Is this all a joke for Hasan Arifin?


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Is this all a joke for Hasan Arifin?
By Zan Azlee

Here’s the deal. If you’re a public official who was elected to public office the represent the public who voted for you, then whatever you say is accountable to the public.

This is even more so when you hold a position such as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, and are responsible for the investigation of Malaysia’s high profile scandal – 1MDB.

I’m just saying because it would be ridiculous to utter something in front of journalists when you are the chairman of the PAC and then get upset if it gets reported.

Datuk Hasan Arifin responded by saying “Janganlah. Saya pun mahu cari makan juga”  to questions by the press on why the PAC wouldn’t be calling up Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

(Translation: “Please don’t. I need to make a living too.”)

Apparently, he said it jokingly and the press decided to report on it. Now if he said it jokingly, what would that mean about the perception people have about the investigation 1MDB?

Then, chairman Hasan said that he actually meant to say that he was referring literally to lunch that was being served after the PAC press conference that he had chaired.

And, what would that mean about the perception Hasan has about the press in Malaysia when he assumed that what he uttered would not be reported?

By doing so, it seems that he is looking down on the press. Does he not respect the press or take them seriously? Does he see it as a big joke that can be laughed about?

I’m just saying.

Now, chairman Hasan has decided that the PAC will no longer hold any press conferences and that all communications with the press will be through formal written media statements.

There goes any opportunity for the press to ask any questions if they have any about whatever investigation result that is being released by the PAC.

Also, there goes any risk of chairman Hasan making mistakes and uttering wrong statements that could be reported by the press and make him look incompetent or stupid.

No more press conferences equals no more extra clarification on issues. No more press conferences also equals to no more screwing up in public.

Although written media statements will still be released, by having no press conferences where the press can interact with the PAC, they really are practicing a form of censorship.

What this really means is that the right for the public to be informed on the investigation of the 1MDB scandal would be stifled and limited. There goes transparency and there goes democracy.

If chairman Hasan cannot even handle the press and the public in a professional manner, how would this reflect on his ability to handle the PAC investigation professionally?

Why should the public be punished and the investigation be compromised by a chairman who appears to be incompetent and unprofessional? That seems to be a little bit unfair.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

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