Blame Najib, not Waytha

Sonia Ramachandran

SHAH ALAM: Blame Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak instead of getting upset with Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department senator P Waythamoorthy.

This is the opinion of political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat when asked about the recent call by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin for Waythamoorthy to step down if he still wants to act as a representative of a non-governmental organisation.

The ministers made the call when they accused Waythamoorthy of not valuing collective responsibility in the government when he questioned the “execution-style” shooting by the police of five alleged Indian gang members in Penang.

But Waythamoorthy is digging in and is not about to toe the government line, saying that he joined the Najib administration precisely to “solve these complex problems in appropriate ways”.

Although Wong agreed that under the principle of collective government responsibility Waythamoorthy had crossed the line, he questioned Najib’s rationale in bringing him (Waythamoorthy) into the government.

“Now that Waythamoorthy has joined the government, he would have expected human rights to be more respected and for Indians not to be gunned down so easily.

“Has Waythamoorthy got that impression? Then that person who would have sold that expectation to him is the prime minister. Where is the prime minister? Why are the ministers and the deputy minister fighting?

“Waythamoorthy should be blamed at most for his naivety. The person who should actually be blamed is Najib,” said Wong.

On whether Waythamoorthy should leave the government, the outspoken Wong said: “I think Waythamoorthy should hold Najib responsible and ask him what happened to the deal struck between them.

“He should ask Najib why he was brought into the government? He must hold him accountable before he walks out. If he just leaves, he will look like a newbie in politics.”

In April this year, Waythamoorthy, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Barisan Nasional government to improve the economic condition of the Indian community.

After the general election, he was appointed a senator and handpicked by Najib as a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Indian affairs.

Social scientist Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, however, feels that Waythamoorthy’s concern (over the shooting incident) was wrongly perceived.

“He is not obstructing or interfering with police work but has raised concerns over the shooting, the circumstances and the explanation provided. This is something the community and political leaders must do without fear or favour,” said Denison.

He agreed that there were different channels to raise questions once a person held a federal post but stressed that there was no harm in raising public concern over issues of public importance.

“The matter was not about questioning a cabinet decision but was an expression of concern on the way the shooting was carried out and the explanation given,” said Denison.

He said that the decision on whether Waythamoorthy should stay or go should be the prerogative of the prime minister as it was the latter who appointed him. –the antdaily

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