Saturday, May 9, 2015

Was 1MDB never discussed during Cabinet meetings?

By Salleh Said Keruak

When Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from Umno and the government in 1998 and then started to criticise the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said something quite sensible.

The Prime Minister does not run the country singlehandedly all by himself. The country is run by the Cabinet, which collectively decides on policies and other matters. Hence whatever is done is based on collective decision and collective responsibility.

The Cabinet meets once a week on Wednesday mornings and that same afternoon the Ministers go back to their respective ministries to brief their senior civil servants about what the Cabinet has decided and what the ministries have to do.

Anwar, however, insinuated that Dr Mahathir was running a one-man show. Dr Mahathir denied this and said, quite correctly, that Anwar himself, in fact, chaired some of these Cabinet meetings.

The Cabinet, argued Dr Mahathir, works on the basis of collective responsibility. Zaid Ibrahim understood this quite well when he resigned from the Cabinet in 2008. Zaid knew that he could not remain in the Cabinet if he does not agree with some of the Cabinet decisions because as long as he is part of the Cabinet he is collectively responsible for all its decision and actions.

Currently some of the Cabinet members, the Deputy Prime Minister included, are making statements as if they are outsiders and not part of the Cabinet. Are they suggesting that these matters currently attracting controversy were never discussed in the Cabinet meetings or that they were and that they had disagreed with the decisions?

If Cabinet Ministers have anything to say then it should be done during the Cabinet meetings. We must remember that it is the Prime Minister who appoints them as Ministers so if they feel they no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister or disagree with certain Cabinet decisions then they should resign instead of trying to derail what the Prime Minister is doing.

To say that they are members of the Cabinet but they do not know what is going on or do not agree with the Cabinet decisions is absolutely unethical. They cannot be members of the Cabinet and then deny all responsibility and refuse to accept collective responsibility.

Has the Deputy Prime Minister never chaired any of the Cabinet meetings and was 1MDB never discussed during Cabinet meetings? Are the Deputy Prime Minister and those other Cabinet Ministers trying to save their own necks by pretending that they have nothing to do with the matter and know nothing about what is going on?

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