Free Malaysia Today columnist T.K. Chua asked a very pertinent question in his article of 18 June 2019.
About three months ago, there were toxic gas emissions due to companies illegally dumping chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor state, which resulted in many people, especially school children being overcome by the fumes and hundreds of schools being closed.
Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin went down personally to assess the situation and initiate clean operations and eventually declared the problem solved.
Recently, a similar problem involving poisonous gases causing school children to become ill, whit schools being forced to close occurred again in Pasir Gudang, with schools being forced to close again, and this time Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin reported three gases being detected in the atmosphere - namely organic chemical gases methyl mercaptan, acrylonitrile and acrolein. Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin is a chemical engineer, with a first class honours (Universiti Petronas) and a masters degrees (University of Cambridge, U.K.) in chemical engineering, so she should know what these organic chemicals are and their ill effects.
Whilst to her credit, the Minister is back on the ball again with regards this recent chemical, however the bigger questions is why chemical companies in Johor, most of them believed to be small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are so contemptuous of the authorities and why the authorities, especially relevant Johor municipal, state and federal government authorities are so lax about such illegal dumping of hazardous wastes into the environment, which endanger the health and even lives of people in the area, especially school children.
For the first time since Malaya's first general elections in 1955 (whilst still under British colonial rule), the Pakatan Harapan won Johor in the state election on 9 May 2019, so yes, there still remain many legacies of 63 years of Alliance and subsequently Barisan Nasional (National Front) rule within Johor state's civil servants - or what could be called "the deep state".
However, like T.K. Chua, I had expected the Pakatan Harapan state government, with the cooperation and backing of the Pakatan Harapan federal government to have begun initiating some changes in both Johor state government and federal government officials in Johor, but it looks like nothing much has changed, at that there's nothing much that Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin, a federal government minister can do to change the situation with the "deep state" in Johor.
In his column below, T.K. Chua feels that the Pakatan Harapan government is regressing, when he had expected it to be more resolute in dealing with such problems which seriously endanger the health and lives of people, as well as other issues of concern.
Well, I had expected the Pakatan Penang and Selangor state governments since March 2008 to have been more resolute in curbing rampant high-rise and property development, especially on hillslopes in the case of Penang, but with them, it's been business as usual in this regard.
What's happening with the PH govt?
TK Chua - June 28, 2019 10:43 AM
The opposition in Malaysia today is in a pathetic state. With so many of them under investigation or charged with corruption, I think they are in the least position to monitor the government's actions and performance.
For those not under investigation, it is unfortunate that many of them are wallowing in their own religious and racial utopia to be of any use to the people. They would prefer to stay in their own cocoon than to be concerned with substantive matters affecting public policies and the well-being of the people.
Because of opposition's apathy and the absence of vociferous voices like in the past when Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power, I can almost sense that the new government is regressing quickly. There is a general lack of impetus to handle pressing national issues. Everything is lackadaisical, lethargic and lacking a sense of urgency.
Just take a look at the pollution in Johor and other parts of the country. I would have expected the new government to be much more resolute and effective in handling this problem than in the past. But I see no difference compared with the attitude of the previous government.
The same goes with the way we handle Lynas. It was a big election issue but since then this problem has gradually withered. Does the new government have a new perspective of this problem? If so, can we hear more about it? I believe public safety and interest should take precedence over strategic and profit considerations.
What about the endless landslides? Should we rename Penang "Landslide Island"? Again, with the federal and state governments under the same coalition, I would expect better coordination and higher ethical and compliance standards all around. Thus far, it has been one disappointment after another.
What about disorderly and high-density development? Have we discerned any significant change in this regard? Have we seen less of vested interest groups taking precedence over public interests? We were very unforgiving of the BN government when it came to haphazard development. I hope we can impose the same standards for the present government.
Then we have high-profile cases such as Teoh Beng Hock, Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat which have remained unresolved. Before the election, most people were of the view that these cases would never see the light of day if BN remained in power. Now we have a new government, but I think the feeling of déjà vu has come back to haunt us all over again. We have probes over probes with nothing much to show.
Maybe I am just a simpleton – I always thought that if we had a new home minister, a new IGP, a new MACC chief and a new AG, we would be able to solve all the "unsolvable" cases. I think I was being naïve.
Even for the schoolgirl caning case, should the parties involved just meet and make up, pretending that nothing happened? What problem resolution is this? I don't think it is so simple. There are rules and regulations and there are consequences of one's actions. What if similar cases happen in the future? What precedence shall we use?
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
erly and high-density development? Have we discerned any significant change in this regard? Have we seen less of vested interest groups taking precedence over public interests? We were very unforgiving of the BN government when it came to haphazard development. I hope we can impose the same standards for the present government.
Meanwhile, Australia-based, Penang-born Malaysian or former Malaysian blogger KTemoc carried the same article by T.K Chua in his blog KTemoc Konsiders.
However what's interesting is the comment by one who goes by the handle "Nostradamus".
Nostradamus10:31 pm, June 28, 2019
I think Malaysians starting to realize we just don't have enough leaders among the politicians whether it was the previous BN regime or the current PH Govt. to lead the country. Many were found to be just choir boys and girls tagging along to be elected without any leadership skills or qualities.
Part of this inaction or lethargic state of affairs is also because of the Govt. machineries which are crippled by actions of indoctrinated Deep State players with their loyalties and allegiance more to opposition political parties ideologies than to serve the country irrespective of the political party in Govt. There should be a major clean up of such Deep State players/actors before the Govt. machineries can work and start to govern smoothly and efficiently under a Govt. helmed by a new political coalition of parties.
And the unfortunate part is Malaysia also has an Emperor who thinks he alone knows everything and wants to control everything with so much centralization of powers under the PM Dept that it makes other Ministers and departments like lame ducks queuing up to receive approval or instructions from him or the PM Dept.
So, live and bear with it, for it is indeed a real Malaysian Dilemma.
Some countries, when faced with this same dilemma will find the Govt. being overthrown by military coups because most military commanders will start believing they will make better leaders to govern the country just like how they command and govern their soldiers.
Malaysians is getting closer to such a state like Thailand.
Well, Nostradamus' has a point in his last two sentences, since as history often testifies, after long periods of dysfunctional democracy or weak and ineffectual government, an authoritarian leader - a "strongman" had come to the fore, either through an election, as with Hitler and his Nazi party in Weimar Germany, Mussolini in Italy or through a military coup, as had happened many times in Thailand, with especially the last one led by General Prayut Chan O'Chah which several years of bitter rival street protests by Thailand's Yellow Shirts, Red Shirts, Blue Shirts and so forth, and the majority of the suffering ordinary citizens welcomed it, well at least those in Bangkok.
Whilst despite all his bluster and bombastic rhetoric, U.S. president Donald Trump had often been checkmated by the deep state, Congress, the Senate and the courts several times, whilst over in Russia, President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping in China brook no such nonsense in their respective countries.
However, it's more likely that Malaysia will muddle along dysfunctionally until the next general elections when it could be possible that UMNO (or whatever new manifestation of it if UMNO is de-registered as some believe could happen soon) in collaboration with PAS, MCA and MIC wins and forms the next coalition government, though whether they will be any different or will it be "business as usual" will have to be left to be seen.
No! I'm not advocating for UMNO or PAS, but this is just my two-sen worth of dispassionate political gut-feeling about the realpolitic on the ground in Malaysia, with especially the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections being evidence of a shift in voter sentiment back to UMNO and or PAS.
On another note, it's a relief that Malaysia's mainstream media, alternative media and bloggers have not mentioned anything related to the Azmin-Haziq sex videos for about two or three days now.