Barisan Nasional (non-UMNO) members have been questioning the Cabinet’s decision to reprimand Deputy Higher Education Ong Tee Keat for alleging officials' misuse of funds meant for Chinese schools' refurbishment, while ignoring UMNO Youth leaders' criticism of Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon for allegedly neglecting issues concerning the Malays in the state.
But DPM Najib said the decision was made as a matter of principle. The Cabinet arrived at that decision in the presence of all BN component party heads.
"... in the presence of all ..." but was the decision unanimous?
He doesn’t want any more discussion on that issue. He averred that while Ong’s case was a matter of principle for the government, the others, referring to UMNO Youth leaders criticising Koh, was politics.
It’s also significant that Najib had earlier conceded that the criticism against Ong was made at the procedural level, that a deputy minister cannot criticise a different ministry, and not based on facts (of Ong’s allegation). He said the ‘facts’ would be a different issue.
He stated: “I don’t want to talk about facts, that’s another issue. But as a matter of principle, deputy ministers and ministers, except the prime minister and deputy prime minister, must look (at issues) under their own jurisdiction and not touch on other ministries.”
So, based on the above, principle requires the Cabinet to reprimand Ong regardless of whether his allegations were factual (they don’t want to know about that), but not when UMNO members criticised non-UMNO BN leaders.
Principle - now you see it, now you don't!
And of course, whilst Najib may not want to go into the ‘facts’ of Ong’s allegation, we do, oh yes, we do.