The Asian Voice

Focus on 1MDB probe and forget about Muhyiddin, says Sin Chew Daily

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks to the media after he was sacked during a cabinet reshuffle.
Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks to the media after he was sacked during a cabinet reshuffle. PHOTO: REUTERS

Four Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members probing the controversy are now part of the Malaysian Cabinet and will have to quit their PAC posts

Needless to say, the focus of attention these few days are going to be about Tuesday's cabinet reshuffle.

And the limelight naturally falls on Muhyiddin Yassin, who has been stripped of his deputy prime minister and education minister posts.

People are speculating whether the former number two man will launch a decisive counter strike against his ex-boss.

Politically speaking, this is definitely one thing which is poised to draw many an eyeball, but Muhyiddin is somehow not Anwar Ibrahim.

It is not likely for him to start another "Reformasi" nor has he the ability to do so.

If Muhyiddin's dismissal fails to initiate another civic movement demanding democracy and good governance, he will end up at most just another politician falling from grace.

Let's take our eyes off Muhyiddin and look at some of the more important issues in the country.

The latest cabinet reshuffle also involves four PAC members currently probing state investor 1MDB issue, who now find themselves in the new cabinet.

As a result, they have to quit the PAC and this will for the time being halt the investigation procedures and affect the progress of the probe.

1MDB is a critical issue that commands the attention of all Malaysians and entails very broad aspects.

The latest change will invariably raise speculation among the public.

Without the slightest doubt, it is the prime minister's prerogative to appoint cabinet members.

He indeed has the power to appoint qualified individuals to be cabinet ministers, but the appointment of these four people has raised suspicion at the height of the 1MDB stigma.

We have to emphasise that changing cabinet members, and taking off a defiant Muhyiddin will not solve the problem. 1MDB is still lying before our eyes awaiting to be resolved.

All that we want is a fully transparent, comprehensive and creditworthy probe. Even with new faces now sitting in the committee, we still hope PAC will seriously respond to the calls of majority of Malaysians.

At the same time the cabinet reshuffle was announced, the government also replaced the Attorney-General (AG).

Some say the AG is a very powerful man, as he has the power to prosecute an individual.

This saying is now overruled as the AG can be replaced outside his knowledge any time.

The legal fraternity, including National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) president Ambiga Sreenevasan, believes that Abdul Gani Patail's termination is unconstitutional and he should therefore challenge the government's decision in the court.

One of the most important elements in democracy is the checks and balances of power, which the United States of America held in very high regards when drafting its constitution.

This is because unchecked administrative power could potentially inflict irreparable damage on a country.

Unfortunately such a system is almost non-existent or non-functional in this country.

The administrative power in the hands of the head of government is unbelievably large.

Replacing the AG not in accordance with the constitutional procedures is one such instance.

Stay away from the political uproars and we will soon discover that the follow-up probe on 1MDB and unchecked administrative power warrant more attention from us than the political prospects of Muhyiddin Yassin. - Translated by Dominic Loh