Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has said there is no need for Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar to take leave, although two of the latter's officers have been hauled up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a corruption scandal.
News reports quoted Anwar saying, "It is only a probe, and there have been no charges filed yet...
"So we need to make the distinction between an investigation that is currently ongoing, and if there is a charge, then that is a different question."
PMX has made a distinction between "under probe" and "charged in court." One can infer that, as far as Anwar is concerned, a minister who is under investigation can carry on with their duties, whereas a Cabinet member already charged needs to face the music, possibly take leave, or resign.
If that is the case, why did Anwar appoint Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as deputy prime minister last December? The Umno president faces a litany of corruption charges. Why was Zahid not just roped into the Cabinet but made the second most powerful man in the country?
Anwar's statement on Sivakumar oozes with double standards and hypocrisy, considering his appointment of Zahid as DPM. If PMX takes a strong stance on corruption, why did he appoint Zahid in the first place? And if Sivakumar is charged in court, does that mean he does not need to resign? Or will Sivakumar be given a more senior portfolio in the Cabinet, just like Zahid?
During the GE15 campaign, was Pakatan Harapan not riding on allegations of corruption and abuse of power by Barisan Nasional, of which Zahid is the chairman? Has Anwar forgotten the song, "Hoi hoi ya hoi", which had become the rallying call for PH during campaigning but has now been discarded into the political junkyard due to expediency?
Zahid aside, why did Anwar say that there was no need for Sivakumar to resign when two of his officers had been hauled up by the MACC over the foreign workers' permit scandal?
In the past, PH would vigorously ask any government officials, including ministers, who were caught even with a whiff of scandal to resign or take leave. But now that PH is in power, the coalition has made a 180-degree turn.
What happened to the dictum that "one must not only be clean but be seen to be clean," which PH had held so strongly to in the past? By the looks of it, Anwar will stop at nothing to hold onto power, including compromising on principles.
Alas, reformasi has now become reformati under the "unity government".
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