Archive for September 17th, 2007

Cabinet Wednesday should direct all Ministers with ministries implicated in AG’s 2006 Report to appear before PAC

Malaysians are quite weary of the annual season of farce of the Audit-General’s Report exposing year-in and year-out corruption, criminal breach of trust and mismanagement of public funds followed by the chorus of responses from the Public Accounts Committee, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and even from the Prime Minister and the relevant Ministers of investigations and remedial action not only to deal with the errant culprits but to ensure that there could be no more recurrence of such betrayal of public trust — all to taper off into public amnesia after a few days of media banner headlines until the ritual is repeated in the following year.

Last Tuesday (11th September 2007), the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said at the Cabinet meeting the previous week (5th September), he had directed all ministers concerned to explain to the Cabinet why their ministries have been accused of mismanaging funds and other irregularities. He said “each and every matter raised must be explained in detail”.

Three questions immediately come to mind, viz:

  • Firstly, why did Abdullah delay for more than two months before raising the subject in the Cabinet when he had first received the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report at the end of June? Even the ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan had publicly admitted that the ACA had received copies of the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report “sometime ago” and that the ACA had begun investigations into the Auditor-General’s 2006 Report “long before it was tabled in Parliament” on September 7;
  • Secondly, will Ministers be required to explain to the Cabinet on Wednesday why their ministries have been accused of mismanaging funds and other irregularities, with each and every matter raised by the Auditor-General to be explained in detail? Will the Prime Minister report to the nation at the end of Wednesday’s meeting of the Ministers who have given satisfactory explanations and those who have failed to do so, and what he proposes to do with the latter? Or there is no real intention whatsoever to hold a Cabinet inquest into the corruption and mismanagement of public funds into the various ministries as exposed in the 2006 Auditor-Gneeral Report?
  • Thirdly, why are the Ministers only required to explain to the Cabinet and not to Parliament and the nation?

As all Ministers owe a higher duty to Parliament and the nation to comply with the principles of accountability, probity and integrity, the Cabinet on Wednesday should direct all Ministers whose past or present ministries had been implicated in the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report for mismanagement of funds to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to assume full responsibility and end all the annual “bellyaching” about taking action by various authorities but without any concrete follow-up results. Read the rest of this entry »


Distilling the Essence of Islam

(Din Merican and M. Bakri Musa)

Dear Bakri:

I had the pleasure of chatting with Imam Feisal Rauf at the Blog House in Bukit Damansara last Sunday (September 9, 2007) after he led our Maghrib prayers. The occasion was the special interfaith Doa Selamat prayers seeking Allah’s Blessings for Tun Mahathir’s speedy recovery from his second bypass operation on Tuesday September 4th. As you know, The Tun had his first on January of 1989.

Apart from being the former Prime Minister and an outstanding leader, Tun Mahathir was also my mentor and hero. Thus the multi-faith congregational prayers Imam Feisal led had a special significance for me.

The Imam’s greater effort is in trying to bridge the divide between the West and Islam. I thoroughly enjoyed his recent book and understood his theme: the commonality of our faiths with their universal message of love, charity, and goodwill.

Until I met him, I did not know that he had studied at a local school in Kuala Lumpur. That explained his impeccable Malay and special affection for Malaysia!

I was also delighted to learn that he is the son of the distinguished and yet very humble Egyptian scholar-teacher, the late Tan Sri Professor Dr. Muhammad Rauf of Al-Azhar University, Cairo. I must say that Imam Feisal also inherited his father’s handsome features!

The late Professor — I knew him as Dr. Rauf — was my professor at the University of Malaya when I did Islamic Studies in my first year (1960). He (Al-Fatihah) taught Islamic History, the Quran, and the Hadith. He had a huge influence on my thinking about and my attitude towards our religion. Prior to that, my exposure to our Holy Book, like you I presume, was through the lessons taught by my simple kampong ustaz.

Hence the special bonding I felt for Imam Feisal, as reflected in my affectionate hug after the Maghrib prayer that Sunday. I had to hold back my tears. I felt deep within my heart that he reminded me very much of my earlier special Professor of Islam. Yet it did not occur to me to ask him whether he knew Professor Rauf! Imam Feisal’s manner of speaking, appearance, and views on Islam were very much of my enlightened intellectual Professor Rauf, Imam Feisal’s father. Read the rest of this entry »