Archive for November 11th, 2008

Valuecap – Nor Mohd’s “avoid and evade” game

I had hoped against hope that the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Nor Mohd Yakcop, would come to Parliament today to give the first full and proper accounting of Valuecap’s performance in the past five to six years.

I was dead wrong. Nor Mohd staged an “avoid and evade” play, fully agreeing when I interrupted him that Valuecap needs to be more transparent, but when pressed to give a full and proper accounting of Valuecap’s past performance, pleaded that he did not have the time to do so during the debate.

This prompted my question asking what is the use of him agreeing that Valuecap should be more transparent but refusing to be transparent when asked specifically?

Although Nor Mohd said he did not have the time to give an accounting on the past performance of Valuecap during his winding-up speech, this did not prevent him from going on and on on other subjects – to the extent that I walked out in disgust!

In view of Nor Mohd’s admission that Valuecap had been remiss in the past in failing to be more accountable and transparent in its custody of taxpayers’ money, and his excuse that he did not have the time in his speech today to be transparent about Valuecap’s past performance, he or the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a ministerial statement in the current meeting of Parliament to report on the performance of Valuecap in the past five years. Read the rest of this entry »


Why no transparent search committee to pick new University of Malaya Vice Chancellor?

I congratulate former Multimedia University (MMU) Prof Dr. Ghauth Jasmon on his appointment as University of Malaya Vice Chancellor and hope that he could be successful in his tenure to restore the university’s international academic reputation in getting it back not only into the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) Top 200 Universities bracket, but even among the Top 100 Universities.

There have been good reports about Ghauth’s leadership of MMU for 11 years and the circumstances of his departure from MMU reflected adversely on the university than on him.

I have no criticism of Ghauth’s appointment except to question why the process of selection of University of Malaya Vice Chancellor has not been as transparent and above-board as promised by one Higher Education Minister after another.

Nobody seems to know that Datuk Rafiah Salim was to be replaced as UM Vice Chancellor and she herself was given 48 hours’ notice. In fact, nobody knew that a search for a new UM Vice Chancellor was taking place, who sat on the Search Committee and the candidates being considered. Read the rest of this entry »


MCAC Bill – “magic formula” to transform Malaysia into a model nation in anti-corruption?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced at the National Integrity Convention in Kuching last Friday that the Cabinet had on the same day approved the Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC) Bill, which would replace the Anti-Corruption Act and will be “the foundation for the formation of an anti-corruption commission that is effective and subject to independent monitoring through a comprehensive check-and-balance system”.

Abdullah said the MCAC bill will be tabled for first reading in Parliament “as soon as possible”.
However, it would appear that the Prime Minister’s concept of “as soon as possible” is very different from that of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who will be responsible for piloting the bill through Parliament.

This is because Nazri was reported in the press the next day as saying that the MCAC Bill would be tabled for first first reading in Parliament by December 11, which is one full month away!

I call on Nazri to speed up and table the MCAC Bill for first reading in Parliament without further delay, possibly this week itself, to allow for fullest public feedback and debate before a parliamentary vote on what has been bruited as Abdullah’s legacy as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


The growing anti-ISA rebellion

DEWAN DISPATCHES: As rebellion grows, the Internal Security Act’s tryst with destiny

By Azmi Anshar New Straits Times

DEWAN RAKYAT Nov 10, 2008:

Three discrete incidents yoked to the Internal Security Act interplayed with Lim Kit Siang’s urgent House motion filed today demanding the Speaker allow its deliberation tomorrow in the Dewan Rakyat. Kit could not have chosen a more opportune time to shove this motion that entangles Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s unexpected release from ISA detention and the Home Ministry’s push to have him re-arrested, with Umno’s show cause letter to its rebel ex-Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim for collaborating with the Opposition to repeal the ISA and the Bersih’s anti-ISA vigil that concluded chaotically with police arrest of demonstrators.

It has always the DAP MP for Ipoh Timor’s pitbullish mission to dismantle the Internal Security Act, in particular its most galling provision of detention without trial that had been inflicted on the DAP supremo, his son and their many comrades over the past 40 years. If there is a an agenda of the highest order in his series of campaigns to neutralise what he perceives as underhanded Government tactics, the ISA’s dismantling would be his crowning glory, perhaps more profound than the slimmest idea of becoming Deputy Prime Minister.

For now, Kit is seeking that the Cabinet overrule the decision of Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to appeal against the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to free Raja Petra, he of the Malaysia Today infamy, and force the gadfly of sordid web tales to return to Kamunting. Invoking Standing Order 18, Kit injected his motion with an appeal on the “positive reflection” in the last five months of the Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s premiership, hoping, in his own words, that the PM would “direct the Cabinet to fully review draconian laws and uphold the doctrine of separation of powers by repealing laws institutionalising executive usurpation of judicial powers and independence.” Read the rest of this entry »