YOURSAY | 'This is like using a sledgehammer to kill two annoying houseflies.'
Dr Raman Letchumanan: As a former civil servant, I am perplexed by this unusual decision to form an external high-powered committee to probe this minor incident that occurred between two civil servants at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
All it does is that it magnifies this small issue into something more serious.
To have attorney-general Idrus Harun, inspector-general of police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, auditor-general Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid and even MACC chief commissioner Azam Bak, point to the suspicion that this was a serious criminal matter or one of a national security breach.
Our civil service disciplinary conduct and rules are well-established. For one, there is no such high-powered external committee and disciplinary proceedings are not publicly announced during the investigation. A person should not be condemned even before he is judged.
Since there was a top civil servant and a relatively junior officer involved in that airport altercation, all it needed was for a superior officer, in this case, the chief secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali, as the head of the civil service, to call in the two officers and resolve the matter internally.
From the evidence available in public, I feel the head of the Public Service Department (PSD) was wrong in humiliating a junior officer in public. He should have just complained to the officer's head of service and let them handle the matter.
Furthermore, as PSD director-general, Mohd Shafiq Abdullah, who controls and manages all civil servants, this behaviour is uncouth and uncalled for, and I would say he is not fit to hold that post any longer. His outburst has brought disrespect to the whole civil service.
As for the immigration officer, if there is a dereliction of duty, it is up to his service head to take appropriate disciplinary action. So, the solution could be to reprimand the PSD head or transfer him to another post, and the immigration officer disciplined if he is at fault.
By creating this external committee, the matter is unnecessarily dragged into the public limelight and gives the impression that there is discord among the civil service or the politicians in charge of its various branches. Even if no one is found guilty, their reputation is already smeared. The PSD chief would have lost respect among his peers and, of course, the public.
The worst cases of civil service indiscipline have been handled delicately, without much fanfare. Or maybe, there is more than what we see.
Are civil servants taking sides with ministers? Now the public is awaiting with curiosity the outcome of this high-powered committee's decision. If the committee says it's all a misunderstanding, then the question arises why this committee was necessary.
If serious misconduct is found or findings are not announced, then there will be allegations of serious discord within the civil service or a cover-up. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was your advisor on this matter?
Vijay47: On the surface, this seems to be a straightforward issue of a disciplinary failure concerning two government servants, a matter that would easily and appropriately be resolved under the General Orders.
Like many others here, I was initially quite bemused by the seeming over-the-top response to a simple case. But on second thought, there appears to be more than meets the eye.
This is not just a top-heavy committee. What is strange is the membership of the inquiry team – the attorney-general, the IGP, the auditor-general and the MACC head.
Ismail Sabri, even on his worst day, would not have come out with such a committee without reason. The other strange element is that the PSD DG has not really made much of a statement, all the frothing at the mouth was by the Immigration Officers’ Union.
Admittedly along the lines of a conspiracy theory, I am now beginning to wonder whether the PSD chief was at the airport incognito and noticed certain seriously suspicious activities going on. He then screamed blue murder and gave the Immigration officers a piece of his mind, promising them that worse was yet to come.
Possibly caught with its pants down, the union decided that offence was the best defence; hence the ferocity of their protests against the PSD DG.
The story thus undergoes a major twist now and far from being the villain, Mohd Shafiq may be the good guy after all. If so, I definitely owe him and Ismail Sabri profuse apologies.
Kim Quek: Indeed, Ismail Sabri’s horribly misplaced priority is like chasing a mouse without noticing the elephant in the room.
Such an incredible blunder either reflects the prime minister's utter lack of intellect - or it is a deliberate distraction from the raging littoral combat ship (LCS) procurement scandal, in which billions were swindled, resulting in the country’s defence being exposed to danger.
Either way, Ismail Sabri’s fitness to lead the country is now called into question. To salvage this fiasco, Ismail Sabri should act swiftly to bring the culprits to book while working out an effective agenda to bring the project to fruition earliest.
Justice: These former defence ministers - Hishammuddin Hussein (who is also the current defence minister), Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Ismail Sabri - all headed the Defence Ministry so they all knew what had happened.
Surely, they were desperately hoping that this scandal would not be exposed, lest they would be made to account. So now, they are desperately trying to find scapegoats.
Luckily, our Navy officials are honourable men who courageously stood for what is right and valiantly opposed the evil deeds which had taken place.
YellowRusa5552: Great, yet another government committee! Seriously, don't these high-powered civil servants have anything better to do than to investigate a small inter-governmental spar between two government departments?
This is like trying to use a sledgehammer to kill two annoying houseflies.
Shibboleth: “The committee is responsible to carry out a detailed investigation and ensure fairness for both parties," said Mohd Zuki.
When the government set up a committee, it is to satisfy the curiosity of the public and keep the opposition quiet.
The committee's task is to find nothing; if they do find some wrongdoings, then they will conclude that there is not enough corroborative evidence to charge the culprit.
Six months down the road, we have more saucy scandals and political intrigue in the news. No one will remember this storm in the teacup.
I_Am_Penang_Kia: DAP leader Lim Guan Eng, this is a great opportunity to gain support from the rakyat in the coming 15th general election.
One of the main reasons the 60-year-old BN government collapsed in the last general election was because of the cover-up by the BN government over the 1MDB scandal.
Make this littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal as big as 1MDB and make it a Pakatan Harapan priority to arrest those involved should it get back into power.
The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. In the past year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.
These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.