Archive for June 29th, 2007

Take leaf from new British PM – Pak Lah should relinquish Internal Security and Finance Ministries

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should take a leaf from the new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and not hog the ministries of Internal Security and Finance but appoint Ministers who can provide full-time hands-on leadership to these two important portfolios.

Abdullah should give serious consideration to this proposal as in his 83 overseas trips in his 44 months as Prime Minister, five of them were to the United Kingdom.

On replacing Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Brown relinquished his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer to Alistair Darling who was moved from the Trade and Industry Ministry while appointing the first female Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

In contrast, Abdullah is hanging on as Minister for both portfolios although the past 44 months have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he has neither the time nor temperament to be a full-time hands-on Minster for either Ministry.

What are the reasons for the Prime Minister to head another Ministry?

It must be to stamp his personal authority on the Ministry whether policies, programmes or personnel. As Abdullah is clearly incapable of doing this, whether in Internal Security or Finance, for the simple reason that he is unable to spare the time and attention, is it then the alternative explanation that he could not trust anyone else to head the two Ministries which he regards as either too influential or sensitive? Read the rest of this entry »


Cabinet Committee on Integrity – what is it doing to turn back tide of corruption in Malaysia?

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is both right and wrong when he said that it is unfair to say the government is not serious in fighting corruption simply because Tan Sri Eric Chia has been acquitted.

He said yesterday that one should not judge the government’s earnestness in fighting graft based on a single case such as that of the former managing director of Perwaja Steel Sdn. Bhd who was acquitted of criminal breach of trust charges involving RM76.4 million on Tuesday.

Najib is right that normally the government record whether in its battle against corruption or any other policy matter should not be judged on the basis of one case, except that the Eric Chia corruption trial bulked large as it was hailed as the most high-profile evidence of the Abdullah administration’s resolve to launch a crackdown on corruption.

As the most high-profile anti-corruption case that had been thrown out of court, especially after the failure to nab the 18 “big fishes” which the Abdullah administration had earlier promised to arrest and prosecute for corruption, Najib should realise that the Eric Chia case has assumed the epic proportion of the test case of the Abdullah premiership to “walk the talk” to fight corruption.

The circumstances of Eric Chia’s acquittal — where the defence was not called because the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case — was a most ignominous reflection on the government’s will to fight corruption as well as the professionalism of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patial and his prosecutors.

As the Attorney-General is appealing against Eria Chia’s acquittal, Malaysians will have to suspend judgment until outcome of the appeal.

However, Najib and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should realize why the government’s anti-corruption campaign is so intimately tied to the outcome of the Eric Chia case — as there has been no other higher profile case in the past 44 months.

In the last general election, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians believed that Abdullah is a new broom to sweep out corruption in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


NEP not a global-friendly policy

by Dr. Chen Man Hin


The NEP has been under attack by many foreign investors the latest critic was Thierry Rommel, a top envoy from the European Union, who commented that trade relations with Malaysia has been hampered by its policy of bumiputraism which is racial and not acceptable by global standards.

What Rommel said was embodied in a 34 page European Commission report titled Malaysia-European Community Strategy Paper for the Period 2007-2013 which stated “Crucial policies are an open stance towards FDI, not least in the services sector which needs to be opened up; human capital development , innovation and research capabilities; more competition and less interference of government-enforced Bumiputra–related concerns in the functioning of markets.”

It is not only the European Union that is critical. The US Department of State also stated “one source of impediments to Malaysia’s economic growth is its complex network of racial preferences to promote the acquisition of economic assets by ethnic Malays (bumiputra). The public aim of these programs is to encourage a more even distribution of wealth among races. despite th stated goal of poverty alleviation, these raced based policies.. in practice wealthy and well-connected bumiputera receive the lion’s share of the benefits. The resulting economic distortions in the property, labor and stock markets inhibit growth and deter both foreign and domestic investment.”

The world opinion of NEP is negative and is shown by statistics of FDI inflows into Malaysia and other countries. Read the rest of this entry »