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The controversy, the stalemate, the unease, the deadlock, the anger, the havoc and the confusion etcetera regarding the appointment of the new Selangor State Secretary are currently hotly debated by concerned Malaysians. What should have been a normal and smooth change of guards has become complicated and charged with emotion. The opposition-led Selangor government has questioned the appointment of a senior civil servant who according to them has been at odds on several issues with the State. In a nutshell, he is not suitable to hold the post.

Mohd Khusrin Munawi

Mohd Khusrin Munawi was an ex-Director of JAIS a department dealing with Islamic matters in the state. His previous actions have not been welcomed by the ruling party. The job of a State Secretary, Head of the state Civil Service is vital in the implementation of policies and projects as he has a wide power over civil servants in the state. And more importantly he has to work closely with the Chief Minister (Menteri Besar) and is privy to confidential information. He has to be a suitable officer to the Minister. So much talk has been made about suitability for that level of appointment, where is “suitability” now?

Khalid Ibrahim - PKR Menteri Besar of Selangor

Logically (and traditionally) the State Government should be consulted on the appointment of any officer to the most senior post. Non-consultation is just unacceptable and can be considered “mala fide” . Now, I am not a political person, I am just disturbed by this apparent high-handedness by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan if it were true that the Selangor government was not consulted on this critical appointment and instead the ball is conveniently pushed onto the Sultan’s court.

In one of the news portals, someone questioned the Chief Secretary to the Government whether he is working for civil service or acting as a tool for BN, a fair question I thought. A civil servant has to be seen as neutral in line with our Westminster – style democracy. In this case, it may be easier said than done.

Sidek Hassan

I feel the rakyat see this episode as unfair and will accuse the federal government of being belligerent . To me PM Najib has made much inroads in Selangor with his strategies and programs transforming Malaysia into a high income nation. Generally, people are also not happy with the PKR government for being childish and petty like prohibiting the use of the logo 1 Malaysia in Selangor. People are also beginning to see the tangling web of lies surrounding Anwar, the PKR de facto leader.The Indians seem to be gravitating back to BN and albeit unwise, it appears that the royalty too, in general, is giving a tacit support to UMNO. All these perceived indicators should be used as driving factors to recapture the state. There is no need to hold the bull by the horn as you might not be able to hold it for long.

An empathic gesture by the Federal Government will put the whole issue in a different light. How would they feel if they were in the shoes of the PKR government which after all is elected by the majority of the Selangor people? They represent the people. It is then a challenge for BN to win back these people and certainly not through the back door. Come on be a gentleman…. I am being naive here!

We are living in a different time now. In the past communication was restricted and government propaganda was efficiently delivered but now with 24/7 access to the internet , the BN government will have to win the heart and mind of the people through more transparent means. Let the State government have its own candidate who, as a civil servant will have to act impartially because he never knows who his next political boss is going to be. Why this brouhaha so very near to the snap GE13? PM Najib cannot afford to appear as dictatorial during this countdown period to a general election. This “bad blood” is totally unnecessary.

I hope for the sake of the people of Selangor, this impasse will be over soon with each side working out something as not to lose “face”. The proposed ammendment to the constitution as who should now hold the power of appointing senior civil servants seem rash and retrogressive to me. Most people do not like political upheavals as they are anathema to economic performance.

Empathy may not be inherent in politics but good sense should prevail.

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