Archive for January 30th, 2009

Umno discipline and ethics – rules that apply to some but not to others

by Zaid Ibrahim

1. The call by Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen, Chairman of The Disciplinary Tribunal, for UMNO to disband its youth, wanita and puteri wings, as part of the measures to curb corruption, has attracted much flack from the party’s senior leaders including Dato Najib Razak. Instead of brushing aside the suggestion, as is the standard response of the party when confronted with something new, they should reflect and try to understand what Tengku Din was trying to tell them. Tengku Din was exasperated with the extent of the corruption permeating the party at all levels. He was saying that the Disciplinary Tribunal alone could no longer cope with the practice and culture of corruption within the party. As a loyal party man he was trying to politely tell the party leaders that UMNO could no longer be salvaged under the present structure, and under the present crop of leaders I might add.

2. What makes it so difficult for the Tribunal to effectively carry out its functions is the selective prosecution it must practice in the discharge of its duties. Actions can only be taken if required or useful to certain top leaders. The Tribunal lacks clear mandate from the party management in dealing with money politics, UMNO’s euphemism for corrupt practice. When I was suspended for allegedly being involved in money politics, I knew that Tengku Din, although Chairman, was not involved in making the decision. Someone else in the management wanted me out. So an UMNO member will be subject to investigation and harassment if he does not belong to the right camp. Many others will escape with impunity and they can bribe the delegates as much as they want and not get the attention of the Tribunal. So even Tengku Din now realises the futility of having the Disciplinary Tribunal to deal with corrupt practice. I therefore urge Tengku Din to retire and resign from the Tribunal.

3. UMNO leaders who are critical of Tengku Din should also be mindful that they are not supposed to criticise him or the Tribunal. Look what happened to me for criticising the Tribunal and for not wanting to apologise when asked. I got suspended because they said I violated party ethics. UMNO got ethics? Well that’s the true story. So they same fate will fall on Dato Najib and his friends in the Supreme Council. They too may get suspended if they continue to criticise the Disciplinary tribunal or its Chairman.This is of course wishful thinking, as there are rules in UMNO that apply to some but not to others.


Liow Tiong Lai – take leave from all MCA duties to spearhead war against dengue

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai flew into a rage over my suggestion that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi appoint a new Health Minister if Liow is incapable of being an effective commander-in-chief in an all-out war against the worsening dengue epidemic to check continuing avoidable loss of lives.

Liow descended to a very personal level, resorting to abuses and invective, such as calling me a “poisonous political mosquito”.

I will not go down to Liow’s puerile level as my priority concern is to puncture Liow’s phoney war against dengue which could only lead to more avoidable dengue deaths and sufferings, which had already reached an unprecedented level last year, so that the Health Minister can take full responsibility to mobilize the nation to wage an all-out and successful war against dengue.

Liow failed Malaysians as a Health Minister last year in failing to spearhead a war against dengue, which recorded the highest number of 49,335 dengue cases and 112 dengue deaths in the nation’s history. Read the rest of this entry »


900 cases of Umno money politics – Dare MACC tell PM and Rithaudeen they are wrong?

The Prime Minister and the UMNO Disciplinary Board Chairman are wrong and the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) right on whether money politics and vote buying in Umno come within the jurisdiction of the MACC.

The UMNO disciplinary board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen so despaired at the rot of corruption in Umno that he even suggested the abolition the Umno wings – Youth, Wanita, Putri and Putra – as a radical surgical solution but he refused to recognize MACC’s powers, responsibilities and jurisdiction over these cases, claiming that the Umno disciplinary board is not a “forwarding agency” for the MACC.

Rithaudeen said investigations by the MACC and the Umno disciplinary board would be done separately and any information-sharing would be done on a case-by-case basis.

Rithaudeen’s position has been upheld by the Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the Umno Supreme Council meeting last night.

New Straits Times today reported:

Asked whether investigations into money politics came under the disciplinary committee or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, he said the issue fell under the committee’s jurisdiction.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why as a doctor I want this government to go away

by CSK

I am a local graduate and have been in practice for 31 years. I am basically a physician by training and received my qualifications from the Royal Colleges in 1985. I see mainly kidney ailments and their predisposing illnesses which usually are high blood pressure, diabetes and heart ailments.

I was in government service for twenty years and the remainder now in private practice. I run a clinic in Penang and have visitation rights to private hospitals.

When I was in government service, yes, there was much bureaucracy. But nothing of the sort we see today. There was a greater deal of camaraderie. And although there were differences with private hospitals or clinics, generally everyone learned to work together.

When I first opened my clinic, it was fairly a straightforward affair. Apart from my APC (Annual Practicing Certificate), it was just ensuring the clinic was adequately equipped to treat the type of patients which I knew I would be treating, and making certain I had the type of medication I wanted to prescribe to my patients generally.

My first brush with the law, if you can call it that, came when a group of government medical assistants and health inspectors walked into my clinic without notice and brusquely gave me a warning regarding a new rule regarding toxic waste and how we should dispose them in yellow containers recommended by the ministry. I complied.

About two years later, there were problems regarding my X-ray machine, when third parties who appeared not so knowledgeable but apparently approved by the Ministry of Health, started walking in and out of my clinic for purposes of calibration and licence renewals. I could not quite understand why the supplier or manufacturer himself was not allowed to service or calibrate these machines. The cost ran into thousands of ringgit which I had to pay.

To add insult to injury, I was forced to attend Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs run by what looked like staff who didn’t know much about the programs they were conducting despite myself having a qualified radiographer to do the X-Rays. The cost of the CME programs again had to be borne by me.

And then came the PHFSA (Private Health Care, Facilities and Services Act). No one understood the need for this Act. Read the rest of this entry »


CNY Open House

You are all invited to the DAP Chinese New Year Open House at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tomorrow from 11am-1pm.

Facilities are available for the elderly and disabled.

Entertainment includes lion and line dances, Chinese Orchestra and PR leaders mixing yee sang.


How Many Deaths Does it Take?

By Farish A. Noor

Commenting on the loss of credibility and legitimacy of the Burmese state security forces in the eyes of the Burmese people and the international community, the Burmese activist leader Aung San Su Kyi once said: “All they have left are their guns”.

Indeed, if the possession of a badge is the only thing that differentiates a law enforcement officer from the ordinary public or the criminal fraternity, then it can be said that the line between law enforcement and the absence of law and order is a fine one. It has become a truism worldwide that once that line is fatefully and fatally crossed, it would be next to impossible to redeem the reputation and standing of any law enforcement agency again. This was the case of the police in South Africa during the days of Apartheid, whose job it was not to protect all South African citizens but rather to prop up the Apartheid regime at the cost of the freedom of others. The same applies to the stained reputation of the security forces of many other developing countries, from Zimbabwe to Pakistan to Sri Lanka to the Philippines, whose job it seems is to protect the ruling parties and the political elite rather than to provide for the safety of the population at large.

Today Malaysia seems to be heading down the same path as more and more revelations of misdemeanours among the state security forces come to light. The most recent case being that of Kugan Ananthan, a 22-year old who was arrested by the Malaysian police on suspicion of being part of a luxury car-theft racket. Kugan was later found dead at the Subang Jaya police station, and the initial explanation for his death was ‘water in the lungs’. Read the rest of this entry »