Archive for October 29th, 2016

Corruption in Sabah Water Department sextupled the “Mr. 10%” epithet six times to “Mr. 60%” – a shocking reflection of increasing gravity of kleptocracy in Malaysia

The country was recently convulsed by reports of the rampant corruption in the Sabah Water Department, especially the revelation that 60 per cent of the RM3.3 billion earmarked by the federal government to improve water supply to residents, including those in remote areas, in the Sabah State, had been “siphoned off” by corruption.

As a result, corruption in the Sabah Water Department sextupled the “Mr. 10%” epithet for the corrupt, increasing six times to “Mr. 60” – a shocking reflection of the gravity of the kleptocracy in Malaysia!

In the past three months, Malaysia made an undesirable descent to a “global kleptocracy”, especially after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) action under the US Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative (KARI) on July 20 to forfeit US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland arising from over US$3 billion international embezzlement, misappropriation and money-laundering of 1MDB finds and actions by investigative and regulatory authorities in over half-a-dozen countries, including closure of banks and criminal prosecutions.

Sabah’s Water-Gate Corruption Scandal in October, which started with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) seizure of more than RM114 million in cash and accounts, 19.3 kg of gold jewellery worth about RM3.64 million, some 97 designer ladies handbags worth RM500,000, nine luxury vehicles and some 127 land titles from the Director and Deputy Director of Sabah Water Department, have certified and confirmed the “arrival” of Malaysia as “a land of kleptocracy” in the minds of both the Malaysian and international community.

The “earth-breaking” ceremony for the Impian Sabah Keningau Water Project earlier this evening in Bunga Raya district only 20 km from Keningau (fifth largest township in Sabah) set me thinking as to what could have been achieved for rural Sabah in the past half a century, if the state had good governance instead of “locusts” for the past five decades. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s Najib Erases Predecessor’s Economic Vision

Asia Sentinel
October 27, 2016

Annual budget focuses too little on money, too much on politics

On Oct. 21, Malaysia’s scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak tabled a RM260.8 billion budget that is not only short on money and long on politics but seeks to obliterate the philosophy behind the economic blueprint of his arch-enemy, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib, also the finance minister, dubbed his 30-year development program “Transformasi Nasional 2050 (National Transformation 2050),” an alternative to Mahathir’s Vision 2020, launched in a landmark Najib’s plan, however, was short on details but long on rhetoric.

“The New Economic Policy under the late Tun Razak was planned to create a successful New Generation within 30 years. So is TN50, which will span three decades, to form a first-caliber nation state as well as with excellent mindset,” Najib said at the end of his budget 2017 speech, recalling his father Abdul Razak Hussein’s affirmative action plan, which was actually a 20-year policy.

One third of the 106-minute speech was devoted to politics and for the first time included a Powerpoint presentation as well as an introduction to leaders of various communities and social workers at the public gallery in parliament.

“Let TN50 bear witness; (let it) be recorded in history that we are responsible citizens and forefathers, to leave behind the best and he greatest legacy to be inherited by future generations.

“From now on, TN50 is our lucky charm. Let the old legacy pass. The future of Malaysia, we will recreate,” he said, in a dig at Mahathir’s Vision 2020 plan.

In an immediate reaction, veteran opposition leader Lim Kit Siang – who has struck a loose alliance with Mahathir – called out Najib’s volte-face of Mahathir’s policies, saying: “It is most shocking that Najib could so cavalierly and unceremoniously repudiated Vision 2020 when only in the last budget presentation last year, he reiterated his commitment to achieve Vision 2020 and the goal of a developed nation status. Has he abandoned both Vision 2020 and its final lap?”

The answer isn’t clear but what is clear about the budget speech was its focus on several demographics that could help Najib keep power in the next general elections, due 2018 but which many believe will be called earlier. Read the rest of this entry »