Mariam Mokhtar: Chief Secretary, Muhyiddin Should Resign

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Did Zuki volunteer to take the blame for Muhyiddin’s lack of leadership…or was he pushed into making the apology?

When news about yesterday’s selective PN-Members-Only meeting went viral, the rakyat reacted with fury.


The Mentri Besars (MB)/Chief Ministers (CM) of the Pakatan-held states of Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Penang and Sabah had not been invited. Only leaders of Perikatan Nasional (PN) states were present.

The meeting had been arranged by Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday morning to prepare for today’s enforced movement of people, to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

The rakyat was more shocked when the Chief Secretary to the Government, Zuki Ali, suddenly accepted responsibility for the fiasco and claimed that Muhyiddin was not responsible.

He said that Muhyiddin was serious about the matter and wanted cooperation from all the state governments, irrespective of their political leanings.

Well, both Zuki and Muhyiddin would say that, wouldn’t they?

We have returned to the former bad old days of Umno-Baru when leaders fail to accept responsibility but demand that their civil servants take the blame for their mistakes.

Our questions:

First. Do the minutes of the meeting record that Muhyiddin wanted the Harapan leaders to be present?

Did he admonish his Chief Secretary during the meeting, and is this in the minutes?

Second. Did Zuki offer to save Muhyiddin’s face by saying that Muhyiddin was not involved in issuing the invitation?

Muhyiddin has failed to show leadership if this is what really transpired.

Third. How professonal and competent is Zuki?

If he failed to invite the Harapan leaders to the meeting, then he lacks the maturity and professionalism to be the Chief Secretary to the Government.

Fourth. Does Zuki think that an apology is sufficient?

Zuki should resign or be sacked. He is wrong if he thinks that this is a minor matter. For decades, the rakyat has been at the receiving end of this sort of incompetence and lack of responsibility by its leaders and civil servants.

Fifth. When Zuki was asked to invite the leaders to this Coronavirus meeting, and realised that Muhyiddin had failed to extend the invitation to the Harapan leaders, did he (Zuki) show initiative and extend the invitation to all of the interested parties?

An able and competent Chief Secretary would have used his better judgement and common sense to advise Muhyiddin that this was a matter of national interest and that all the leaders, irrespective of their political leanings, should attend.

Zuki clearly failed to do this. Civil servants should rise above politics and not be partisan, but Zuki allowed politics to get in the way of a national emergency.

The selective PN-Members-Only meeting has shown Muhyiddin’s lack of leadership and Zuki’s incompetence.

Muhyiddin and Zuki have failed the nation, and both should tender their resignation.