Thursday, September 24, 2009

TI: Anti-corruption efforts wanting

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and other "reforms" introduced by the government has so far been ineffective in fighting corruption in the country.

Transparency International president Datuk Paul Low said today they have not produced "the desired results" and so the public perception of corruption remains unchanged.

"Malaysians are fed-up with the status quo and the unbearable effects of corruption in the country," he told a press conference after presenting the country report in the Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2009, which focused mainly on corruption in the private sector. Also present was TI executive director Mark Chay.

Low said indicative of this is the Global Corruption Barometer 2009 survey released in May which showed that 70% Malaysians believe the Malaysian government is ineffective in fighting corruption.

In contrast, although Indonesia’s has a far worse position in the corruption perception index than Malaysia, the survey found that 76% of its people believe the Indonesian government is effective in fighting corruption.

"Before the MACC was established last December, the public perceived the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) was not independent from the executive branch of the government. "The ACA was perceived to be selective in its investigations and prosecutions, in that they catch only the small fry and leave the big fish -- and it was politically motivated," he said. “With the MACC now, although there are commissioners from outside in its new structure, it is really difficult to say if it is any different from the old ACA and MACC has yet to prove this statement otherwise,” he said.

Low pointed out that the controversial death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock in July, in itself raises questions on the MACC's professionalism and hints of abuses of powers in the way it conducts investigations.

Likewise, the GCR pointed out that the implementation of the watered down Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to a Special Complaints Commission (SCC), strongly indicates the government’s inability to regulate the gatekeepers.

Low said the public needs to be confident of a clean police force which is free from external influences and that investigations are conducted fairly into all reports lodged to the police.

The GCR report noted that inaction in the light of serious corruption allegations and inability to catch the ‘big fish’, has gravely undermined public confidence in the authorities. “Public confidence will be further undermined if these issues are not addressed quickly and effectively,” said Low, pointing out that issues pertaining to alleged tampering in the appointment of judges as highlighted in the V.K. Lingam case, has been left unresolved since 2007.

Low stressed that the inter-relationship and participation between the government, civil service and private sector, in effect, negates the concept of check and balance. “A common thread running through politics, the civil service and private sector is the revolving door, through which individuals move from government to business or business to politics and back again,” the report highlighted.

Low said while it is good in the context of solving economic problems and dealing with investments, “political patronage or funding and money politics are big issues in the economics.” "Until drastic action is taken to separate the cozy relationship between government, business and politics, the anti-corruption effort will remain no more than a token gesture,” he stressed.Among others, the GCR said the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) case - which it described as one of the biggest scandals of the year - involving politicians, government officials and businessmen, substantiates the weak oversight of public-private relationships. “The complexity of the relationships between politics and private sectors mean that corruption may take place with impunity.

Therefore, the practice of revolving and rotating doors and active government participation in the economy creates an appearance of impropriety…and increases corruption risks,” said the report.However, Low was happy to note that there has been commendable efforts in making public the details of the scandal. “Never in the Malaysian history has there been such a disclosure before,” he said.

Meanwhile, the GCR commended the Penang state government for introducing several measures to improve the regulatory environment with regard to government procurement, referred to as a CAT -- Competent, Accountable and Transparent - government.“It is the first state government to implement the open tender system for government procurement and contracts,” it noted.

As to the question of whether corruption is a way of life in Malaysia, Low said: “Yes, when the society believes that nothing can be done to fight it; when elected representatives and their close supporters believe that they are there to make money for themselves; when institutions and enforcement agencies are ineffective and independence are compromised; and yes, when dishonesty, corruption and self-indulgence becomes values that are tolerated.” - The Sundaily

Friday, September 18, 2009

BN will never change

Let us look at the recently concluded party elections in the MIC where all those men who were aligned to Samy Vellu won and grabbed all the important positions in the central committee and the disciplinary board as well.

The reformers led by Datuk S.Sothinathan were blantantly rejected by the assembly of conservative delegates. After his defeat, no one knows where is Sothi's direction or what will be his next course of action.

For Datuk S.Subramaniam who is vying for a comeback but failed to garner enough votes to take down Samy's Datuk G.Palanivel for the deputy presidency, he will still be on the run in the party.

This time Samy had enough with his former deputy and vowed revenge against him for not staying out of the party elections.

The situation is clear, Samy Vellu had a firm grip over MIC for decades and he still wants to hold on it. Perhaps, he is vying for the party life presidency now.

In this case, MIC cannot reform and rejuvenate and you had seen the leaders of the rest of the BN component parties.

Umno is still with their racist tags and jargons of the 50s after 52 years running this country, PPP president Datuk M.Kayveas purged his reformist rising star Datuk T.Murugiah, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon suspending his outspoken party vice president Huan Cheng Guan for 3 years, while MCA president Datuk Ong Tee Keat ousting his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek by sacking him from the party.

The rest, Sarawak's Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) president Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is going to stay on as chief minister as long as he lives, Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) president Tan Sri Dr George Chan is not making way for the young ones in his party and so does the rest in the BN fold.

The question is can BN component parties really reform while all those old and conservative leaders continue to cling on to their positions? Can these BN component parties reform while their outspoken leaders and reformist are purged and kicked out of the party and their positions taken away to prevent them an active role from within?

Certainly there will be no change at all if all these defiant conservative leaders stay on to their respective party positions. It shows that all these BN component parties cannot accept changes and reform despite knowing that they had been rejected and turned irrelevant after the 8 March general elections last year.

Therefore, for change to materialise in BN, no way! If you want real change and reform, leave the corrupt coalition and join Pakatan Rakyat. We are the real reformists.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Perak Umno rebel government sealed state secretariat

The Umno police personnel preventing Pakatan assemblymen from entering the state secretariat building. The Pakatan assemblyment were led by Datuk Nizar and his state Exco members.
The Perak Umno rebel state government today sealed the entire state secretariat which also house the state legislative assembly building in their bid to prevent the state assemblymen and the Speaker from commencing the state assembly sitting as required by the Perak state constitution.

To strengthen its move, the Perak Umno rebel state government had called in the federal-backed security forces as well as their party supporters from all over the country. The Umno supporters was earlier spotted in an opposite site demonstrating against the Pakatan state assemblymen and supporters. Most of the Umno members are clad in yellow shouted slogans supporting their rebel leader Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and denouncing the legitimate Pakatan-led state government.

As the state assemblymen and the Speaker was disallowed entry into the state legislative assembly building by security forces personnel and Umno supporters, the Speaker had no choice but to convene the state assembly sitting at Heritage Hotel in Ipoh and passed motions to condemn the acts of Umno state assemblymen, defectors and imposed fines onto those who involved in the last 7 May fracas which saw the Speaker V.Sivakumar was forcibly pulled from his chambers and locked up in an undisclosed room.

Apart from being forced out violently from his chair, Sivakumar was also prevented from discharging his duties as the state Speaker. He was then replaced by the rebel-appointed R.Ganesan before the 7 May state assembly sitting commence.

The sitting today approved a decision by its rights and privileges committee to arrest and jail for six months the rebel Speaker Ganesan and his deputy Hee Yit Foong for their active role in the said fracas. The two were also fined RM500,000 by the state assembly.

The rebel state government was established by Perak Umno last February following their coup d'etat which saw the Pakatan state government being toppled. The Umno rebels had since refused to back down despite mounted pressure from the public to dissolve the state legislative assembly to pave way for a fresh state elections for fear of being rejected by the people again.