by now everybody would have known of the verbal spat between nik ali and penang CM, lim guan eng. much had been reported in all the media, mainstream and online. i’m not going to say much except that i feel nik ali is totally out of line when he called the CM ‘biadap’… and mind you, at a UMNO press conference, not forgetting he is a civil servant in penang.
his boss, the chief secretary to the government, mohd sidek defended him; karpal singh threaten legal action against him; lim kit siang asked the PM and the cabinet to censure nik; but best of all what i like is when political analyst abdul aziz bari (he’s also a constitutional expert, right?) spoke up. the heading in malaysiakini said it all – FEDERAL OFFICERS CHOOSE TO BE POLITICAL TOOLS OF THE BN. read all about it here (if you are not a subscriber – other stories and a video also here, so do scroll down and down).
Susan Loone and Hazlan Zakaria Jul 22, 10 11:03am
The root of the problem behind the verbal brawl between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the state development officer is that the latter chooses to be a political tool of the Barisan Nasional, says political analyst Abdul Aziz Bari.
The outspoken Abdul Aziz said the accusation by federal appointee Nik Ali Mat Yunus that Lim (left) was “rude” was a classic example of the long list of problems in the working of federal agencies in states under Pakatan Rakyat, where BN is the opposition.
Nik Ali had obviously breached the regulation that a public servant shall not make public statements, he said.
“But the problem is that he is a federal officer and we know for a fact that the federal public service would not do anything against the officer despite the offence he committed,” Abdul Aziz said.
“This is the dilemma; this is the problem when we have a government that does not care about the constitution,” he added.
Recently, Lim and Nik Ali has been at loggerheads over several issues, with Lim accusing Nik Ali of “openly and blatantly” sabotaging the state government.
Nik Ali (left) had responded angrily by calling Lim “rude” while state Umno leaders have readily defended him, accusing Lim of being “inexperienced and immature” in running the state.
The controversy was sparked by allegations of sand theft in Balik Pulau, exposed by Pulau Betong assemblyperson Muhamad Farid Saad, following which Lim passed the responsibility to Nik Ali, since the matter involved land belonging to the federal government.
Abdul Aziz also said that in Malaysia, public servants were working to save the BN government and at the same time, helped to undermine the Pakatan
“This is not constitutional democracy but constitutional anarchy,” he said, pointing out that in the United Kingdom, the Labour government allowed public servants to brief Conservatives and Liberals who were trying to form government after the April elections that resulted in a hung parliament.
A similar problem pertaining to state legal advisers was highlighted by Opposition leader and PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim recently.
“The root of the problem is this: instead of carrying out their functions and duties according to the law, the federal officers choose to become political tools of the BN-led federal government,” said Abdul Bari (right).
The existing problems created by federal agencies like the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission continue to persist, he said, adding that these agencies created havoc in Kelantan, Terengganu (1999-2004) and then in Perak last year.
The federal government, he said, set up the Federal Development Departments illegally, apart from the village heads appointed by the Rural Development Ministry.
“For example under the Police Act 1967, the job of the police is to carry out the law of the land; irrespective of whether it is federal or state,” he said.
“But the police, as we have seen in Terengganu in 1999, have arrogantly said they were not going to do that – as the state Chief Police Officer Othman Talib had put it.
‘Public servants must serve government of the day’
“Strange enough, in the BN-led states the police are often willing to carry out orders from the state government, even though these are just policies or executive orders and not law enacted by the state assemblies.”
Constitutionally speaking, Abdul Aziz added, public servants – including members of the armed forces and police force – were there to serve the government of the day, whatever their colour and shape.
Centre for Policy Studies director Lim Teck Ghee (right) concurred with Abdul Aziz that similar problems existed in other Pakatan-controlled states, with federal officers beholden to the federal government for their mobility and career prospects.
“The particular SDO (Nik Ali) is not only likely to be backed by his superiors in the federal civil service but he is probably also seeing this as an opportunity for rapid upward career mobility,” said Lim, when asked to comment on the row.
“The issue of political bias in the civil service is a structural one that will continue to rear its ugly head until the necessary reforms to kill it off are implemented.”
Lim said current rules and regulations governing the conduct and actions of civil servants in all sectors – whether in the legal service, police, Election Commission, Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission or development agencies – have been grossly ineffective in ensuring that the principles of political and administrative neutrality are observed.
“Until there are stronger measures to punish or censor such partisanship and political bias, I am afraid we will be considered a third-rate democracy.
“I hope the Pakatan parties, together with enlightened individuals from the BN, can come together to work on shaping this important and long overdue reform to ensure neutrality of the civil service,” Lim added.
Jul 22, 10 3:38pm
he DAP has threatened legal action against Penang state development officer Nik Ali Mat Yunus for his public criticism of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“This is not an idle threat, let me assure him,” DAP chairperson Karpal Singh said in a statement today.
“Federal officers seconded to state governments under Pakatan Rakyat’s rule should not take the opportunity to subvert and sabotage the smooth running of these governments,” he added.
According to Karpal (left), Nik Ali had overstepped his boundaries as a civil servant by issuing press statements, which included the use of “uncouth” language, and more so by using an Umno platform to do so.
“The use of the words like biadap(disrespectful) and dayus (coward) against Lim by Nik Ali clearly shows that he is not fit to be the state development officer in Penang.
“He has forfeited his right to further retain this office. The cabinet should direct Nik Ali to withdraw the uncouth language he used against Lim and apologise to the chief minister,” he said.
Nik Ali broke rules
Karpal said Nik Ali had violated Regulation 19 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 in issuing press statements.
“I must make it clear that DAP will not hesitate to take Nik Ali to court for judicial pronouncement on his conduct,” he added.
He was commenting on the war of words between Lim and Nik Ali, prompted by the federal government’s hand in the controversy over illegal sand mining in Balik Pulau, demolition of decorative arches at the Penang Botanical Gardens and the allegation that no seat was provided for the chief minister during the launch of the Penang Hill Railway.
Karpal said that if the allegations about snubbing Lim at the railway launch were true, then Nik Ali had “obviously and maliciously” tried to humiliate Lim.
“I wonder how he rose up the ranks to become a state development officer. A civil servant publicly flexing his muscles at a chief minister, coupled with the use of uncouth language, has been unheard of until the emergence of Nik Ali.”
PM should step in
Also in Karpal’s firing line is chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan, for defending Nik Ali and criticising Lim for being “excessive“.
He said that Sidek should be schooled on Regulation 19 and bring it to the attention of the cabinet.
Karpal also took the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) to task for failing to reprimand Nik Ali.
“He is a civil servant and should know the parameters within which he can operate. He should not allow himself to be used by politicians in Umno who have their own agenda against the chief minister.
The prime minister should immediately intercede before Nik Ali goes rabid,” he added.
Jul 22, 10 2:07pm
Chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan’s failure to reprimand Penang state development officer Nik Ali Nik Yunus for appearing at an Umno press conference should be condemned, said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
Lim (left) said Sidek should have reprimanded Nik Ali for violating the civil service code of being strictly non-partisan and apolitical.
“It is regrettable that when ‘Little Napoleons’ rear their ugly heads, they are given full defence and support instead of being reprimanded and put in their proper place,” he said in a statement today.
He was referring to Sidek’s statement yesterday, in which he came to the defence of Nik Ali and criticised Pakatan Rakyat’s Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for being “excessive” in criticising a top civil servant.
Guan Eng is involved in a war of words with Nik Ali over the federal government hand in an illegal sand mining controversy in Balik Pulau, demolition of expensive, decorative arches at the Penang Botanical Gardens and the allegation that no seat was provided for the chief minister during the launch of the Penang Hill Railway.
For this, Nik Ali blew his top at a press conference organised by Umno on July 19, calling Guan Eng biadap (rude) and bacul(gutless).
Lim warned that Sidek and Nik Ali’s actions were examples of Little Napoleons who were threatening Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s Government Transformation Programme.
“However, if Little Napoleons like Nik Ali are allowed the impunity to show utter contempt for elected representatives and even an elected state government in open disregard of the civil service code to be politically neutral, impartial and civil, then this pillar of Najib’s national transformation programme is being torn to shreds and smithereens, losing all public credibility and legitimacy,” he said.
from the malaysian insider:
from lim kit siang’s blog: