The Good Doctor is Back in the House


The Good Doctor is Back in the House

After the unintended reward of a long weekend layover to compensate for the energy-sapping GE14 campaign, Malaysia finally got back to work. The mood must have been decidedly blue for some.

A breath of fresh air swept through the city on Monday morning as the usual start-of-the-week workday traffic built up in volume from early dawn in all roads leading to Putrajaya.

Some appeared to be in more of a hurry than others. This was going to be D-Day for many amongst the senior echelons who fretted all weekend now that everyone is being called to account.

Some would already have been resigned to their fate since incoming Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir had already indicated, in his words; `Heads will fall,” to questions of unravelling the past.

First on the agenda was `morning assembly’ called by Malaysia’s former-now-current chief executive to address all the top civil servants comprising the Chief Secretary (KSN) and the coterie of Ministry KSUs and Department heads.

A memo from the KSN had gone viral the day before reminding attendees to ditch the trinkets and trappings that made up their uniforms from the old order.

With 1MDB a major rallying point and focus of voter retribution, it is not surprising therefore that Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali was the first Monday morning casualty.

So they were instructed to put away their `1 Malaysia’ lapels and pins as well as Salam Satu Malaysia greetings that were de rigueur in overly-long salutations and introductions to kick off official speeches.

With 1MDB a major rallying point and focus of voter retribution, it is not surprising therefore that Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali was the first Monday morning casualty.

The prime minister announced that Apandi was instructed to go on gardening leave and his duties taken over by the Solicitor General. The government has set itself the task of gathering information on legal and prosecutorial moves in relation to the 1MDB case based on reports lodged on the matter.

Finance Ministry Secretary General Tan Sri Irwan Siregar was given a transfer of duties, serving out the remainder of his contract to end in June which he will serve at the Public Services Department.

Over at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), its chief Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad chose the option of terminating his contract and heading back to his former place of employment – ironically at the AG’s chambers, where he served before being elevated at the MACC. The anti-corruption agency under Dzulkifli is also being scrutinised for its handling of investigations into the 1MDB issue.

Later in the afternoon, news came from Felda headquarters that its Chairman Tan Sri Sharir Samad also chose to resign. His lost his Johor Baru parliamentary seat in GE14 very much on the wave of concern over issues of governance and administration over asset purchases.

Many observers could not help but remark that all the individuals involved all carried a Tan Sri to their name. A Tan Sri title (and the more junior award of a Datukship) can be loosely compared to a Knighthood in the UK, given to a select band of very eminent individuals in recognition of their contribution to society and the economy.

While we could all benefit with a bit of foresight, we can all act in future with the benefit of hindsight from this Monday morning post-GE14 episode.

Amid all that negative news of what can only be described as a culling, an old friend came-a-calling on Tun Dr Mahathir at his makeshift office in the Perdana Leadership foundation premises to lift the spirits.

The Sultan of Brunei made time to visit and offer his congratulations. A right royal endorsement on a Monday morning from a near neighbour and dear friend that would certainly have provided a morale boost to spur on the dawn of a new Malaysian.