Archive for category Corruption

Making Corruption Unsustainable in China

By Yukon Huang
Wall Street Journal
March 26, 2015

Xi Jinping’s anticorruption campaign will only succeed if more is done to address the structural factors making corruption possible.

A decade from now, President Xi Jinping’s reign might be defined more by the success of his anticorruption campaign than his country’s material progress. China has always been the outlier on many economic issues, and so it is with corruption. Studies show that for most developing countries, corruption retards economic growth. They also suggest that developed countries are less corrupt than developing ones. So has China managed to grow so rapidly because or in spite of rampant corruption? And why has corruption in China gotten worse rather than better?

Corruption has featured prominently in China’s dynastic history, but this current bout stems, ironically, from the major reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping. His opening-up of the economy four decades ago paved the way for a hybrid socialist market economy that, similar to the former Soviet Union republics, is particularly prone to corruption during its transition. Deng’s famous saying that “to get rich is glorious” removed any moral qualms about making money—legally or illegally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Auditor-General’s assurance of professional audit of 1MDB most welcome although public confidence have not been helped by contradictory or uncharacteristic statements by MACC and Police

I welcome the promise by the Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang that his department will call up any individual necessary even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in completing an independent audit on strategic fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The Auditor-General’s assurance of professional audit of 1MDB and not to be swayed by extraneous considerations is most welcome, although public confidence that the various authorities would adopt a professional, accountable and responsible approach in the handling of the 1MDB scandal had not been helped by contradictory or uncharacteristic statements by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Police.

Suddenly, there seems to be a competition among the various departments to show courage and eagerness to investigate the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself – as not only Ambrin does not rule out such possibility, even the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar pointedly said that Najib would be one of the targets of investigation by a three-agency task force to probe the 1MDB scandal.

In fact, the IGP’s announcement has detracted the credibility of the Auditor-General’s statement that his department’s audit would not exclude an investigation into the Prime Minister, for who would believe the IGP’s claim when he had been guilty of kid-glove treatment to BN Ministers and leaders, letting off the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Datuk Ismail Sabri for the most racist and seditious incitement in calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businessmen and allowing the former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mashitah Ibrahim to enjoy impunity and immunity for spouting heinous lies to incite religious hatred, conflict and tension in plural Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Country should make reparations and restore justice and honour to former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, the country’s first judicial whistleblower who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge

The country should make reparations and restore justice and honour to former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, the country’s first judicial whistleblower who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge.

If Syed Ahmad Idid’s whistleblowing in March 1996 had been heeded, resulting in thorough investigations and root-and-branch reform of the judiciary 19 years ago, Malaysian judges, lawyers and citizens would have been able to stand tall in the world today because we would have a judiciary nationally and internationally respected for its independence, integrity and quality!

Now, Malaysian judiciary in 2015 is back in the dock of public opinion, both inside the country and internationally, over the independence, integrity and professionalism of its judiciary and its commitment to a just rule of law because of four cases this year, viz: Read the rest of this entry »

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Will the Cabinet continue the traditional three monkeys role of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” or will they take the bull by the horn to address the three issues which dominate public opinion in past week?

Just before midnight, a Cabinet Minister tweeted that he had just left his constituency which is about three hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur: “Need to read cabinet papers after I reach home. Tmr morning cabinet meeting as usual.”

My first thought was whether the Cabinet papers would include the thousands of 1MDB transactions and email which 1MDB had tried to “wipe” clean from their computers and servers at the end of last year.

Will the Cabinet papers for all Ministers for the Cabinet meeting later this morning cover at least the three issues which had dominated public opinion in Malaysia in the past week, or will it be another Cabinet meeting to avoid and skirt important national issues like the infamous past Cabinet meetings?

First Issue. Leading the three important issues which should dominate a meaningful Cabinet meeting today is undoubtedly the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, which has been blown wide open by the joint London Sunday Times/Sarawak Report investigations and access to thousands of transactions and email of 1MDB despite abrupt attempts by 1MDB at the end of last year to call in all of its computers, employee laptops and servers to wipe them clean of all emails.

Will the Cabinet end its traditional three monkey stance of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” on the 1MDB scandal for the past six years, take the bull by the horn and decide either to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by former Law Minister Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim or other independent credible Malaysians or give support for a full-scale Public Accounts Committee (PAC) public inquiry into the 1MDB scandal? Read the rest of this entry »

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MACC should launch a full-scale investigation into the PMO Statement in the New York Times attributing the Prime Minister’s expenditure, including the multi-million dollar purchases of his wife, to his inheritance or is MACC a mere “paper tiger”?

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should launch a full-scale investigation into the Prime Minister Office’s Statement in the New York Times of February 9, 2015 attributing the Prime Minister’s expenditure, including the multi-million dollar purchases of his wife’s jewellery and shopping sprees, to his inheritance or is the MACC a mere “paper tiger”?

The PMO statement to New York Times said:

“Neither any money spent on travel, nor any jewellery purchases, nor the alleged contents of any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.”

The PMO statement in the New York Times had greatly offended and outraged the four brothers of the Prime Minister, Johari, Nizam, Nazim and Nazir who, in a rare private statement expressed worry that the name of their father, who was known for his frugality, would be tarnished by such talks of family assets. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s corruption probe bares its teeth

By Jonathan Fenby
BBC
20 February 2015

Every Chinese republican regime and imperial dynasty has inveighed against corruption.

The impact has invariably been limited, with campaigns against graft scraping only the surface and being abandoned after a short period when a few big fish have been held up to public scrutiny and the immediate political aim has been achieved.

This time, it is different.

The anti-corruption campaign launched by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, after he took office at the end of 2012, will go on forever, says its chief implementation officer, Wang Qishan, head of the Communist Party’s Discipline Commission. Read the rest of this entry »

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Public corruption in China: Then and now

Richard Wong
South China Morning Post
17 February, 2015

China has waged a campaign against public corruption for the past two years and there is no sign of abatement. At first, there was speculation it was a cover for a power struggle and therefore would be short-lived. Increasingly, it appears to be a means of forging a new social contract for the post-Deng era.

The social contract forged by Deng Xiaoping traded market-driven economic growth for political stability. Some individuals and families amassed huge fortunes in the process. Many were private entrepreneurs whose gains were made through fair market competition, but others were public officials who captured economic benefits through the exercise of political influence. The rise of this public corruption has incensed the public.

Some commentators allege that corruption might be inherent to Chinese culture because, for over two thousand years, the traditional Chinese economy was quite corrupt despite failing to grow.

But the public corruption that existed in traditional China is fundamentally different in nature from that which has appeared in a modernising China. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Sodomy I to Sodomy II – Malaysia regressing to the darkness and repression 17 years ago when the country should be moving forward to greater freedom, justice, prosperity and confidence after the passage of almost two decades

Wishing all Malaysian Chinese as well as Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, a Happy Chinese New Year as it is now a festivity celebrated by all Malaysians regardless of race and religion.

Chinese New Year, which begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice, has been described as the most important holiday for Chinese people worldwide.

In China, it is marked by the world’s largest annual human migrations with 2.8 billion trips made across the country in the mass exodus of students, migrant labourers, factory workers and office employees making their long journeys home to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year in Malaysia has become a very Malaysian affair, despite its ethnic origins and associations.

In Malaysia, the Chinese New Year is also marked by major human migrations, but not confined to the Chinese as it affects other ethnic groups as well.

Many issues will jostle for top attention among Malaysians during the Chinese New Year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revolt Against Corruption Triumphs in Delhi

By John Elliott
Newsweek
2/16/15

The swearing in over the weekend of social activist and anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi marks the latest stage of a dramatic country-wide rejection of the way that India is governed, which has been building up over the past four years.

This is not a single tidal wave threatening to overwhelm the country, but it does stem from a new, young and aspirational India which wants governments that genuinely offer the prospect of change and economic growth. It threatens crony corrupt politicians, who for decades have been more concerned with self-aggrandisement and milking administrations than with governing constructively in the interests of the people who elected them.

Uniting castes, classes, religions and regional interests, it led last year to the election of Narendra Modi as a presidential-style prime minister, and last week to Kejriwal’s surprise landslide victory that has created excitement in the city. In both cases, voters’ hopes are based primarily on the leadership ability and drive of one man–even though fulfilling the electorate’s expectations is a near impossible task.

This leads inevitably to questions about where the revolt against the way India has been governed will be heading if the two men fail. Cynics suggest that voters will turn back to traditional politicians and parties–including even the discredited Gandhi dynasty’s devastated Congress Party. Sceptics see growing social unrest, fueled by increasing unemployment, especially among the young. Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s The Ridiculous Loot That’s Been Found With Corrupt Chinese Officials

Harrison Jacobs
Business Insider
Jan. 23, 2015

China President Xi Jinping is two years into his unprecedented fight to eliminate the corruption that permeates the Communist Party in China. Since assuming office in early 2013, Xi has vowed to “hunt tigers and swat flies,” meaning he’ll target both high- and low-level officials.

In contrast to previous Chinese leaders, Xi has been adamant that no one is untouchable. Big targets like former security czar Zhou Yongkang and former military chief Xu Caihou, once thought untouchable by even top officials, were some of the first to fall in Xi’s crusade.

While Xi and the Party are notoriously tight-lipped about the inner workings of the Communist Party, they have been remarkably open about the illicit goods, cash, and properties found in the hands of the corrupt officials they’ve taken down.

Of course, Xi may have a hidden motive for being so transparent — to convince the public he’s winning the battle against corruption. Whatever the reason, he’s given Western observers an unprecedented view into the level of corruption of Chinese officials.

Here are a few of the more outrageous examples: Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Najib be Mahathir’s sixth scalp or is Malaysia hauling the first “tiger” or “crocodile” to court and prison in the country’s anti-corruption campaign?

The country’s politics is abuzz with extraordinary news recently, raising the question whether the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia will be the sixth scalp of the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia or whether the country is hauling the first “tiger” or “crocodile” to court and prison in Malaysia’s anti-corruption campaign.

In the past 45 years, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had collected five scalps of top political leaders in the country, starting with Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, two Deputy Prime Ministers who might have gone on to become Prime Ministers, Tun Musa Hitam and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the fifth Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the eternal Prime Minister-aspirant Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

The question now is whether Mahathir will add the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to his collection of six top political scalps in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revised 2015 Budget should declare war on corruption, incompetence and extravagance to provide example and leadership of government commitment to austerity, accountability and integrity

The revised 2015 Budget should declare war on corruption, incompetence and extravagance to provide example and leadership of government commitment to austerity, accountability and integrity.

Such a campaign would save the Malaysian government and taxpayers scores of billions of ringgit, which would help the country tide through the looming economic crisis as a result of the sharp fall in prices of oil and commodities and the weakening of the Malaysian ringgit.

Despite the greatest investment in anti-corruption campaign, with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission developing into a huge bureaucracy but with very little to show in terms of results, the Najib premiership is still far behind the Abdullah and Mahathir premierships in both ranking and score of the annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Malaysia lags seriously behind other countries in the battle against corruption, particularly Indonesia and China, and Malaysia is at risk of being overtaken by these two countries which had occupied the bottom two of rungs of the TI CPI 1995 two decades ago in a matter of a decade.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Fears grow over fallout from Petrobras corruption scandal

Samantha Pearson in São Paulo
Financial Times
January 7, 2015

Fears are growing over the systemic impact of the corruption scandal at Petrobras, Brazil’s state oil producer, as one of the construction firms linked to the allegations edges closer to default and the country’s credit rating comes under pressure.

OAS, which is building the world’s third-largest dam and revamping São Paulo’s international airport, has missed two debt payments over the past week after the scandal restricted its access to funding, forcing it to preserve cash to pay for operations.

Analysts said that similar difficulties across Brazil’s construction and oil industries could have knock-on effects on the world’s second-largest emerging market economy, especially if Petrobras itself cannot regain access to capital markets.

“The risk is that the government would have to provide financial support to Petrobras in the event of an acceleration of debt,” Mauro Leos, Moody’s sovereign analyst for Brazil, told the Financial Times. Such a scenario “could lead to a credit event”, affecting Brazil’s sovereign credit rating, he added.

The warning comes as President Dilma Rousseff is battling to protect Brazil’s coveted investment grade rating with a series of market-friendly measures — efforts that could be obscured by the prospect of bailing out Petrobras, Mr Leos said.

With more than $139bn in total debt, Petrobras ranks as the world’s most indebted oil producer, but it retains an investment grade credit rating. Read the rest of this entry »

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Top Chinese diplomat being investigated for corruption

BBC News
2 January 2015

A senior Chinese diplomat is being investigated for corruption, China’s foreign ministry says.

Zhang Kunsheng has been removed from his position as assistant foreign minister and is being probed for “violating discipline”, a brief statement from the ministry read.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to eradicate corruption in China.

State media described Mr Zhang as the highest-ranking diplomat to be targeted in the anti-corruption drive.

The anti-corruption campaign has netted thousands of officials since it began in 2012, among them former security chief Zhou Yongkang in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s anti-corruption drive continues to net ‘tigers’ & ‘flies’

CCTV.com
12-30-2014

2014 saw the fall from grace of some of the country’s biggest names in politics and the military. And the wide-reaching, anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping last year continues to net both high-ranking “tigers” and low-ranking “flies”.

China’s new leadership, two years in, and there’s no letting up in the fight against corruption. Some 25,000 officials were investigated on suspicion of corruption in just the first half of 2014. And no one, no matter how high their ranking, appears safe.

Zhou Yongkang, once one of the most powerful men in the country, has been arrested on a raft of corruption charges, including the leaking of official secrets and bribery.

Xu Caihou was one of China’s top generals. He is one of the highest level military officer to be investigated since 1949. And it’s sending shock waves through the People’s Liberation Army.

This all-out anti-corruption campaign has struck fear into the hearts of China’s corrupt officials, with one noticable result, they are shunning all forms of extravagance. Luxury sales are down, from fashion garments to shoes and jewellery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Questions for 2015

Tan Siok Choo
The Sun Daily
29 December 2014

WITH 2014 drawing to a close, I have several questions about issues that arose this year but could impact Malaysia’s future.

Question 1: Why does Putrajaya persist in maintaining Malaysia’s growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 won’t be affected by plummeting prices of oil, a commodity that contributes significantly to federal government revenue?

Budget 2015 was prepared when Brent oil – the benchmark for Petronas’s Tapis blend – was in triple digits. Analysts estimate federal government revenue next year is based on an oil price of US$105 per barrel.

Last Friday, amid thin trade, Brent oil for February settlement closed at US$59.45 a barrel.

Labelling the World Bank’s revised forecast of 4.7% GDP growth next year as “too conservative”, top Malaysian policymakers announced the 5% to 6% economic growth target for 2015 will be maintained.

Admittedly, plummeting oil prices could be beneficial – it could stimulate global economic growth and reduce fuel costs for motorists and for sectors like airlines and truckers. Even so, shouldn’t Putrajaya prepare for the worst rather than adopt a wait-and-see attitude? Read the rest of this entry »

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Never before have there been so many time-bombs ticking away in Malaysia which could spell disaster for the nation if they are not defused or detonated

(Speech at the DAP Gelang Patah forum “1MDB in RM42 billion debt – Is Malaysia on the Verge of Financial Turmoil” in Johor Baru on Tuesday, 16th December 2014 at 8 pm)

My first book “Time Bombs in Malaysia” in 1978 quoted my speech in Parliament on the Third Malaysia Plan in July 1976 where I warned that several time bombs were ticking away in Malaysia and unless these time bombs were defused, Malaysia could be blown to smithereens.

I would never imagine that today, more than 36 years later after the first edition of “Time Bombs in Malaysia”, we are faced with even greater dire straits as never before in our nation’s history have we a situation where so many time-bombs are ticking away in Malaysia which could spell disaster for the nation if they are not defused or detonated.

The RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of tonight’s forum, is one such Time Bomb in today’s Malaysia.

This mega financial scandal, exposed by Pakatan Rakyat MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, is now also being questioned by UMNO forces led by former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir, his cohorts like Tun Daim, to the extent that a police report against 1MDB has been lodged by an UMNO division leader, creating huge waves in UMNO.

Until the seventies, when there was greater regard for good governance, public integrity and financial probity, the biggest financial scandal was the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal.

The then Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, who could not stomach any corruption or misuse of power, was shocked by the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal and insisted on parliamentary accountability and a White Paper was issued following a Price Waterhouse inquiry into the Bank Rakyat scandal – and the RM65 million Bank Rakyat was the subject of parliamentary debates and scrutiny in 1979.

Since the eighties, corruption and financial scandals increased by leaps and bounds from the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, the RM600 million Maminco tin-buying scandal and the RM1.5 billion Co-operatives Finance scandal in the 80s, to the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal and RM11 billion Perwaja scandal in the 90s, and the multi-billion ringgit Scorpene and defence procurement scandals and the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal in the last decade.

Now, Malaysia has shot into the stratosphere of mega-financial scandals running into tens of billions of ringgit which is becoming the rule rather than the exception, with the RM42 billion 1MDB Scandal reigning currently as the King of Mega Scandals – and I leave to Tony Pua who, together with Rafizi, have become the unchallenged authorities on this “mother of all scandals” to elaborate later at this forum.

But the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is not the only Time Bomb now ticking away in Malaysia. We are faced with a host of economic, financial, political, education, race and religion, nation-building Time Bombs which if not defused or detonated will spell disaster for Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three things we learned from: The Perkasa AGM

by Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malay Mail Online
December 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The theme of Perkasa’s annual general assembly this year was “Social Contract and Rukunegara, the core foundation for peace in Malaysia”.

Unsurprisingly, leaders and members of the Malay rights group zoomed in yesterday on Malay and Bumiputera rights, and the need for stricter laws and policies to protect the country’s ethnic majority.

During debates, delegates lamented how Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) have not done enough to adequately safeguard the interests of this majority group, with one leader even suggesting that Perkasa turn itself into a political party to lead the country.

Umno, complained the leader, has fallen short of expectations.

Perkasa’s president, the outspoken Datuk Ibrahim Ali, even labelled those from Umno who have criticised the group as bangsat (bastards) and declared himself the true hero of the Malays and Islam.

Taking a leaf from their leader, others used the assembly for the same purpose – as a platform to rebut criticisms against Perkasa, an NGO that has successfully muscled its way into mainstream politics and planted itself firmly at the forefront, as a presence that even Umno daren’t ignore.

Here are three lessons we learned from Perkasa’s fifth general assembly: Read the rest of this entry »

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Prosecution of “tigers” and “crocodiles” are common in anti-corruption campaigns in China and Indonesia, but why not a single “shark” successfully prosecuted for corruption in Malaysia in over three decades?

When UMNO General Assembly was being held in the last week of November, the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research was carrying out a 10-day opinion survey from November 26 to December 5, 2014 and it found that public perception towards corruption in Malaysia remains unchanged since 2005 with at least 77% of Malaysian voters this year agreeing that corruption in the country is serious.

The survey done jointly with BFM Radio for World Anti-Corruption Day yesterday showed this perception appeared unchanged compared to similar polls conducted in August 2005 and June 2012 which found 76% and 78%, respectively, saying that corruption was seriously prevalent.

The survey found that 49% of Malaysians reported that corruption had increased, 20% felt it had remained unchanged while 21% felt it had decreased compared to one year ago.

The same survey also saw a majority, or 56%, of Malaysians perceiving the government’s fight against corruption left much to be desired despite recent successes by the anti-corruption commission.

These views were more apparent among younger voters and those with Internet access.

Could the Merdeka Center opinion survey on corruption perceptions be reliable or credible, – that it was unchanged since 2005 with seven out of 10 Malaysian voters still think Malaysia corrupt as well as the finding that 49% of Malaysians report that corruption had increased, 20% felt it had remained unchanged while 21% felt it had decreased compared to one year ago.

This is because these survey results fly in the face of the euphoria in the past few days, generated by government propagandists led by none other than the Prime Minister himself, that the country had achieved a major breakthrough in the fight against corruption resulting in Malaysia moving up to 50th spot among 175 countries in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014 ranking up from 53 last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Tunku is alive today, instead of being the “happiest Prime Minister” he would be the “unhappiest Malaysian”

On this day 24 years ago, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman passed away at the age of 87.

If Tunku is still alive today, instead of being the “happiest” Prime Minister which had been his greatest wish, he would have been the “unhappiest” Malaysian in the country.

Together with the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, Tunku’s efforts to form UMNO Malaysia when UMNO was deregistered in 1988, was sabotaged and quashed by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir who set up his own UMNO Baru which Tunku refused to join, questioning its legitimacy and integrity to his last breath.

Tunku would have been horrified at the proceedings of the recent UMNO Baru General Assembly where race-baiting and religious incitement based on the primordial politics of fear, hate and lies were given free rein, with delegates made to believe that after 57 years of UMNO government and six UMNO Prime Ministers, Malays are under siege and Islam under threat, causing one delegate to declare that Malays have become “slaves in our own land”, another to call for the use of “1 Melayu” instead of “1 Malaysia slogan”, while a third to demand that UMNO elect MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders into the Barisan Nasional supreme council. Read the rest of this entry »

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