether the three matters are so significant that there is need for the three task forces.
Even if there are grounds for the establishment of the task forces, the question is why these matters are deemed more important than others.
Why not establish a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on the above three matters?
A RCI given its scope and power will be deemed more effective than merely setting up task forces with certain questionable characters.
If the MOU on transformation and political stability in force, why not get the equal participation of the opposition members, such a move will bestow credibility on the task forces than they are now.
I am not hearing PH president Anwar Ibrahim banging his fists in the Parliament urging Ismail to be transparent on the task forces.
Are these task forces do not matter in the overall configuration of the relationship between the government and the opposition?
Is the MOU passport for the ruling government to do whatever they please? Or alternatively, the MOU doesn’t mean a thing as Ismail rides the bandwagon of popularity. Popularity on the axis of the twin evils of race and religion.
The question is: why are these three subjects are considered more important than others?
There are so many matters or issues that to date have failed to elicit the concern of the government. Why not have task forces on the missing case of Indira Gandhi’s missing daughter.
Despite the desperate pleas of the mother and the court order directing the police to arrest her former husband, nothing has been done.
The Malaysian police force in many ways considered one of the best but why the reluctance to arrest her former husband.
Is it because the Indira Gandhi missing daughter, a convert to Islam, is not politically acceptable to pursue the matter in line with the court order?
Why is there is no task force on deaths in custody?
Deaths in custody shows no sign of abating even with the rise of professionalism in the police force.
Why are our police force still rely on crude and obnoxious methods to extract information from the remand prisoners as resulting in the death of the unfortunate victims.
As have pointed out recently, the deaths in custody are the curse on the poor and the unfortunate.
Why not have a task force or even RCI on the state of deteriorating race and religious relations in the country.
Successive governments have swept this matter under the carpet for the simple reason that such an inquiry if pursued to its logical conclusion, the fingers would be pointing at the governments in power.
There is no end to the list that I can provide as why the government should consider just not the three subjects but a whole range of issues of great importance.
Task forces on the death of Adib, the allegations against Thomas and the Pulau Batu Putih matters are important simply because they are seen from an ethnic-religious angle.
They are supposed to enhance the reputation of the government from an ethno-religious or the Bumiputra perspective. In situation of zero-sum game, not resolving the Adib, Thomas and Pulau Batu Putih are seen as concessions to the other, the non-Malay.
The government rather than relying on police evidence as to actual cause of the unfortunate death of Adib seems more interested in uncovering the mystery behind the death as though he was killed by those who were safeguarding the temple.
To date, nothing is mentioned of the developer who hired thugs to disrupt those safeguarding the temple. The court verdict that two or three persons might have caused the death seems to be reason behind the rallying point.
The task force on this case is undertaken just to appease one small segment of the society thirsty for revenge. Yet the government is giving in to this call for “blood”.
Whether Thomas made serious allegations against the government about judicial interference or impropriety remains to be seen.
I am not sure whether the allegations contained in his recent book were allegations or evidence of government’s interference in the judiciary is not clear.
Thomas performed an excellent service while he was the former AG including prosecuting some former Umno leaders for corruption.
Umno leaders have not forgotten the “damage” caused by him and with Ismail as the prime minister, they want nothing less than reciprocal revenge on Thomas.
Pulau Batu Putih was returned to Singapore in an international dispute.
The earlier government did not pursue a judicial review of the matter. Now with the task force, the government wants to see whether through the process of judicial review that island can be returned to Malaysia.
Whether it is a earth shaking matter or not, the present government wants to show to the ethno-religious segment that it is not taking no for an answer on the matter. Whether Malaysia can overturn the decision of the international court remains to be seen.
Just like the two other cases, the Pulau Batu Putih is just public relations exercise to endear the government as the “Malay-only” government.
The MOU despite its good intentions seem to be giving the comfort of political stability to Ismail while he is busy pursuing racist and bigoted initiatives.
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