by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, September 22, 1994:
Appointment of Mohd Zin Haji Abdul Ghani to perform the duties of Malacca Chief Minister started off on a very bad footing raising the question as to who is really now in charge in Malacca State Government – Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik through ‘remote control’ from abroad or the Malacca State Secretary Datuk Ahmad Ithnin.
The appointment of Mohd Zin Haji Abdul Ghani to perform the duties of Malacca Chief Minister started off on a very bad footing yesterday raising the question as to who is really now in charge in Malacca State Government – Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik through ‘remote control’ from, abroad or the Malacca State Secretary, Datuk Ahmad Ithnin.
Yesterday, it was the Malacca State Secretary, Datuk Ahmad Ithnin, who was ‘running the show’, particularly at the press conference after the letter-handing-over ceremony by the Malacca Yang di Pertua Negeri, Tun Syed Ahmad Syed Mahmud Shah.
The new No. 1 man in the Malacca State Government seems to have very little to say at the press conference, when he should be the ‘star’. It was Ahmad Ithnin who announced that Zin was not an acting Chief Minister as the state constitution does not provide for it but that his functions were similar to the functions of the Chief Minister.
Ahmad Ithnin said that if Zin was described as an Acting Chief Minister when the state constitution does not provide for it, “there will be people who will challenge them”.
This shows that, the authorities concerned have taken note of the DAP’s warning that as the Malacca State Constitution does not provide for an Acting Chief Minister, any such appointment could be legally challenged in a court of law.
Did Rahim’s leave as Malacca Chief Minister start from September 8 as announced by Mahathir or from September 20 as now claimed by the Malacca State Secretary?
What is surprising is Ahmad Ithnin’s statement, that Zin will take over Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik’s duties as Malacca Chief Minister until October 20 during the one month that the Chief Minister was on leave, and that Rahim’s leave began on Tuesday, September 20!
The whole country knows that Rahim went or was ‘forced’ to go on leave on September 8, and this was announced by none other than the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on the same day.
Now Ahmad Ithnin says a different thing – that Rahim’s official leave begins only on September 20.
What then was Rahim Tamby Cik doing in the 12 days between September 8 to September 20? Is the Malacca State Secretary and the Malacca State Government taking the position that during these 12 days, Rahim was still for all intents and purposes the de facto and de jure Malacca Chief Minister – meaning that the meetings which Rahim chaired last weekend when he returned from Singapore, Batam and Bogor, including the Malacca State Government housing committee to discuss land fragmentation for several projects were proper, valid and lawful?
This is a most unusual turn of events. Are we having an extraordinary situation where between September 8 to 20, Rahim was not regarded by the Malacca State Government as going on ‘leave’ as Malacca Chief Minister although in name and in public impression, he went on leave?
If this is the case, then it is not only a grass deception of the public, but also of the UMNO Supreme Council and the Prime Minister, Datuk Sen Dr. Mahathir Mohamed as well!
Malaysians are entitled to a straightforward answer – Did Rahim’s leave as Malacca Chief Minister start from September 8 as announced by Mahathir or from September 20 as now claimed by the Malacca State Secretary.
This is a very important question – as it affects not only the credibility of the national leadership, but also the legality of the decisions taken by the State Government, and in particular by Rahim Tamby Cik, during the 12 days between September 8 to 20.
What is the relationship between Rahim and Zin – can Rahim issue directives to Zin from overseas?
Another important question is what is the relationship between Rahim and Zin – whether Rahim can issue directives to Zin from overseas, as Zin is neither Chief Minister nor Acting Chief Minister, but merely carrying out the duties of the Chief Minister.
Will Zin be given an allowance equivalent to the remuneration of a Chief Minister, during the period he carries out the duties of the Chief Minister?
The whole arrangement is most unsatisfactory, as the right and proper thing to do in the circumstances would be for Rahim Tamby Cik to step down as Malacca Chief Minister to allow for a new Malacca Chief Minister to be appointed in his place.
If Rahim is not prepared to step down, then he should be removed by a vote of no confidence in the Malacca State Assembly, as Rahim’s scandals should not be allowed to jam up Malacca State government business.
The Malacca State Government owes a full apology to the Malacca press for the shabby treatment of the pressmen yesterday.
The shabby treatment of the Malacca press by the Malacca State Government yesterday is most deplorable and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
What reason could there be for barring the press from covering the letter-handing-over ceremony by the Malacca Yang di Pertua Negeri to Zin?
The Malacca press was not even properly informed of the letter-handing-over ceremony – and this must be the first, time in Malaysian history where an official function was cloaked in such secrecy and mystery, reminiscent of previous communist regimes in Soviet Union or Eastern Europe which did not accept the tenets of an open society.
Was the letter handing-over ceremony something so dishonourable and shameful that it should be hidden from the public and the press barred?
I get the impression that the press were barred and treated so shabbily because there are people in the Malacca State Government who blamed the press for Rahim Tamby Cik’s present troubles, to the extent that he had to be forced to go on ‘leave’, and the shabby treatment is a form of ‘punishment’ to the Malacca press!
This mentality belongs to political leaders and bureaucrats who have no vision whatsoever and is completely unacceptable in a Malaysia which is daily exhorting Malaysians to have ‘Vision 2020’.
The people of Malacca and Malaysia are entitled to know who is responsible for such shabby treatment of the Malacca press yesterday, and the Malacca State Government owes the Malacca press a fulsome apology for such shabby treatment.
The person responsible for such a decision should also come forward to apologise to the press and promise not to have such outmoded mind-set in future.