Dr M: Democracy in Malaysia is Dead

democracy

More interesting things especially on democracy and Malaysia are taking place on social media and in late nights when I do have the time, I usually spent it on surfing through Facebook instead of writing a post for the blog. Another is that I have gone “back to school” and I managed to get one of the certificate that I targeted to get this year. Unfortunately it is just a start and I have another target to meet in the next few months. So, it is back to doing revisions and the dreaded homework in the coming months. Image: Pinterest

And times are tough and times are not right for one to simply sit back and take things easy. Work too have been piling up over the last few months and the expectations from both in and out of the organisation have been very, very demanding.

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Snippets – 28 March 2014

snippet

(Only in Malaysia this happens on a regular basis and it is not a laughing matter. After all this country is best of the best when it comes to corruption free Government and corruption fighting agencies, eh?. Cartoon source: http://johnnyongcartoons.blogspot.com/)

Whilst we are largely pre-occupied with MH370 tragedy and have been keeping up our hopes for some kind of closure, some Malaysian politicians have been having some strange itchiness and have been trying to outdo each other in making themselves looking like an ass in public. Hmmm, is this the real reason why that old man, if given a chance, wanted to censor the internet?

World’s Most Corruption Free Country: Malaysia

It’s very obvious that some people in the country still living in a cocoon (perhaps high on coconut water). It must be one hard cocoon that they are living in as evident from this:-

Malaysia antara negara terbersih daripada perbuatan rasuah, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Shahidan menafikan dakwaan Malaysia sebuah negara yang kerap mengamalkan rasuah dan menegaskan dakwaan tersebut tidak wajar dikeluarkan kerana akan memberi kesan kepada pihak lain. Beliau berkata, Malaysia juga mempunyai sebuah agensi memerangi rasuah yang terbaik di dunia iaitu Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).

(Source)

Translated in simple English – Malaysia is one of the most corrupt FREE country in the world and has one of the best corruption fighting agency in the world (referring to MACC). Ok, I will wait for you to re-read the statement (mind you, it is coming from a seasoned Minister) and wait for the hard cold reality to hit you. I know, something is not right, right? Done that? Ok great. Now I will wait for you to laugh your heart out.

That is what happened to me when I first read this statement. I was speechless. I was in shock. I do not know which version of Malaysia that Shahidan is talking about (obviously exists in a galaxy far, far away) but it surely cannot be the same Malaysia that most of us are living in. The Malaysia that we live in has been ranked as one of the most corrupt nations by Ernst & Young. That is not a big revelation! We all know that for a long time now and we also know that MACC (the so-called best of the best) is toothless (can’t blame them) when it comes to nabbing those in political power when it comes to corruption (otherwise we would have seen certain Chief Minister behind bars a long time ago).

Deputy Minister Assumed RMAF Assumed Crap

One of the sourest point in the search for MH370 is the failure for RMAF to correctly identify and intercept MH370 when it deviated from it’s original flight path. If this been done, we could have identify MH370 immediately and would not have wasted valuable time, resources and assets over the South China Sea for days.

Then the Deputy Minister of Defence revealed that RMAF assumed that the plane had turned back because the air traffic control had ordered them back. The part of RMAF “assumed” did not go well with many people – after all, we expect the military to be more precise and professional especially of those monitoring the air space above Malaysia. We expect them to be on high alert and track things out of the ordinary. We expect them to pick up the phone and give DCA a call. With all that technology and expensive military hardware, we had never expect them to work on assumption basis. That is why we were pissed off when the Minister said RMAF had assumed this and that.

Then we had a 180 degree turn:-

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri today admitted he assumed that the Subang air traffic control had asked lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to turn back, adding his assumption was not accurate.

“In relation to my statement in the debate for the Royal Address yesterday, in which I said MH370 did a turn back probably because it received instructions from air traffic control, I want to clarify that it was just my assumption and one of the possibilities that could have happened.

“After making checks, I would like to stress that my assumption is not accurate,” Abdul Rahim said in a terse two-paragraph statement in Kuala Lumpur today.

(Source)

Now the joker turns around and say that it was he who made the assumption and not RMAF. Didn’t he check the facts before he opened his mouth in the Parliament? Did he misled the MPs then with unverified facts and wild assumptions? Doesn’t this borders to lying?

If this is not the case, then what would be the real reason for RMAF not scrambling their jets to intercept the rouge plane? Even if they claimed that DCA did not inform them of the missing plane, wouldn’t that make an even more compelling case for RMAF to scramble and intercept the plane? Someone obviously had slept on the job and it is very unsettling to know that we may have huge holes in our defence system. We still want to know what really happened otherwise we may find ourselves with another plane deviated from its flight path.

44 Firearms Lost – A Small Matter Only

It may sound like they had only lost 44 soiled underwear so we have “nothing” to worry but it is not the case:-

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is satisfied with the explanations given by police over its loss of assets, including 44 firearms highlighted in the 2012 Auditor General’s Report, said its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

“The amount is quite small and does not justify further investigation,” he said, adding the loss of assets in any organisation is normal and this included the police force. “We have to accept there will be some losses when the police are on duty, but in terms of the overall firearms, the number of losses is quite small.

“It’s not significant. In audit terms, it’s not significant for us to warrant further investigation,” he told reporters after chairing the PAC meeting today.

(Source)

Well, I don’t know about you but for me, what is important is not the number of items lost but rather what was lost. If the police had lost say 44 key-chains, it is nothing to shout about. But if you consider that the item lost is a firearm, then even a lost of 1 is a big issue. The police had lost 44 firearms. It could armed a small army to its teeth. It could be used for armed robberies and assassinations. It is significant and it does warrant further investigation. At end of the day, heads must roll and that is what we expect PAC to do. We don’t expect PAC to trivialize the 44 firearms lost and then sweep it under the carpet. Sigh, I sure hope PAC did not buy into the “fallen into the sea” crappy explanation and decided to close the issue. The outcome is very disappointing.

Too many newspapers will confuse Malaysians

Well, too much of something is not good for anyone – I agree but making the same case on newspapers and news is simply dumb (especially at this age of the internet):-

The Home Ministry had rejected FZ Daily and Malaysiakini’s application for publishing permits to protect the public from the confusion of having access to “too much news”.

“The (number of) newspaper publications with approved publishing permits is sufficient considering the number of readers in the country,” Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a parliamentary written reply Tuesday.

(Source)

When the case was taken to the court, the High Court judge ruled that the Home Ministry’s rejection was “improper and irrational”. And the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision and thus reconfirming that the rejection was indeed “improper and irrational”. So telling off that having too many newspapers is a bad thing does test one’s logic. At the end of the day, it is all depends on the selling the right news (not the crappy & racial ones from you-know-which-newspaper) and having sizable readership to continue to run the newspaper. No one dies from having too much news. No one goes crazy from reading too many news. And at times (in Malaysia, make it “most of the time”), it makes more sense for one to actually read both side of the story and come out with the right conclusion.

At the end of the day, knowing what Malaysiakini published on the internet, it is nothing but a political laced decision to simply silence the critics and keep the truth on the wrongdoings from surfacing.

And to rub salt on the wound, here we go again – all knowing, charitable and most gracious, whiter than angel politicians wanting to protect the feeble, weak, dumb public from the great danger. If we need any kind of protection, there will be only one – protect us from dumb politicians and their propaganda. We all know why Zahid is shitting in his pants over the application for permit to publish by Malaysiakini. We are not as dumb as he wants us to be.

Well, anyway have a great weekend ahead. Let’s just hope by chance, some of the politicians would start using their brains and we’ll finally hear more intelligent statements from next week onwards.

PM Talking Cock

Another case of you help me, I help you?

(With elections around the corner, expect more incidents of talking cock to be sprouting out from the foamy mouth of the many half-past-six politicians around the country and on a more regular basis too. Image source: http://www.olx.com.sg)

In Malaysia, I think we have come to a point where we can take in usual talk cock from the politicians in this country on a regular basis but when it comes to the Prime Minister himself talking cock and even though you may say that you have see it all, heard it all, you should know that at this level, even talking cock has it’s limit

Datuk Seri Najib Razak today pledged to give more freedom to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in the appointment of its officers if Barisan Nasional (BN) wins two-thirds control of Parliament in the next general election.

(Source)

I do not know what kind of “super-powers” that the BN Government intends to empower MACC in the future – perhaps that all important power to prosecute or perhaps able to throw witnesses from the windows legally, I don’t know but why wait until the next general elections?

Isn’t BN already running the show at the Federal level and despite oppositions and MP walking out, have easily passed two suppressive laws in recent times? I am sure that if the BN Government is empowering MACC with enough powers to hang those who commit corruption up on a high pole, Pakatan politicians and the rakyat would be very supportive as well. There is really no need for two-thirds control of the Parliament and no need to wait for the general elections (unless it is going to enact laws that make obvious incidents like NFC untouchable to anyone).

Voters are not dungus and they don’t like to be taken for a ride – it is easy to see clearly when one is talking cock – loud and clear

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NFC: When They Will Be Really Honest?

(Countdown – 336 days to “doomsday”)

(An unexpected revelation of corruption involves the cows or an internal chess-play for the Pantai Parliamentary seat? Cartoon source: Zunar / Malaysiakini)

It could be just an hypothetical question but here’s one last post before the holidays…

This article by Citizen Nades on the NFC mess was a good one and if you had missed reading this in The Sun last Wednesday, here it is in verbatim (basically it nails the same thing that every tax payer has in their mind):-

Be honest and answer all questions
R. Nadeswaran

RULE No 1 in a calamity, according to the gurus of crisis communications, is that you should never run away from a problem as it will not bring about a solution. The more you try to hide, the more will be out in the open. You can never solve a crisis by remaining silent. The more you put a spin on a crisis, the more attention it attracts. The golden rule is: Be honest and answer all questions.

Today’s column is not an exercise in public relations or crisis communications, but three bulletins from Ghazalie Abdullah who describes himself as one who “counsels, writes, speaks, designs, articulates and steers corporations on using public relations to achieve their corporate, financial and marketing goals” provoked some thought into the whole affair involving the National Feedlot Corporation.

On Dec 23 last year, journalists received a statement from Ghazali which read: “As part of the ongoing investigations, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers visited National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd today. The management and staff welcomed the visit and extended their full cooperation. It is the view of the National Feedlot Corporation that this afternoon’s visit by the MACC was not a raid as reported.”
Really? Did they come for Darjeeling tea, muffins and scones or teh tarik and kuih? Perhaps a dictionary would have helped explain the meaning of the word “raid”. If they came a visiting like we visit each other’s open houses, would they be carting away CPUs and files?

The second followed a day later. It said that “NFC Chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail wishes to clarify to the media that the Datuk apprehended by the police recently, is not related to him or any member of his family.”

How did anyone know the identity of the Datuk when the police had not even produced him in court or charged him? Ghazali must be aware that the media in Malaysia never identify any suspect or arrested person unless he or she is charged with an offence. Surely, Salleh or Ghazali must have had inside information!

But what arrived in the inbox two days ago was something extraordinary. For starters, the statement said: “With police investigations on NFC reported concluded, NFC has today emerged to clarify the allegation that directors of the company have been receiving huge unjustifiable salaries.”

Who decides if the police have concluded investigations, and even if they have done so, it is for the police to say so. Emerged? From where – from hiding or from a taxpayer-funded holiday?

Executive director Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh clarified that the directors were earning nowhere near the overstated figures saying that the relevant authorities have the information on their payroll and the bank statements to match.

On a more serious note, I believe him because there has been no documentary evidence presented by the claimants to back the figures which looked exaggerated. But instead of facing the media and answering the questions, why has the company which has “emerged” hiding behind statements?

Wan Shahinur not only assured but “reassured the public should not be unduly alarmed by such postings in the internet that offered distortions and incorrect information.”

Thank you, but how can taxpayers be assured if the amounts have been distorted when the correct figures have not been presented?

He also says the expenses incurred on corporate credit cards were for business development. The business development expenses by the four directors, he says, reflect the magnitude of its multi-million ringgit sales.

But can he tell how much such expenses were. After all, it was taxpayers’ money to the tune of RM250 million that got the NFC going and technically, we are all stakeholders and have a right to know.

While the NFC can beat its chest and claim it has “emerged”, there’re only bits and pieces of information that are “emerging”. It has not denied the purchase of condominium units in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and would NFC care about telling us about the purchase?

Surely, if it was the figment of imagination of some anonymous writer in cyberspace, all right-thinking people will disbelieve him or her. But at media conferences, documents and photographs have been produced to substantiate the claims and the “emergence” of NFC has not seen it fit to tackle these issues.

As much as this writer wants to believe that everything is above board, it becomes painful when selected issues are addressed.

This problem will not go away with terse and selective statements. There’s a Tamil proverb which says that you cannot hide a whole pumpkin in a plate of rice, which is exactly what NFC is trying to do.

Once and for all, put all the cards on the table, come clean and put up your hands if you have done wrong. Only then will the whole nation believe anything that comes from NFC itself or through consultants and counsellors.

R. Nadeswaran says the public has a right to know how taxpayers’ funds are used when the government doles them out to entrepreneurs. He is theSun‘s UK correspondent based in London and can be reached at: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com

The allegations of misuse of public funds by NFC stakeholders has been mind boggling – from buying condominiums to settlement of personal credit cards. I am not sure where it will end. The authorities are investigating these allegations of course and the Minister in question has been asked to go on a long leave and NFC’s assets frozen. Now she is suing back too and this may drag things further, at least at the political arena. But basic and simple answer to questions raised is what we want at the end of the day

In the meantime, Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Holidays…

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It’s A Suicide But….

This is serious and very damaging…

(So, this was “suicide due to guilt feeling” back then but with a twist now – it is driven to suicide by aggressive interrogation. No matter how we look at it, Teoh Beng Hock should not be dead in the first place – it is a tragic loss and failure by MACC to conduct its business in the right way)

Free Malaysia Today reported:-

“It was found that he was not killed. But he was burdened and pressured by the interrogation, coupled with Teoh being a weak-willed person which triggered him to commit suicide,” he said.

Nazri said the RCI also found that MACC officers had no intention or reason to kill Teoh but only wanted to force a confession from him as a witness in their investigations into the alleged abuse of state allocations by DAP state assemblymen in Selangor.

“And his suicide is supported by forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul Mullen, who was engaged by the Bar Council,” he added.

Nazri said that Mullen noted that Teoh’s risk of committing suicide soared drastically due to the long hours of aggressive interrogation.

(Source)

Interestingly RPK in his series to uncover the killers of the late Customs Officer Ahmad Sarbaini (who died in a very similar way) wrote this:-

Sheikh Niza brought Ahmad Sarbaini to KUS Mohd Fauzi’s office, which was next door to the pantry (remember what happened to Teoh Beng Hock). Here, he was verbally abused. KUS Mohd Fauzi called Ahmad Sarbaini a disgrace to the Royal Malaysian Customs, that he was not fit to wear their uniform. Rather shaken up, Ahmad Sarbaini pleaded for pity and a drink of water.

Shockingly, they brought Ahmad Sarbaini to the pantry. Incredibly, as punishment for attempting to retract his ‘confession’, Mohd Fauzi ordered him to climb out of the window and forced him to stand on the ledge.

KUS Mohd Fauzi wanted Ahmad Sarbaini to ponder and reflect on his actions while standing on the edge as “orang macam kau ni lebih baik mati dari hidup menyusahkan orang lain”.
Nervously, Ahmad Sarbaini climbed onto the windowsill as ordered by Mohd Fauzi who continued taunting and abusing him with insults. Sheikh Niza merely looked on. In that split second, Ahmad Sarbaini’s belt got stuck on the outer part of the window and he lost his balance and his life.

(Source)

Does this equivalent to “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous” interrogation as well if what RPK is claiming is true (he wrote a similar story when Teoh was found dead)?

I am not sure whether the Royal Commission’s findings that Teoh was not killed but committed suicide due to aggressive interrogation is the kind of justice we expected to get at the end – almost 2 years after Teoh Beng Hock was found dead at MACC’s premise but it is still better than the previous ruling “he was not killed, he did not commit suicide”. It is not a closure though – there are plenty of repercussions ahead for the Government, MACC, the police and the AG.

RCI returned a verdict of suicide due to aggressive interrogation and noted Selangor MACC office namely brutality in interviews, poor interview skills, poor reporting, arrogance, poor relationship with the public and other agencies, insufficient use and understanding of the capacity of modern technology, possible problems with interaction between intelligence-gathering and evidence gathering and lack of discipline (remember the one where the officer was watching porn in office).

The next course of action would be on whether:-

1. Criminal action taken on the 3 MACC officers who deemed to have conducted the “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous” interrogation which let Teoh to break down and end up committing suicide.

Just because they did not pull the trigger, it does not mean they are innocent. Just because they did not “intend” for someone to die but through their action, someone did, it does not mean they are not punishable. When one is not found guilty of cold murder, there are still provisions under the law to find the person guilty under manslaughter.

Will we see the AG now “aggressively and relentlessly” proceed with manslaughter proceedings against the 3 MACC officers? Or it is going to be business as usual for these officers who only pursuing the interrogation based on what many perceived to be part of an evil, dirty political scheme to disrupt the administration of the Pakatan led state (remember this nonsense?)? And it is now found that the investigations that cause Teoh Beng Hock to die was done solely on an informant’s “mere belief” and without supporting facts!

Yes, it is a suicide but please consider this – Teoh is young with a promising career ahead and soon going to get married and have a kid. He was not suicidal.

And until the MACC’s interrogations, he was just a normal man, minding his own business. Damn, he was not even a suspect in the matter. In that respect, those MACC officers who pursued the interrogations should not be let off the hook so freely. Any punishments should be severe enough as a reminder for others that such recklessness and abuse of power is not tolerated in any degree and in no matter what is the purpose may be.

2. A complete overhaul of the whole MACC from the ground, all the way to the top.

MACC took over from the old ACA which many already deemed corrupt but after Teoh’s death and lack of similar devotion to investigate corruption reports on politicians from the ruling political parties, it seemed only the MACC is no different than ACA other in namesake (in some sense, worst with 2 unexplained deaths on its hands).

Seriously, generally not many think that MACC will ever change and the outcome of the RCI was something that has been predicted from the very start and it will be the same case for Ahmad Sarbaini. I mean if MACC have been really serious in combating corruption and blatant use of public funds from day 1, they would have dragged certain politician from the east by his neck and hung him up high and dry as a lesson for others.

Nothing happen back then, nothing will likely to happen now. Some shadow-play here and there is expected to be displayed to the general public to show “something serious” is being done to improve the organization, perhaps but nothing concrete is expected to materialized though.

Only with a total change of Government will we see any complete overhaul of the system that seemed corrupt to the core and beyond any redemption. We have no other choice whatsoever now. Otherwise, it will be another suicide and once again, the verdict would “not killed but driven to suicide – case closed”. Forced suicide is the last thing we want to see.

The Government had already lost the goodwill and international image with its hard stand on Bersih 2.0. Will they do the same by standing idle on the Royal Commission findings on Teoh Beng Hock’s death now? Will they ever put Teoh Beng Hock’s case to a proper closure?

Case for PR’s 100 Day Plan

(Warning: Long post ahead)

(PR is making it case to the general public that it can make a positive difference if it becomes the Government but we need a more convincing case. Image source: http://wargamarhaen.blogspot.com)

Interesting topic for the beginning of the year…

Well, it is in our best interest (no matter which side of the politics we may be) to know what the opposition intends to do if they come in power – although the chances of that happening in recent months is almost nil, no thanks to the Oppositions shooting themselves in their foot numerous times in the last 4 years (but who knows what can happen in the next few years).

Last year (although it seems too late), the Opposition came out with it’s “Change now, Save Malaysia” proposition and listed a list of items that the Opposition will do in the first 100 days if it is voted into power.

During Sunday’s convention here, Pakatan distributed its “Change now, save Malaysia” pamphlets detailing the CPF agenda to adopt “pro-rakyat” administrative principles if it becomes the federal government.

Among the policies are to free national institutions from political interference and corruption; ensure fair economic distribution of wealth; empower the people; strengthen the educational institution and return autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak.

The “100-Days Pakatan Rakyat” programme, which would be implemented during the first three months of Pakatan being in power, includes abolishing the Internal Security Act, reducing subsidies for the private sector, giving a RM500 monthly increment for teachers and increasing oil royalties by 20% for Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kelantan.

(Source)

And it did not take long for BN to rubbish PR’s 100 days incentives:-

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has lambasted the Pakatan Rakyat’s 100-day reform plan, unveiled last month, describing it as populist and irresponsible.

He said the plan was unrealistic because it did not state the source of funds to finance the undertaking.

“In fact, it won’t take that long; in just two years, according to our estimates, our country will become like Greece if the plan is implemented without regard to the country’s means to implement it,” he said at the monthly gathering of the Prime Minister’s Department, here, Monday.

(Source)

Never mind if Najib stayed cleared of other part of PR’s proposition like reform of the main national government institutions and abolishment of ISA and only focused on the proposed expenditure of the PR’s proposition and at the same time, plays the fear of the country going bankrupt like the country of Greece (hmm, now where did I hear that?).

Najib said “the plan was unrealistic because it did not state the source of funds to finance the undertaking”. In other words, this may imply that PR may be making plans for the expenditure BEFORE finalizing the source of income to fund the said expenditures. Something that well spinned in the mainstream media but let’s give the benefit of the doubt – after all, PR have yet to prove themselves and many still doubt their ability to able to run the country better than BN.

BN’s Yearly Budget

So, before we even come to PR’s 100 day plan proper and in detail, let’s look at BN side of view. After all, they have been presenting national budget and balancing between national expenditure and income on a yearly basis.

In 2010, Najib in presenting the 2010 Budget themed “1Malaysia, Together We Prosper” amounting to RM191.5 billion with RM138.3 billion or 72.2 per cent for operating expenditure and RM53.2 billion or 27.8 per cent for development expenditure. Of course, Najib infused the budget presentation with mega projects including the insane 100 story tower which then lead to many thinking that public funds is going to be used for the construction or in most cases, bailout.

And we are only talking about budgets. What about the actual expenditures? Tony Pua of PR made this observation:-

We had in fact applauded the Government’s decision to reduce operating expenditure by a significant 13.7% from RM160.2 billion in 2009 to a budgeted RM138.3 billion.

However, in the Budget announcement today, it has been announced that the Government’s operating expenditure is expected to hit RM152.2 billion, or a massive RM13.9 billion (10.1%) over budget.

This clearly demonstrates the government’s inability to impose financial discipline on its expenditure to ensure that the country’s financial objectives are met. It is also not the first year the Government has overspent its budget. In fact, the Government has consistently overspent its budget by at least 5% as far back as 2000, with the worst year being in 2008 when the budget was exceeded by 17.2%.

Now if you think about it, the Government when presenting the yearly budget would have matched the expected income to be collected against the budgeted expenditure. Certainly it cannot be a deficit budget – no enough cash to cover the expenses, so how to make up for the difference? More debts?

Mismatch of Budget & Actual

Presentation of a sound budget is one thing but the actual expenditure is another. If the Government had spent more than what was budgeted, then where is the source of funds to finance the additional expenses? How did Najib justify the source of income when the expenses went overboard as compared to the yearly budget and mind you, the Government has been overspending for the last 10 years?

But why the increased expenditure in the first place? Is it because the Government had under estimated the actual cost of operating and therefore under estimate the amount in their yearly budgets (for the last 10 years)? Or is it because there has been mismanagement of public funds and poor management of resources? Or a combination of both?

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is still studying the Auditor-General’s Report 2009 and does not dismiss the possibility of opening more investigation papers based on the report

A newspaper report had quoted the Auditor-General’s Report as mentioning that the Defence Ministry had spent RM300,000 on buying luxury items for the VVIP room, including RM95,880 on wallpaper, by using an allocation from the First Economic Stimulus Package.

(Source)

And it only gets more absurd:-

Who in their right mind would pay RM42,320 for a laptop?

Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara Balik Pulau in Penang not only paid the price but bought two units of the same brand – Acer Aspire-5052ANWXMI, at a whopping price of RM84,640, said the Auditor-General’s Report.

In addition, the college purchased 450 units of computer CAD with network card at RM3.45mil for 12 labs. Each 19-inch monitor costs RM8,500 while a 17-inch monitor costs RM7,500.

(Source)

And

“The ministry signed a contract for the supply of 2.7 million metres of cloth worth RM27.54 million from December 2006 to November 2009.

“They spent RM7.01 million for the service of sewing 240,000 sets of uniforms for the period of April 2007 till March 2010,” said Ambrin.

He added that 2.7 million metres of cloth could produce 600,000 sets of uniforms but since only 240,000 were required, Rela has an excess of RM16.52 million worth of unused cloth.

(Source)

So, whilst BN may rubbish PR’s propositions as unrealistic, what about the leakages and mismanagement of the current financial affair by BN themselves? Let’s come back to PR’s 100 days proposition.

PR’s Propositions

PR in their “Change now, Save Malaysia” proposition summarized the followings to be done within the first 100 days after it comes into power:-

1. Reform the main national institutions of government, such as the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Malaysian Royal Police Force to introduce transparency and restore accountability of government.

2. Abolish the Internal Security Act.

3. Direct Khazanah Berhad, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and all other government bodies that own highway concessions to complete the transference of such highway assets to the government with the purpose of abolishing tolls.

4. Change the structure of national subsidies by reducing corporate sector subsidies (such as the gas subsidies of RM19 billion to independent power producers) and transferring these savings toward subsidies for the rakyat.

5. Recognise the roles and contributions of public servants by re-evaluating the salary structures; starting with an increase in teachers’ allowances by RM500 per teacher per month as a recognition of the importance of their role as educators in nation building.

6. Restoring all private water concessions to the government, making water a public asset of the rakyat.

7. Deploy free Wi-Fi internet services to all Malaysians in the urban and semi-urban areas.

8. Dissolve Felda Plantations to redistribute its estate lands to the second and third generation of Felda settlers.

9. Increase oil royalties to Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kelantan to 20%.

10. Set up a Royal Commission to comprehensively resolve the problems of illegal immigration and citizenship in Sabah.

And mindful, the above is a proposed act within 100 days after PR forms the next Government (of course, discounting the days wasted on internal fighting as to who get which portfolio in the new Government which may be long and tiring).

Some of the above proposal may or may not be realistic at that point of time whilst others may not easy to be achieved within the first 100 days (it is going to take major and drastic actions on part of the new Government to even start to reform the Election Commission, the MACC, the AG’s Chambers and the Malaysian Royal Police Force).

PR published the “Orange Book” in December 2010 which further explains their Common Policy Platform and the 100 days initiatives and in the book, listed some rather interesting statistics of the country under BN, namely:-

  • 12 years in a row of budget deficits for Malaysia
  • 10 years in a row, that Malaysia has failed to achieve its economic growth targets
  • Malaysia fell 26 spots in the institutional integrity ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report conducted by the World Economic Forum from 2007 to 2009.
  • 34% of Malaysian workers (about 4 million people) are paid less than RM700 a month, which is below the poverty line.
  • 62% of the RM39 billion paid in subsidies and compensation each year are given to corporations (IPPs, highway concessions etc), and not to the rakyat
  • RM4 billion allocated for food subsidies (sugar, wheat, rice), which UMNO / BN is trying to revoke. RM19 billion worth of gas subsidies are given to independent power producers and RM4 billion is given to highway concessionaires each year
  • RM19 billion worth of gas subsidies are given to independent power producers each year, compared to RM 11 billion worth of petrol subsides for the rakyat – now at risk of being revoked for the rakyat, but not for the corporations – rakyat to suffer, while these corporations will continue to enjoy special big profits.

That is however not to say that BN led Government have not recognized the same problems that PR has listed down rather “eagerly” in the Orange Book and I am pretty sure that mitigation actions have been put in place to improve / reform / etc but the fact that there has been a continued mismanagement of the petroleum money and the huge compensation / subsidies paid for IPP and toll concessionaires has not been acceptable to most of us.

Is it true that the PR propositions are unrealistic due to no evidence of income as claimed by Najib? The Orange Book does not specifically mention the source of income for the 100 days initiatives but we can see where PR is coming from.

PR in December 2010 clarified:-

Oleh itu, Pakatan Rakyat berhasrat untuk memperkenalkan imbuhan khas pendidik sebanyak RM500 kepada semua pegawai dan guru yang bertanggungjawab di dalam sistem pendidikan kita.

Ini akan menelan belanja RM3.2 bilion setahun. Jumlah ini adalah kecil jika dibandingkan dengan pembaziran-pembaziran lain yang kini berleluasa di bawah UMNO/Barisan Nasional.

Kos perbelanjaan semua lawatan Perdana Menteri ke luar negara setakat ini sebanyak RM8.7 juta boleh menanggung imbuhan bagi 1,450 orang guru. Bayaran kepada APCO sebanyak RM77 juta bagi tahun 2009 boleh menampung imbuhan bagi 12,800 orang guru iaitu keseluruhan tenaga kerja yang membangunkan profesionalisme keguruan. Pembaziran UMNO/Barisan Nasional sebanyak RM131 juta bagi menampung perbelanjaan perunding dan kos operasi PEMANDU bagi tahun 2010 boleh membayar imbuhan bagi 21,833 lagi orang guru, iaitu hampir keseluruhan tenaga kerja kementerian.

Ini belum lagi pembaziran-pembaziran mega seperti subsidi gas sebanyak RM19 bilion kepada sektor korporat dan kroni, kos menyelamatkan kroni yang melibatkan Empangan Bakun sebanyak RM6 bilion dan ketirisan akibat rasuah yang dianggarkan mencecah RM28 bilion setiap tahun.

(Source)

Loosely translated – PR proposed RM500 as an additional allowance for teachers and the total money to be spent on this is expected to be RM3.2 billion. PR expects to pay for this from the savings from other unnecessary expenses like RM8.7 million from PM’s foreign visits expense, RM77 million from APCO consultancy fees, RM131 million from PEMANDU expenditures, RM19 billion from gas subsidy, RM6 billion from Bakun bailout and RM28 billion from corruption leakages.

So, I think we should not be too quick to call PR’s 100 days propositions as unrealistic as there are merits to the facts presented by them. It may be a populist measure or an unrealistic financial measure as Najib claims it to be but the fact is PR has presented the case to the general public. It now needs to explain further so that information is clear, complete and remains viable.

The only problem with this is that they should have done this much earlier – perhaps immediately after the general election in 2008 and keep up with a similar execution of the plan at State level and have a well run working model to be used as a basis for greater things. This way, their methods would have been proven and any shortcoming could have rectified before it is applied at national level.

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Orange Book in English

Orange Book in Bahasa Malaysia

Najib and his Budget

Speechless Corruption

What the MACC still waiting for? The usual green light from the top?

(Why care about these people when RM50 million of hard cold cash goes to your pockets on a yearly basis and no one can touch you, right? Image source: http://www.sarawakreport.org)

Despite saying “we are not as corrupt as we are perceived to be”, one need to wonder whether MACC still sleeping on the job? Especially when you read this:-

Sarawak Report can reveal that the Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, has a major personal shareholding in Sarawak’s highly controversial Royal Mulu Resort, a project that has received huge injections of cash from the State.

This means that, as both Chief Minister and Finance Minister, Taib has authorised the diversion of large sums of public money straight into his own pocket.

Given that the Chief Minister had alienated profitable state land into the hands of his unqualified sister and brother, the project was from the start corrupt.

Even more corrupt has been the continuing support by the state of Sarawak, through the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, of what has turned out to be a lamentably unprofitable venture. In the name of ‘developing tourism’ the SEDC has been paying what appear to be astronomical ‘management fees’ to the Geneids and their co-shareholders for running their own hotel investment!

Sarawak Report has been informed from reliable sources that the agreement was for Borsamulu’s management subsidiary to be paid RM 50 million a year for 50 years by the state.

This means that the State of Sarawak has agreed to pay the Geneids and indeed the Chief Minister himself, RM 50 million a year to manage their own investment until the day they die!

We therefore ask the Government of Sarawak if they will please confirm this figure and explain on what grounds they think they can condone such corruption?

Read more here – still dare to say “we are not as corrupt as we are perceived to be”? Still want to consider “commission in millions” as nothing to shout about? Still think that we need to keep the same people in power and hope for the best?

MACC in “Action”

I have read about it but nothing beats watching it in video…

[youtube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ffbSgUy_1E]

Just watched “Malaysia’s Funniest and Tragic Court” video and it was hilarious to see the “experienced” 24 years MACC lawyer trying very, very hard to prove a point in the case.

Watch out for Part 5 – the juicy part is there but then again, the comedy starts in Part 1 itself.

Watch out for the frustration and disbelief of the other lawyers in the court, especially Malek Imtiaz and Gobind Singh, to the extent the coroner have to re-correct the MACC lawyer on what Dr Pornthip had said earlier (but Abdul Razak still insists on what he thinks Dr Pornthip had said despite court records says otherwise).

MACC & Untouchables?

(There is no smoke without fire. It cannot be “something fishy” without corruption. The question is why a RM100 dormant company can buy properties at almost 85% discount if not for gross conflict of interest and personal gains. Image source: http://hornbillunleashed.wordpress.com)

Some people still think we are living in caves, they really do…

At these days, information is obtained at lighting pace and at a press of a button; it is not easy to sweep things under the carpet. Sooner or later, the people are going to find out and they are going to hold you by the neck for answers. So, here is why MACC has failed to obtain and will never obtain the public’s respect – some even find it hilarious when the MACC commissioner put up the “challenge” to bring the so-called big fishes down.

An USD6.8 million mansion sold for USD1 and a RM500 million valued property sold for RM78 million to a RM100 paid up dormant company (shows like PKFZ) – this should have rung bells in MACC from miles away. And yet, we do not see any reaction from MACC.

Perhaps they are still waiting for the “right” evidence to nab these traitors (maybe some willing witnesses, agreeing to late night questioning). Perhaps the traitors are so rich & powerful that they are simply untouchables (maybe they are holding Najib by his balls for the next general election). Or perhaps, MACC have not gotten the green light from the top (maybe AG is too busy with Anwar, others are too trivial). Perhaps they are too busy trouble shooting on the “comedy show” that happened during the recent inquest of Teoh Beng Hock (maybe busy negotiating to sell the comedy scripts to aspiring junior lawyers)

The shit has hit the fan in the eastern front but it looks like it is business is as usual at MACC. Whatever the reason may be for MACC’s inaction, Malaysia is fast becoming a laughing stock where corruption is so apparent to others except to those matters most – the agency that suppose to be fighting corruption.

It is time for the Sarawakians to wake up from the long slumber that they have been and put an end to this nonsense. Corruption is flowing like water and nothing is done to stop the leakage. It may be left to the voters to take up the challenge and kick corruption out of the state and into the South China Sea.

To think about it, even if you can investigate, you cannot prosecute, so forget the notion that you are corruption busters.

But are you? Prove us wrong, MACC!

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MACC can truly improve?

MACC can truly improve?

This is the question that been asked many times but yet to be answered satisfactorily by the agency itself…

(We don’t have Senapathy – the old man who kills corrupt government officials (in the movie Indian) and even his own corrupt son to weed out corruption from the system. We have MACC but the question is how far it has been effective in “weeding” out the corruption from the system. Image source: http://www.sun2surf.com)

PKFZ mess saw some positive movement in recent days when the former Transport Minister was charged in the court for cheating the Government on PKFZ. One can call it as the “biggest fish” caught todate but until we see the outcome, we will not be hoping for the end of the mess so soon. There are still a lot of big fishes yet to be caught and the judiciary’s decision on those been caught todate is yet to be seen. More importantly, we have yet to know whether we can recover back the tax payer’s money.

I recall the post titled “MACC can improve” where the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board said what is important is for MACC to be given the opportunity and time to prove itself.

I wish could share same the Board’s sentiments on MACC and wish that we can indeed give it the opportunity and time to prove itself.

In the Tamil movie, Sivaji: The Boss, the hero (played by Rajinikanth) uncovers the evidence of undeclared money of the villain and after getting half of it, he informs the Income Tax Vigilance Department who proceed to make a high level raid on the villain’s house together with CBI and the police. Politically, the villain is well connected (he determines who forms the next Government) but despite this, he was helpless with the enforcement authorities make the raid. The enforcement authorities were dedicated in doing their job and they do not answer to their political masters.

In the Tamil movie, Kandasamy – the hero is a tough CBI officer who goes after powerful people without favour or fear. And the strongest support for the hero comes from the very top in the department.

The above is just examples of how enforcement agents should ideally act in discharging his duties. I say ideally because in reality, things are not so smooth sailing as we have not been seeing the proper discharge of duty by enforcement agencies such as the police and MACC when it comes to politicians from the ruling parties. As many of us would say in disappointment, “the big fish is yet to be caught”.

Yes, investigation papers have been opened on politicians like Khir Toyo but what is the good of investigations when it is yet to see the light of the day. Despite the obvious evidence (as uncovered by Selcat), Khir Toyo is still roaming around creating unnecessary problems in Selangor.

What about the purported commission that was paid in defence deals? What about the 60 page document that was submitted to MACC in early January 2009 by the opposition? What about the revelation that has been surfacing on the Sarawak’s Chief Minister’s questionable wealth and overseas properties? How about the revelation that politicians have been sending millions through unregulated hawala system?

I agree that the revamped MACC performed better than the old ACA but the question is “how much” better. Despite the change of name, MACC is still riddled with the handicap that faced the old ACA as well – top of the list, the absence of the power to prosecute. Sadly, MACC at the end of the day still need to wait for the AG’s green light for prosecution.

What is the point of utilising tax-payers’ money, time and manpower in investigations of corrupt acts if at the end of the day, the perpetrator cannot be prosecuted in a court of law? When this happens, how MACC expects people to respect it? How it expects people to give it the opportunity and time to prove itself?

Rather than acting like this old man, we need a proper institution that work tirelessly fighting corruption. We need an anti corruption agency like MACC and we want it to be so effective that anyone would piss in their pants before thinking of committing the slightest act of corruption. We want it to be feared by offenders and well liked by the whistle-blowers. We simply want corruption in this country to end. It is because corruption, if not checked, will cripple the country and create chaos to the people.

But then again, we do not want an agency that only acts against the opposition whilst look the other away on corruption by the ruling politicians involving millions, billions of taxpayers’ money. We do not want an agency that is seen to be certain political party’s stooge (they may not have intended to be one but actions speaks louder than words). We do not want an agency that is feared by whistle-blowers and not feared by those who are corrupt to the core. We do not want an agency where a witness ends up dead after a questionable, late night interrogations.

If MACC can prove us wrong and show (with strong actions, not with empty talks) that it is dedicated to fighting corruption on both side of the political ground and is fearless, then perhaps, we may give it opportunity and time to prove itself.

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Din Merican’s My Advice to MACC’s Abu Kassim

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