Archive for July 22nd, 2009

Teoh Beng Hock’s death – Cabinet decision on Royal Commission of Inquiry falls far short of public expectation, unsatisfactory and unacceptable

I am disappointed by the Cabinet decision on the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock.

There will be no Royal Commission of Inquiry into the causes of Teoh’s death although an inquest would be held.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry will be set up, but only to look into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigative procedures and to determine if there were any human right violations when Teoh Beng Hock was being interrogated.

This falls short of public expectations and is unsatisfactory and unacceptable.

What the Malaysian public want is a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the mysterious causes of Teoh’s death at 14th floor of MACC Hqrs, the investigating procedures of MACC as well as into the independence, professionalism and integrity of the MACC whether it has become the catspaw of its political masters to declare war on the Pakatan Rakyat instead of declaring war on corruption.

MCA, Gerakan, MIC and SUPP Ministers have led the Teoh family and the public “up the garden path” into believing that they support a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death.
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Arresting the Slide in Our Public Institutions

By Farish A. Noor

The term ‘Asubhabhavana’ is familiar with many historians of Buddhist theology by now, for it refers to a meditative mode of introspection that has become ritual practice over the centuries. In layman’s terms, Asubhabhavana refers to the simple process of self-reflection and mental back-tracking where one contemplates the manifold paths, steps and mis-steps that were taken to get us to where we are today; prompting the simple yet direct question: “Why have I become what I am today, and what were the mistakes that I made that continue to hurt me now?”

As it is with individual subjectivities, so is it with states, governments and institutions. For when we look at the process of historical development and decline of so many post-colonial societies we also need to ask what were the steps and mis-steps that were taken to get them to their present state of degeneration and decline?

A case in point is the recent one in Malaysia, where a young political assistant to the DAP opposition party was found dead under the most suspicious of circumstances. The young man had been summoned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to its offices in order to answer some questions related to allegations of corrupt political practice. The next time anyone sees him, he is found lying dead on the rooftop of the building next door. Needless to say the fact that the young man may have died while under MACC custody begs the immediate and obvious questions: How did he die, and why? This is the burning question that has brought Malaysians of all walks of life, across the political divide, together. Already the same question is being asked even by the component parties of the BN ruling coalition, and prominent BN leaders have likewise called for an enquiry into what happened that day at the MACC office.
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Five prerequisites for Najib to demonstrate he has the political will to break the back of the problem of endemic crime which has given Malaysia an international notoriety of a nation where citizens, tourists and investors are not safe from crime

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib will announce on Monday details of the measures to fight crime under one of the six National Key Result Areas to be implemented in September.

Hishammuddin said the details to be announced by Najib would include the hot areas and crime statistics. Najib would also announce the co-operation to be effected with the non-police sector, such as the Attorney-General’s Chambers, courts and prisons.

In his “Hundred Days as PM” address on 11th July 2009, Najib announced a slew of goodies and pledged delivery of promises in six key areas, viz:

  • The prevention of crime;
  • The fight against corruption;
  • Access to quality education;
  • The improvement of the living standards for the lower income group;
  • Improvement of rural infrastructure;
  • Improvement of public transportation.

In less than a week, Najib’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas) in one of these six sectors, the fight against corruption, is in tatters and utterly discredited.
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Repentance in retirement : The Badawi baffle

By Augustine Anthony

A very interesting behavioural pattern is emerging amongst the Malaysian politicians whilst in power and when they are no longer in power. Even prime ministers are not spared.

In Malaysia there are many repressive laws, legislations and stifling administrative procedures that are archaic and unworkable in a modern democratic system of governance.

Often we witness politicians within the ruling government, when called upon to state their views on these laws, governmental directives and administrative procedures, either support it openly or maintain a puzzling silence.

No matter what degree of public outcry, the response is akin to “you shout as much as you can, I am in power and I will decide the way I want it” seems to be the trend in response.

But once they find place in retirement, their views become somewhat perplexingly inconsistent to their earlier views. Suddenly they are now champions of human rights and fundamental liberties.
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Teoh Beng Hock must not die in vain

Don’t let Teoh’s death be in vain
By Oon Yeoh

Much has been said and written about the tragic death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock. There is anger, sadness and confusion over what has happened.

The calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry are growing louder. Perhaps in due time we will be able to find out the truth of what actually happened, and, if some heads have to roll, let them roll.

But that alone will not stop situations like this from reoccurring, just as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye has not stopped police brutality from persisting. Similarly, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video has done nothing to bolster people’s confidence in the judiciary.

That’s because the underlying causes of these various problems have not been addressed, only the specific incidences of wrongdoing.
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Governance between Idealism and Realism

By Farish A Noor

Malaysia-watchers would have noticed by now that cracks have begun to appear in the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) and that recent events have given some cause for worry. Notably, public spats and open rows among PR leaders in state assemblies have not given us any reason to be confident about the coalition’s future, and at the rate that the PR is going today one is not surprised to hear much speculation about the impending fall of two more state assemblies. There are, understandably, many reasons for these rows to have come into the public domain – though none of these reasons could justify such acrimonious and self-defeating displays by public politicians whom we expect to behave with more decorum and professionalism.

One of the reasons, we are told, is the constant bickering and demands that are coming from the business community – predominantly in Selangor and Penang – who feel that their earlier support for the Pakatan should now be reciprocated by the handing out of lucrative development projects and other perks and bonuses that come with political sponsorship and patronage. This, however, is precisely the root of the malaise to Malaysian politics, and was one of the primary reasons why the vote swing in March 2008 was as strong and vocal as it was.

It is known to many in the business world and corporate sector that the mode of governance in Selangor has changed: Calls for transparency and accountability have been met with a more stringent form of quality control and hands-on management. Contracts have to be tendered for openly, and the accounting has to be visibly cleaner and more transparent. Likewise the very nature of the development contracts have changed as well, with environmentally-dangerous forms of development (such as hillside development) put on hold for the moment.
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