Archive for September 21st, 2007

AG’s Report – why the thunderous post-Cabinet silence?

Why the thunderous post-Cabinet silence over the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report — and does it signify the end of the three-day wonder of thunder-and-lightning in the media over abuses and mismanagement of public funds until next year’s Auditor-General’s Report?

Two Tuesdays ago, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that he had directed all Ministers at the Cabinet meeting on Sept. 5 to go through the Auditor-General’s Report in detail and to fully explain mismanaging funds and other irregularities in their respective ministries.

Last Thursday, Abdullah said the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should step in and investigate any suspicion of corruption in ministries and government agencies implicated in the Auditor-General’s Report 2006.

When was the Cabinet meeting for the Ministers to explain in detail the strictures of the Auditor-General against their respective ministries?

I had expected some announcement after this Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting on the outcome of the Prime Minister’s directive to all Ministers, but there is only thunderous silence.

Have all the Ministers been given a reprieve from having to personally account to the Cabinet for all the public fund mismanagement and irregularities in their ministries as revealed by the Auditor-General’s Report; and if not, why is there no public accounting from the Prime Minister as to any outcome?

For instance, what is the explanation from the UMNO Youth leader and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on the mismanagement of public funds of over RM285 million in the Ministry of Youth and Sports when he was the Minister from 1999 to 2004?

It is no use Hishammuddin making brave statements in public that “I’ve nothing to hide” and calling for thorough investigations into the misuse of funds by the Youth and Sports Ministry when up to now he has failed to give any satisfactory explanation for such colossal waste of public funds as the Minister in charge. Read the rest of this entry »


AG’s comments on Lingam Tape outrageous – is he for judicial independence, integrity, accountability?

The comments by the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail that “no criminal offence appears to have been committed” in the Lingam Tape and that senior lawyer V.K.Lingam “was in a monologue over his mobile phone and it was unclear who he was talking to” (New Straits Times) were most outrageous and raise important questions, viz:

  • his understanding of and commitment to judicial independence, integrity and accountability; and
  • his fitness to continue as Attorney-General.

How can the chief legal officer of the government try to minimize the gravity of the judicial misconduct exposed by the Lingam Tape and shirk off his responsibility by claiming that Lingam was in a monologue as “There is no clear reference that he was talking to a top judicial officer”, when Anwar Ibrahim’s allegation that Lingam was talking to Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim sometime in 2002 when he was Chief Judge of Malaya was corroborated by the contents of the conversation?

Forty-eight hours have passed and neither Ahmad Fairuz nor Lingam had denied that there was such a telephone conversation between them, which would be the first reaction of anyone to a doctored video clip.

Ahmad Fairuz was contacted the same afternoon of Wednesday when Anwar made public the video recording, but his personal assistant relayed the message that the Chief Justice wanted to have a look at the video before saying anything. But Ahmad Fairuz had been in ex communicado in the past two days, although he would have no difficulty in accessing it on the Internet, as it was put up on Malaysiakini almost instantly the same day (recording over 4,000 hits since), as well as on many blogs and the Bar Council website. One Youtube site which uploaded the clip registered 23,150 hits in one day.

The silence of Lingam cannot be explained by the claim that he is overseas, particularly in the present era of 24/7 and instant communications when information travels at the speed of light and denials could be made instantly from any part of the globe.

It is also most noteworthy that Gani had not challenged the authenticity of the video recording of the telephone conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


Adventure in Canberra

Y.W.Loke emailed me:

Regarding “Malaysian consulate service a letdown”, which “Disappointed Malaysian” sent to you as well as to Malaysiakini, there was another letter to M’kini [copied below] which described an entirely different experience involving the consulate in Canberra, and in particular, Mr Haa.

Perhaps you may want to include that letter in your blog posting to offer another viewpoint for your readers to consider.

LETTERS: Adventure in Canberra

CL Yee Sep 19, 07 4:58pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini letter Malaysian consulate service a letdown. I share similar feelings as the writer about the inefficiency of their service generally. However, I had a different experience in dealing with Mr Haa, as I would refer to him.

I was a Malaysian student living in South Australia when I had my first personal encounter with the Malaysian consulate in Canberra to which I had to go to have my expired Malaysian passport renewed. Prior to coming to the office in person, I have made several telephone calls to the office.

A lot of the times, the calls went unanswered. When they did get through, I found myself talking to a female staff who was in my view was rude. Her English also left a lot to be desired. She boldly told me to come into the office in person and hung up.

Before that she gave me a list of all the documents I needed to have with me, or so I thought. I made an appointment for 9am the following Wednesday and was warned that the passport renewal could only be done between 9am to 10am. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

I flew in that day and was shocked when Mr Haa, who attended to me, said I needed a Proof of Residency certificate from the Australian Immigration to show that I was not at the time an Australian citizen. I told him my situation – I had just flown in and being my first time in Canberra, I did not know the place and that I needed my passport the same day because I was flying back to Adelaide that evening.

He then provided me with directions and assured me he would still process my application even if it was after 10am when I got the certificate. I had an opportunity to chat with him when I returned with the certificate. Turned out that he was originally Vietnamese, now an Australian and had been working for the Malaysian consulate for over 14 (or was it 20?) years. Read the rest of this entry »