MPs - Customs Department Spat. PM Steps In.
It is perhaps taking all this into consideration that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that he wants the issue involving the Customs and Excise Department and Members of Parliament (MPs) be stopped. He said if prolonged, it would certainly create negative reactions which would not be good either for the Customs or that certain quarters were probably not happy with some MPs. "On accusations hurled at each other, this is something that should not continue and should be stopped, that is my message to them as too many things have now been raised", he told reporters.
The Prime Minister said this when asked on the latest development which saw MPs questioning the Customs integrity during the Dewan Rakyat sitting. Abdullah is confident that the issue could be resolved given that Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed was now personally informed of the matter.
There is of course the strong possibilty that the Chief Secretary to the Government, the country's number one public servant, may have had a quiet word with Pak Lah. After all not many people have the kind of constant access to the Prime Minister that the Chief Secretary enjoys. And it is not easy even for the PM to ignore strong advice from him especially when it pertains to the interests of the civil service. Also keep in mind that the Yang Berhormat in their eagerness to condemn and 'lambast,' indirectly criticised the Chief Secretary, something not normally done, as courtesy demands that the highest respect is accorded to the head of the civil service. Public servants also won't take too kindly to see their boss being humiliated by MPs.
In any case it is better that Pak Lah ends any spat between these two pillars of the government machinery before things get ugly and the civil service retaliates. If that were to happen, apart from the MPs, it will be the ordinary citizen who will bear the brunt.
The Deputy Prime Miniter too has adviced the MPs: Air Grievances In A Decorous Manner, Najib Tells MPs.