Archive for April 21st, 2008

Anti-Corruption reform – Abdullah pre-empting parliamary question directed to him next week

It has become the practice for Cabinet Ministers to pre-empt questions which MPs have given notice in the forthcoming parliamentary meeting by giving answers before the questions are actually asked on the dates they are listed.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has proved that he is no exception and is beginning to answer my first question for question time in the 12th Parliament beginning next Wednesday, which asked him “to outline the top ten priority reform measures which his government will implement in the next 12 months to demonstrate that he has heard the voices of the people in the March 8, 2008 ‘political tsunami’”.

This morning, Abdullah announced that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) will be made a full-fledged commission by year-end and will be answerable to Parliament.

He said said this was one of the four key reform initiatives that would be carried out by the government in the move to address the public concerns on corruption in the country.

The commission’s workforce would be increased to 5,000 officers over a period of five years and the government would also introduce legislation to provide a comprehensive protection for whistle blowers and witnesess in corruption cases.

Furthermore, the government would also take immediate steps to improve the public procurement process through measures targeted at addressing specific problems in the system. Read the rest of this entry »


Apportioning The Blame

by M. Bakri Musa

It is tempting – and comforting – to blame everyone for the failure of Prime Minister Abdullah’s leadership, or to take the other extreme and heap the blame entirely on the hapless man.

Both approaches would be inadequate if not wrong. The corollary to “everyone is at fault” is that no one is. That would be a collective “cop out,” an abrogation of personal responsibility. Even if it were that rare instance where everyone is indeed responsible, there would still be the different degrees of culpability that would have to be acknowledged.

Blaming Abdullah entirely would also be inadequate. If nothing else, that would reveal the glaring inadequacies of the system, like its lack of checks and balances.

When a Turkish Airline jet crashed over Paris in 1974 because its cargo door blew out, the blame was not put entirely on the sloppy mechanic – although his negligence was clearly the triggering event – rather on the design flaws that would not indicate when doors were not properly secured. Firing the poor mechanic (though that was done) would not prevent future similar accidents, but improving the design with better indicator lights did.

An insight of modern “failure analysis” is that catastrophes are often not the result of a single major error, rather the cumulative effects of a series of minor mistakes each compounding the other until a critical stress point is reached when the whole thing would blow up. We are all familiar with the story of losing the war for the want of a nut. Read the rest of this entry »