Archive for category Corruption
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 »
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 »
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 »
Samantha Pearson in São Paulo
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
TI CPI 2014 nothing for Najib to crow about when he has done worse in TI CPI rankings in his five years as PM than Abdullah’s five years and Mahathir’s 22 years
There is nothing for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to crow about for Malaysia’s improvement in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014, moving up to 50th spot among 175 countries from the 53rd position last year.
Although any improvement is to be welcomed, there is no ground for Najib to be ectastic to talk about “not rest on our laurels”, as Malaysia has yet to achieve any laurels on the anti-corruption front under his premiership.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Najib premiership (2009-2014) has registered a lower TI CPI ranking than under the two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah.
This is illustrated by the following chart on TI CPI 1995-2014:
|Prime Minister||Best ranking||Best score||Worst ranking||Worst score|
|Mahathir||23(1995)||5.32/10 (1996)||37 (2003)||4.8/10 (2000)|
|Abdullah||39(2004)||5.1/10 (2005/7/8)||47 (2008)||5/10 (2004/6)|
|Najib||50 (2013)||52/100 (2013)||60 (2011)||4.3/10 (2011)|
No wonder of Mahathir had always boasted that corruption is worse now than during his 22 years as Prime Minister (although Abdullah can also make the same boast about his five-year premiership).
Read the rest of this entry »
By Ivana Kottasova
December 2, 2014
LONDON – Drilling for oil and digging for minerals can be dirty, in more ways than one.
Known as the extractive sector, oil and mining tops a new list of the world’s most corrupt industries. Construction and transportation make up the top three, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The OECD analyzed 427 cases of bribery in international business.Two-thirds of the cases occurred in just four industries: extractive (19%); construction (15%); transportation and storage (15%); and information and communication (10%).Senior executives were involved in more than half the cases, with chief executives playing an active role in 12%. They either paid the bribes themselves, or authorized them, the OECD found.
Public sector employees and those working for state-owned companies were most likely to be the target of corruption. They were promised, offered or given bribes in 80% of the cases. Read the rest of this entry »
By BIMAN MUKHERJI and JOYU WANG
The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 1, 2014
HONG KONG—For years, Wo Shing Goldsmith has warmly ushered in eager buyers from mainland China, with customer traffic peaking at year-end. But shoppers are few and far between this year as Beijing’s anti-corruption drive damps spending.
“There was a sudden drop in gold price last year, which fuelled high demand from China. So we sold a good amount last year,” says Cheung Wai Nam, the 68-year-old co-owner of Wo Shing. “But this year…there is not too much demand.”
The store, opened in 1892 in Yau Ma Tei , part of the shopping district of Kowloon, displays chunky gold jewelry, with an old work bench scattered with tools and an ancient-looking metal vault in the back. The shop, next to a dried-seafood store on a busy street, deals mainly in accessories such as rings, bracelets and golden-pig necklaces.
On a recent afternoon, fewer shoppers than normal could be seen entering neighboring stores. Read the rest of this entry »
Los Angeles Times
Nov 29, 2014
When the militants of Islamic State swept across Iraq last June, they numbered no more than 12,000 and they faced a U.S.-trained, U.S.-equipped Iraqi army that boasted some 200,000 troops.
And yet it was the Iraqi army that collapsed.
What happened? It was more than simply incompetence among Iraqi generals and ethnic tensions among the ranks. The hidden factor that gave Islamic State its victory was Iraq’s rampant corruption. The Baghdad government’s army had 200,000 troops on paper, but many were “ghost soldiers,” fictional troops whose wages went into their officers’ pockets. The unfortunate troops who showed up often lacked equipment and ammunition because their officers had sold it on the black market.
“I told the Americans, don’t give any weapons through the army — not even one piece — because corruption is everywhere, and you will not see any of it,” Col. Shaaban al-Obeidi of Iraq’s internal security forces told The New York Times this month. “Our people will steal it.”
We often look at corruption as a secondary issue in international affairs: as a moral problem that allows Third World governments to steal from their people and gets in the way of equitable economic development.
But the lesson of the collapse of the Iraqi army, an army built with $25 billion in U.S. aid, is this: Corruption isn’t only a moral issue; it’s a national security issue, too. Read the rest of this entry »
Its Malaysia under threat – not Malays or Islam – if we aim to be one of the top countries in the world in terms of competitiveness, good governance, rule of law and crackdown on corruption
The Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak asked yesterday: “Where have we gone wrong?”
He lamented that whether UMNO had built mosques, set up parent-teacher associations, or provided housing, none of these efforts had translated into political support because UMNO leaders hoarded handouts for their own supporters instead giving it to the community.
Najib asked: “Where have we gone wrong? Is Umno too busy with its internal affairs until it is more important to defend our branch chiefs or higher positions, than to find supporters for Umno?
“Or is it that when we do something – whether to give houses, condominiums, or kind of aid – we give it to our lieutenants rather than our community.”
Najib struck a responsive chord as he received a loud applause and shouts of “”Yes” when posed these questions in his speech at the opening of the Federal Territories Umno convention yesterday.
These are pertinent questions although Najib avoided the real problem plaguing UMNO rule in Malaysia – the rampant corruption and abuse of power highlighted by Najib’s questions.
But Malaysians, Umno and non-Umno, Malays and non-Malays, should be asking a larger question of “Where have we gone wrong” affecting not just UMNO, but the Malaysian nation and people, Malays and non-Malays.
All Malaysians, UMNO and non-Umno, Malays and non-Malays should ask “Where have we gone wrong” that after 57-year UMNO rule and six UMNO Prime Ministers, a former Chief Justice (Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad) could deliver a keynote address (ucaptama) at the so-called National Unity Convention yesterday warning that the Malays could suffer a fate similar to Red Indians in the United States unless PAS and UMNO unite to allegedly stop DAP from attaining federal power. Read the rest of this entry »
by Alexa Olesen
November 22, 2014
It took at least 10 trucks to haul off Xu Caihou’s accumulated booty.
When China’s Ministry of Defense announced on Oct. 28 that the investigation into former General Xu Caihou for alleged corruption had concluded and his case had been transferred to prosecutors, the ministry declared the bribes received by Xu and his family members as tebie juda, or “extremely huge.”
The description served to pique public interest about the scale of graft perpetrated by the former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, but was frustratingly vague, and no actual figures were mentioned.
This week, Hong Kong’s Phoenix Weekly and the Financial Times helped fill in the picture. Both had reports that cited people close to the investigation as saying investigators discovered Xu had one ton of cash (U.S. dollars, Euros, and Renminbi) in the basement of his 215,000 square foot Beijing mansion as well as jade, emeralds, calligraphy and paintings.
The FT said the cash was neatly stacked in boxes and that each was conveniently inscribed with the name of the solider who had offered the cash in exchange for a promotion.
Phoenix Weekly, published by Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix Television, said in its Nov. 20 report that it took 10 military trucks to haul the loot away; the FT said it was a dozen trucks. Either way, it was indeed extremely huge. Read the rest of this entry »
by Brian Stewart
Nov 19, 2014
Anti-corruption protests growing all over the world, as are legislative crackdowns
While the G20 summit in Australia made headlines over global warming, economic growth and terrorism, much less attention was paid to the giant spectre of global corruption.
That is too bad as this is a problem that is arguably more dangerous to humanity than even terrorism because it siphons off an estimated $1 trillion from developing countries annually through bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, extortion and other financial crimes.
Recent World Bank estimates suggest that much of the world’s direct aid to the poorest countries ends up stolen, perhaps as much as $40 billion in recent years.
And it has been estimated that up to 3.6 million of the world’s poorest die annually from inadequate health care and living conditions directly because corruption has leached away development aid of all kinds.
At its most extreme, corruption causes people to lose faith in government, states to fail and violence to erupt in the form of organized crime and terrorist movements.
Only slightly less malign, it’s the dirty grease that keeps many repressive and violent dictators in lavish power.
No country is untouched by corruption, but it is “public enemy No. 1″ in the developing world, according to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who has to fight to keep his bank’s $30 billion a year in development aid getting to its proper destination. Read the rest of this entry »
BN SC meeting last night a great disappointment as the non-Umno parties dare not demand an end to AG’s double standards in prosecution, puny anti-corruption efforts even losing out to Indonesia and postponement of GST implementation
The Barisan Nasional Supreme Council held one of its rare meetings last night, but it was a great disappointment as the non-Umno parties, whether MCA, Gerakan, MIC or from Sabah and Sarawak, dare not demand that the Barisan Nasional government should take a clear stand on various controversial issues which have disturbed rational and patriotic Malaysians, including an end to the Attorney-General’s double standard in prosecution, puny anti-corruption efforts with Malaysia even losing out to Indonesia and the postponement of GST implementation in April next year.
It is clear that there is no institutional or operational change in the character of the BN Supreme Council after the 13th General Election, with the BN Supreme Council continuing to be a platform for the exposition of UMNO political hegemony in BN, with the role of all the leaders of the other 13 BN component parties restricted merely to hear and obey what the UMNO “Big Brother” has decided instead of being a meaningful forum where common Barisan Nasional government policies are thrashed out from the input and consensus of all the BN component parties. Read the rest of this entry »
– Dr Ahmad Satar Merican
The Malaysian Insider
29 October 2014
It has been a while since YB Lim Kit Siang touched on the issue of corruption in Malaysia. Two days in a row and he raised a number of things for us to think together.
I’m always following his views on this issue and welcome his views. Based on his recent comment piece, there is one which I agree and would like to share my thoughts on it.
First, we always talk about the “big fish” and “small fish” matter, often in comparing views. We often say that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) only goes after the “small fishes”. In this case the comparison is made with Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the ICAC Hong Kong.
I do agree that the conviction rate of cases by the KPK are quite high compared to the MACC. We also need to recognise that the scope of cases investigated by the MACC and the KPK are different. Read the rest of this entry »