King’s two important calls ignored by public service for 3 months

At the official opening of the third session of Parliament on March 19, the new Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin called for the elimination of corruption and said the monitoring of government projects must be reinforced to ensure they benefited the target groups, particularly the poor and marginalized.

“Wipe out graft, ensure projects well monitored” was the headline of the New Straits Times report the next day, but in the past three months, the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s call have been ignored by the public service itself.

On the anti-corruption front, Malaysia is losing out to other countries in the war against corruption undermining the country’s international competitiveness.

For instance, Malaysia had been well ahead of China in international corruption perception surveys, but China is making leaps and bounds in its anti-corruption drive as compared to Malaysia which had been backsliding despite the pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make anti-corruption the main plank of his premiership when he assumed the highest office in the land some 44 months ago.

In one recent corruption survey of Asian nations, the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risks Consultancy (PERC) survey, China has almost caught up with Malaysia and unless Malaysia pulls up its bootstraps, demonstrates a political will to wipe out corruption and produces results, it will not be long before Malaysia will be trailing behind China in regional or international corruption perception surveys.

Recent developments do not give cause for optimism that Malaysia can fight off the challenge from China. For instance, in the past few days alone, there have been news reinforcing the image that China is indeed serious in its anti-corruption drive, however formidable the problem.

There were reports of one of the most senior Chinese official committing suicide over corruption in three decades, Song Pingshun, 61, from Tianjin and the death sentence for the former head of China Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, convicted of accepting bribes from drug companies and dereliction of duty.

On government efficiency and competence, the public service recently became the butt of jokes both nationally and internationally, with almost daily revelations of one government building or public construction mishap or defect or another, showing a very “sick” public service despite the latest RM8 billion salary revision.

Today, Malaysians are very happy for the Prime Minister who is happily re-married to Jeane Abdullah yesterday.

Malaysians hope that Abdullah can make Malaysians as a whole happy, especially in his important announcement on Thursday (June 14) of a new government delivery system as he had pointedly told Ministers, Mentris Besar, Chief Ministers and top government officials last week to be prepared to fully implement the new public service delivery system.

As the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s call at the official opening of Parliament in March to wipe out graft and for a competent public service have been ignored for three months, these two objectives must top the agenda of the new public service delivery system which Abdullah is to announce on Thursday.

(Speech at DAP ceramah in Buntong, Ipoh Barat on Sunday, 10.6. 2007)

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 2:25 pm

    Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) based its survey results on a poll of 1,476 expatriate business executives in 13 countries and territories across the region in January and February this year. Perception is not reality though it’s true that investment decisions are based on perceptions. However in Malaysia’s case, we’re ranked 7th with a score of 6.25 out the worst possible 10 which represented a slight decrease from 2006 when Malaysia scored 6.13 although it was still better than the 2005 score of 6.80.

    I think that Corruption is too complicated a subject to measure the problem by just comparing in a simplistic way Malaysia and China based on PERC’s survey and whether the latter trailing close or about to overtake us.

    Many factors affect corruption : the nature of society and culture, whether feudal, collectivistic, individualistic or institutional based in culture; state of rapid economic development and political democratization, extent of government regulation, centralization or decentralization of governmental authority, homogeneity of its peoples, income distribution etc. Depending on such variables, in many cases corruption leads to economic stagnation and eventual collapse (as where bureaucrats at all levels expect bribes and after taking them nothing moves), and in other cases, a catalyst for economic growth (as where bureaucrats, identifiable as to who they are by businessmen, work harder and have authority to detour regulatory barriers or administrative process with bribery to spur business!

    In order for any comparison between countries/societies to be meaningful, it has to be like compared to like and not between unlikes!

    With so many variables, it is trite we just can’t compare PERC’s index on China with Malaysia’s and be happy or despondent with the comparison.

    For example how does one compare Chinese nationals like Song Pingshun, from Tianjin committing suicide and the death sentence on former head of China Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu when they were only two out of a population of 1.3 billion as compared to Malaysia’s paltry 27 million? Even if one takes squeaky clean Singapore : it is only an island easily micro-managed, given the requisite political will as compared to China or Malaysia .

    Corruption exists since time immemorial in both advanced as well as developing countries in different degrees and forms.

    It is best that we don’t compare by just PERC statistics but take measure by looking at the peculiar characteristics of and local factors affecting our own corruption problem and the political will to tackle it, such as the influence of the affirmative policies under NEP buttressed by constitutional provision of article 153, the incestuous relationship between politicians and business cronies, authorities and triad etc and see how best and what steps may be taken to: –

    · buttress political to tackle corruption;

    . mitigate – as distinct from eliminate entirely – this problem; or

    · if, it cannot be substantially mitigated so easily by usual ways, how next best to ameliorate its bad effects, and even make it work for us.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 2:28 pm

    Typo correction in capitals : “buttress political WILL to tackle corruption;”

  3. #3 by FuturePolitician on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 3:18 pm

    Elemination is too harsh, realistically speaking, unless we live in the era of ” StarTrek” where human no longer strive for economic benefits but to discover a whole new universe and to meet new species.

    However, we arent in a sci-fi world. Corruptible practise has turn into a massacre of wealth, where once corruptible practise are being behind closed doors negotiation now has become a demand and a defacto way of doing business. The sharing of wealth now become “all your base belong to us”( once this motto has been circulating the internet and a talk based in the cyberworld)

    What works last time now doesnt work, time for change..

  4. #4 by Educator on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 5:16 pm

    Is it treason to disobey the King?

  5. #5 by undergrad2 on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 7:22 pm

    If it was then some 14.0 million have committed ‘treason’.

  6. #6 by ihavesomethingtosay on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 7:40 pm

    “Is it treason to disobey the King?” – Educator

    to me and you it is, to the UMNOputras, it’s ok, remember Jakariah of Klang who can’t be bothered with the Sultan’s summon?

  7. #7 by DiaperHead on Monday, 11 June 2007 - 11:17 pm

    Richard Teo is one of them.

  8. #8 by aspire on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 5:55 am

    Changing the mindsets of the 1 million civil servants throughout the 14 states in Malaysia cannot be an overnight task. The ones who want to change the system are the ones who are with the system many moons back. So just how changed are they to make changes in this lifetime ? Or may be those are not changes but the same old things in another form and in another way ? If you look at the organisation chart, there are so many civil servants with their beautiful photos and their long titles and names and actually what you see is red tape and bureaucracy. If there are so many people around and so many hands handling one job, you can be sure that the job will not be done as it will be passed around like the passing parcel game. And when one civil servant sees and knows that other civil servants are doing direct sales, insurance and involves in corruption and this person is getting rich, why should this civil servant be so different from others ? Remember the saying ” if you can’t beat them, join them “. How many years does a civil servant work ? Say if you start at 20 years of age and given 55 years as retirement age, you only have 35 years. What do you think you can achieve in these 35 years bearing in mind that only chosen ones can excel in the service and some are purposely left out of the picture ? So if you don’t take care of yourself, you think the government will take care of you ? And if the new government delivery system focuses on only the new civil servants, then the old civil servants are neglected and ignored. They have not even reach their ripe retirement age and yet they are made to feel irrelevant already. They feel that it is senja already and almost time to close shop. No wonder everyone is taking early retirement. Experienced old civil servants going out and finding new pastures. Yet this new government delivery system is started out by the old civil servants including the P.M. himself. So just how new is the system ? If you want a truely new system, everyone from the P.M. down to the grassroots should be new people who do not know a thing and who start from scratch. So there is nothing that is so new. It is new because it starts from people with no experience, with no ideas in their present work but with what they know already in their previous position, they bring it to their new position now and so just how new is new ? Traditions can make us more vulnerable to corruption. That is why the words ” ang pow ” mean more than just good wishes. It is wishing that you give more money. The King cannot show any power because he has no power. He can only say and influence.

  9. #9 by Godamn Singh on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 10:36 am

    WOW..! All that shit in one paragraph??

  10. #10 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 7:12 pm

    They no longer come in small packages.

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