Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s remarks on September 23 that he could not act against the racist principals came as a shock to many Malaysians.
His remarks have also made him a subject of political jokes as he is now labelled as the “deputy Prime Minister and education minister without any power”.
Of course the joke is not because the public believe that a Minister can be so powerless, but because they simply think that it is laughable that a deputy Prime Minister could have said that he was so powerless.
Muhyiddin has defended his remarks by saying that a minister cannot discipline any civil servant.
Such defence is again laughable because he should know that what the Opposition and the public are talking about is a Minister’s political responsibility, and not his personal power to mete out the necessary disciplinary actions against the racist principals.
It is simply a question of lack of political will, not a question of jurisdiction.
The absence of disciplinary action till today shows the government’s lack of political will.
A Minister is of course not powerless as he can direct the relevant authority to act.
It is reported today that Public Services Department ( PSD) director-general Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Abdullah has said that the conduct of public servants came under his scrutiny and only the disciplinary committee of the PSD can decide on the fate of the two principals who were alleged to have made racist remarks.
He has made a correct point as far as legal provision and procedure is concerned.
But the question which he and the deputy Prime Minister must answer is how long does it take for the PSD to study the report and to decide on the two principals?
According to media reports, the Education Ministry has submitted the investigation report on the Johor principal’s case to the PSD before the Hari Raya holidays. So why the long delay in arriving at a decision?
The Prime Minister has talked so much about “Performance Now”, so when can PSD deliver?
DAP supports the stand that there must be zero tolerance towards racism. We will not allow the Prime Minister’s “zero tolerance towards racism” declaration become “zero action towards racism”.
DAP will therefore, as earlier announced by DAP parliamentary leader Sdr Lim Kit Siang, proceed to move an urgent parliamentary motion and demand full debate when Parliament reconvenes on October 11 if there is no satisfactory action taken against the two school heads who made racist slurs.