Star (Used by permission)
Valley View by Brian Martin
WHAT’S the fuss all about? Why would a routine temporary appointment stir up so much rhetoric among politicians and NGOs?
A storm of protest has erupted ever since Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim announced that veteran corporate executive Low Siew Moi would be appointed acting general manager of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).
Khalid had earlier said that Low’s appointment would be a temporary arrangement
until a suitable candidate was found to head the PKNS. But, his choice of Low
has not gone down well with certain quarters.
On Tuesday, the Selangor Malays Residents Action Body held a protest against the appointment outside the state secretariat building in Shah Alam.
According to Shah Alam Umno information chief Mohd Azhar Othman, the appointment is against the main aim and policies behind the setting up of the corporation and marks the first time it would be led by a non–bumiputra.
It is certainly and surely sad that after 51 years of independence, there are still people, including so–called leaders, who cannot look beyond the racial lines.
Azhar’s statement is only partially correct – the PKNS was set up in 1964 and has been headed by a Malay general manager ever since.
But, is the appointment of a non–Malay contrary to the aims and policies of the corporation? Or ultra vires the Federal Constitution? Or in violation of the special rights of the Malays? Or even an insult to the Sultan, as suggested by one NGO leader?
I don’t think so and, I am sure, many right and fair–minded fellow citizens of all races will agree with me.
The PKNS is a major property developer in Selangor, having built the state capital Shah Alam and the many modern townships like Kelana Jaya and Kota Damansara. To date, the corporation has built about 150,000 housing units in the state.
According to the corporation’s website, its stated mission is in line with the state policies to promote stability, harmony and social justice.
It seeks to achieve these lofty goals by the implementation of property development, commercial and industrial development and investment.
Its objectives are to encourage and develop housing estates, industry, commercial and new economic centres. agriculture and carry out other approved activities.
Low is eminently qualified to take the reins at the PKNS, having served the corporation for over 33 years, including holding the post of deputy general manager (corporate development) for the past 11 years.
It is learnt that Low will only serve as the acting general manager until a right candidate has been identified.
Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu has confirmed that the Pakatan Rakyat component parties, including PAS, had given their full backing to the Mentri Besar on his decision to appoint Low.
The DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have publicly endorsed the appointment while PAS has not objected to it.
“PAS has only requested for preference to be given to candidates the party feels are suitable to lead the organisation,” Liu told StarMetro.
Otherwise, Liu said, the state government had no plan to reconsider its decision on Low’s appointment.
He said Low, who was due for retirement soon, had been appointed in an acting capacity to hold the fort pending a permanent appointment later.
“So, we don’t understand why people are trying to make an issue of this,” he said.
The real issue, however, is not Low’s appointment but the very sad and disappointing racial overtone of the whole matter.
When are we ready to come of age and accept each other without the consideration of colour, creed, culture and class?