PETALING JAYA, 18 May 2009: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is a liability in the cabinet and must be removed, said the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih).
Hishammuddin (Pic courtesy
of theSun) “Hishammuddin’s abysmal and misjudged performance is now a liability to the new cabinet,” said a Bersih press statement dated yesterday.
“A minor reshuffle of the cabinet is inevitable if [Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak] means business in his slogan ‘performance now’,” the statement added.
In its statement, Bersih supported the Malaysian Bar Council’s call that Hishammuddin resign over the arrest of five lawyers on duty on 7 May 2009.
The Bar Council also urged for the resignation of Police Inspector-General Tan Sri Musa Hassan, and plans to file a civil suit against the government.
Responding to the Bar Council on 17 May, Hishammuddin said “Are lawyers immune to the law?” He added that the police would do whatever it takes to maintain peace and order in the country.
Bersih, in its statement, said that Hishammuddin’s response implied that lawyers representing detainees could be construed as a criminal act.
“Such responses reveal a lack of both competence and integrity on the part of the Home Minister,” stressed Bersih.
“The Bar Council’s resolution to demand political accountability and seek judicial remedy … is an act to protect public interest, and must not be seen as driven by self-interest,” the statement added.
The coalition called on civil society groups, including other professional organisations, to show solidarity with the Bar Council in its demands.
It also urged Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to weigh in on the issue.
“Koh’s portfolio in quality control would be pointless if he does not respond to crises but produces a key performance indicator (KPI) report only after months of disastrous ministerial incompetence,” the Bersih statement said.