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Malaysian Government 2020: Clean, Integrity And Calibre


Who thinks that this represent a picture of clean slate, high integrity and calibre? Will the people with multiple on-going court cases, allegations of money politics and jumped ships be appointed by the new PM to head the various Ministries? Once the Dewan Rakyat meets next week, one can expect another round of turmoil in the political landscape. Image source: Malaysiakini

On last Monday, the newly selected Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin gave his maiden speech to the nation. I was not around to listen to the speech – not because I was busy with another task but rather, I had a gut feeling that I already know what he is going to say. And I was right for most of the part.

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Interestingly reading the news today, in his speech, the new PM promised to appoint Cabinet members of calibre who have integrity and a clean track record. And he said this because he is aware that the people wanted a clean and corrupt-free government and which is why, they threw out a ruling party that was in power for 60 years in the last general elections.

Funny that he used the word integrity in his speech. I do hope that he understands the implication of using that word in his maiden speech to the country. After all, integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change (Cambridge).

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Interestingly due to the change of alliance, 3 State Pakatan Harapan Government had now fallen with a few more in danger and UMNO is back governing these states. Didn’t the people voted the same politicians out of power in the last elections?

I guess, the same run in the mind of Dr Bakri Musa when he wrote this:-

In his first address to the nation, he promised to appoint ministers from among those who are “bersih, berintegriti, berkaliber (clean, have integrity, and of caliber). I am amused that he felt compelled to assert, Nixon-style, “Saya bukan pengkhianat!” (I am not a traitor!)

Nonetheless if he were to appoint those facing criminal charges (like Ahmad Zahid) or who have skipped their bills (Azmin Ali), then Muhyiddin’s lofty promise would ring hollow. Innocent till proven guilty is fine in a criminal court, but when appointing candidates to high office, the bar must necessarily be much higher, as with not even a hint of impropriety. Deadbeats are without integrity.

Likewise if Muhyiddin were to appoint the turncoats. If they could betray Anwar and Mahathir, they could just as easily betray the betrayer, Muhyiddin.


At the end of the day, it is about getting the right people for the job.

If the new PM can guarantee and ensure that he will appoint people who are clean, have integrity, and of high calibre into his Cabinet of Ministers, that will be good for the country as whole. But if it is going to be the same group of people that was voted out, have abused their powers before and having multiple court cases to be appointed as Ministers, it will not fall in the definition of integrity, clean and calibre.

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Pakatan Harapan Ministers were not perfect, some deserves to be kicked out on the first week they reported to work – that I agree – however the Government were legitimate and running the country based on people’s mandate.

And there were some truly good Ministers in the Pakatan Harapan government – Transport Minister, Energy, Science, and Technology Minister and Health Minister were indeed the best ones around. Others were equally capable but probably stuck in the wrong Ministries and job function. And a few of them were totally hopeless.

Personally I felt that Dr M should have wise and quick enough to kick out some of the non-performing Ministers before they ended up ruining the day for Pakatan Harapan. When there were rumours of cabinet reshuffle, Dr. M should have made it real.

Now the new PM is tasked with picking up the people for his cabinet of ministers – he already promised that whoever appointed in will be of calibre, have integrity and have a clean track record. This is yet to be seen and personally I hope he keeps his words even though I am pretty sure UMNO and PAS will pressure him for key ministerial posts.

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To show his seriousness, he should even offer some of the key posts to Pakatan Harapan politicians (especially from DAP) who were very capable & got things done in the previous government – namely Transport, Energy, Science, and Technology, Defence and Health.

Of course, given the rebellion that took place, such offers would likely to be declined politely.

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