Articles, Opinions & Views: The fallout from Latheefa's appointment - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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The fallout from Latheefa's appointment - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, June 10, 2019
The woman in this controversy
Malaysiakini : “Elections determine who is in power, but they do not determine how power is used.” - Paul Collier
COMMENT | PKR assemblyperson Dr Afif Bahardin is correct when he argues that the select committee for major public appointments has failed miserably to do its job. In my last piece, I argued that the noise surrounding the appointment of Latheefa Koya as MACC head was credible, but when it comes to politicians making the noise, it is a different story. Lim Kit Siang's statement on the issue, while welcome and reaffirming the spirit of the manifesto, unfortunately, does little to reassure people who believe in the manifesto as a guide to institutional reforms.
It also points to the failure of Harapan to make legally binding reforms, blaming the old bugbear of lack of numbers. The reality is that Harapan did not make this a priority, and LKS was more interested in taking potshots at Najib than reminding people that one of Harapan's core promises was constraining the power of the PM. In the Latheefa piece, I argued that Harapan political operatives should be working on reforming institutions – with bi-partisan support if needed – instead of merely engaging in rhetoric that worked up either base.
Back in February, I wrote a piece asking if Harapan really wants to control Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In it, I went back to the pre-election promises of the then Harapan opposition that they had a mechanism in place to “control” Mahathir Politician after politician reminded the base that there was a mechanism in place to control Mahathir, despite offering no credible evidence of this. Post-May 9, Mahathir played along, stepping aside when he was reminded that he could not do this or that. It was all very playful and it did not last very long.
While politicians have attacked this appointment as process deviation, the reality is that there was never any process, to begin with. Afif rightly points out that this particular select committee had not made any reform proposals, and the consequence of this is that even if this select committee is briefed – on a fait accompli – they have no power to do anything about the appointment of Latheefa.

Syahredzan Johan (photo, above), Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary, tweeted: "What the Major Public Appointments Committee can do is to review Lat’s (Latheefa’s) appointment after it has been made, to see whether it is proper and whether she is suitable, etc. "It will have no legal effect on the appointment itself, of course, but it's a review of government action."
Most politicians understand this. While people will blame factionalism in PKR for this, what they fail to understand is that this not only a PKR issue. The appointment of Latheefa was a provocative act, and while it is important to understand this, the greater message is the acknowledgement that Harapan has failed yet again to initiate reforms.
William Leong is one of the smarter politicians PKR has. However, this debacle falls directly into his lap. This select committee not only dropped the ball, they were not even in the game.
Leong going hat in hand to the PM seeking clarification of the PSC role is laughable. So is claiming that if the strongman does not give you power, you will disband. All this demonstrates that yet again, it is an amateur hour in Harapan. This fiasco has not only illustrated the schisms within Harapan, but it has laid the foundation for future unilateral actions, which the majority may not agree but would have to stomach because the politicians from Harapan preferred to rely on the public's hostility of Najib instead of actually carrying out reforms.
Moreover, we are all to blame for this because we get distracted. Afif rightly points out that there was no issue when the prime minister selected Tommy Thomas. We were all too busy wondering if the royal establishment would bow down to the demands of the far right than think about the process of reforms to constrain the power of the prime minister.

I never referenced the select committee when I was arguing that Tommy Thomas (photo, above) was the right person for the job, when I should have, because scrutiny by a select committee and a public hearing of the candidate would have been a check on the prime minister’s powers. Since it is always about race in this country and the machinations of the “ketuanan” types, I forgot about credible checks and balances and signalled my support without consideration of the process.
In this case, it gets more complicated. Supporters and detractors of Latheefa have been flooding me with articles, tweets and comments about the various schisms in PKR, and Latheefa’s role in many of these political manoeuvrings. It does not matter which faction Latheefa belongs to (indeed there are no political parties without factions, only political parties that are better at maintaining party discipline), but rather how credible she is when it comes to engaging with the system and her activism. Notice how nobody is questioning her credentials, only that her “impartiality” is in question when it comes to personalities within PKR.
If people think the fallout is bad now, with the PM’s unilateral move of appointing Latheefa, can you imagine a select committee hearing on her appointment? You should, because this is how democracy works. If the people we elect do not carry out the reforms they promised, how do we create this new Malaysia everyone is talking about? More importantly, if we, who voted for Harapan, do not hold our elected representatives accountable for the promise of reforms they made, how is this new Malaysia supposed to be created?

Calling for the resignation of Latheefa and using ridiculous pleas, like PKR Youth vice-president Syed Badli Syah Syed Osman (photo, above), to Latheefa to “prove her integrity,” is making a bad situation worse. It is the ultimate form of bamboozlement. It shifts the focus on Latheefa, instead of the reforms that could have taken place to avoid this fiasco. PKR politicians do not get to use the “process” as a sword when they have done nothing to ensure that the process is legally binding and the PM is constrained by the legislative branch.
Similarly, anyone arguing that the lack of a legally binding process somehow makes everything kosher is as mendacious as those who are using an informal, non-binding process to justify their opposition to Latheefa's appointment. One of the benefits of public select committee hearings is that, eventually, the factionalism within PKR would be on public display, instead of the online bickering that goes on now.
Already, the various camps are flashing their colours, hoping to derail the process and the only person who benefits is Mahathir, who comes out looking like a decisive leader when this appointment was engineered to provoke a reaction from the various camps in PKR. Rational Malaysians should understand that a process in place, which acts as a check and balance to executive power, is not solely aimed at Mahathir, but at the next grand poobah who steps into the picture.
Mahathir always knew he could rely on a weltanschauung that would put up with anything he did as long as it served some sort of greater purpose, which in reality was neither greater nor beneficial to the long-term politics of this country, but instead encouraged toxicity in the national discourse.
The irony is that PKR, which leads this particular select committee, could have done something about this, as Afif rightly points out, and the narrative would have been different if politicians did their job. As it is, the old maverick played the game better, Latheefa’s reputation is collateral damage, and now every decision she makes will be viewed through a factional lens.
The takeaway from this fiasco is that Mahathir has exposed the reform agenda of Harapan as a sham, and reinforced the narrative that only a strongman can lead this country.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:28 AM  
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