Archive for category Good Governance

R. Chander, first Malaysian Chief Statistician (1963-1977) praises Guan Eng for early statement on national debt and stresses urgency of coherent plan to manage Malaysia’s public sector debt

I have received an expert opinion on Malaysia’s public sector debt by Dr. R. Chander, the first Malaysian to hold the office of Chief Statistician of Malaysia (1963-1977) and who went on to serve as the Senior Adviser to the World Banks’ Chief Economist/Vice President from 1977 to 1996. Upon retirement from the Bank, he had served as interntional adviser to multiple international agencies and governments.

Dr. Chander said he was encouraged by the speed with which the Pakatan Harapan government had come to grips with the most pressing issues and praised the Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng for making an early statement on Malaysia’s debt situation.
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Managing Malaysia’s Public-Sector Debt

By R. Chander

BACKGROUND

This note, in three parts, focuses on the public sector debt in Malaysia. Part I presents a brief overview of the manner in which the Najib administration approached the issue of public sector debt. Part II presents a summary view of the assessment made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the course of the annual Article IV Consultations completed earlier this year. The IMF Report was critical of the manner in which debt reporting was conducted by the previous administration. Part III looks to the future and makes a number of observations concerning the most appropriate manner in which the new Pakatan Harapan government could better manage Malaysia’s public sector debt.
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Apandi’s refusal to resign honourably and with dignity has highlighted the refusal of other UMNO/BN political appointees to resign honourably and with dignity

The refusal of Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali in the past month to resign honourably and with dignity as Attorney-General has highlighted the refusal of other

UMNO/Barisan Nasional political appointees to resign honourably and with dignity their political appointments although there a change of Federal government for the first time in the nation’s history.

It would appear that there is honour among thieves but not among UMNO/BN politicians.

How many of the UMNO/BN Senators have resigned from the Senate since the historic and watershed development on May 9, 2018 which saw the peaceful and democratic transition of power after 61 years of independence.
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Apandi’s refusal to resign as Attorney-General setting bad example to other political appointees, particularly UMNO/BN Senators

The refusal of Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali to submit an honourable and dignified resignation as Attorney-General despite the watershed and historic political change in the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 with the first democratic and peaceful transition of power in Malaysia has set the worst possible example to all UMNO/BN political appointees.

Although he knows that he enjoys zero confidence in the new Pakatan Harapan government of Malaysia, Apandi’s hanging on to his office is being used by other UMNO/BN political appointees to hang on to their posts, although they know they have no moral claim or authority any more to these political appointments.

This is best seen among the political appointees in the Dewan Negara, as it is some four weeks since the fall of the UMNO/BN government on May 9, 2018, but not a single UMNO/BN appointed Senator has resigned from their Senate appointment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rafidah’s advocacy of “ketuanan Malaysia” as a more inclusive concept for all Malaysians should be welcomed by Malaysians who want Malaysia to fulfill her destiny as “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world”

Former Wanita UMNO Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz’s advocacy of “ketuanan Malaysia” as a more inclusive concept for all Malaysians should be welcomed by Malaysians to want Malaysia to fulfill her destiny as “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world”.

These were the founding ideals when our nation achieved Merdeka in 1957 and Malaysia was formed in 1963, to be “an independent and sovereign democratic State founded upon liberty and justice, ever seeking to defend and uphold peace and harmony among its people and to perpetuate peace among nations”, where all citizens dedicate themselves “to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in disturbed and distracted world”.

It is no exaggeration to say that never before in previous thirteen general elections since 1959 had the country seen such intensity and viciousness in the politics of fear, hate, lies, race and religion as in the 14th General Election. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakatan Harapan leaders, who made history on May 9, must ensure that history is made in Malaysia in the next five years to rebuild a New Malaysia with systemic and institutional reforms accompanied by mindset changes

I congratulate the DAP Ministers, Chief Minister, State Executive Councillors and State Ministers for they were all history makers in the political earthquake of May 9, 2018 to achieve a Malaysian Dream which generations of Malaysians had not thought possible to see come true in their lifetime.

Now the hard work has started, for the Pakatan Harapan leaders who made history on May 9 must ensure that history is made in Malaysia in the next five year to rebuild a New Malaysia with systemic and institution reforms accompanied by mindset changes. Otherwise, they will become history!

We must never lose sight that Pakatan Harapan at the Federal and State level, where we are also State Governments, must be always be a government for all Malaysians, regardless of whether they voted for Pakatan Harapan or otherwise – that we must truly serve all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics.

We want to build a New Malaysia which is united, democratic, just and progressive.

For a thriving democracy, we must operate in a new political environment and culture where checks and balances are institutionalised in our system of governance. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zahid, you are wrong. You are not starting off as a good Opposition Leader and must learn to be constructive and honest

Let me tell the UMNO Acting UMNO President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi – You are wrong. You are not starting off as a good Opposition Leader and must learn to be constructive and honest!

Zahid said on Tuesday that he believed that Barisan Nasional would be able to make a comeback against a government that is built on “hatred”, saying:

“A government that is built on hatred, on issues that (BN) could not respond to due to poor communication, or not being grounded in reality – eventually that government will be punished by the people.”

Speaking after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting on Tuesday, Zahid said BN can look to other countries where long-time parties were defeated but managed to make a comeback.

Firstly, Zahid should not follow the example of Datuk Seri Najib Razak who has not woken up from the bubble of his own making despite his disaster of a fortnight ago in the political earthquake of May 9, 2018.

Zahid was in fact describing what the UMNO/National Front had degenerated into when entering the 14th General Election, as it was a government “built on hatred” and not “grounded in reality”, and why it was punished by the people in the May 9 political earthquake! Read the rest of this entry »

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Two-week stalling by Apandi from resigning as Attorney-General is petty and long enough – he should immediately resign without further ado if he does not want to become the greatest obstacle to legal reforms in Malaysian history

The two-week stalling by Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali from resigning as Attorney-General is petty and long enough – he should immediately resign without further ado if he does not want to be the greatest obstacle to legal reforms in Malaysian history.

Apandi cannot pretend that his appointment as Attorney-General is not akin to a political appointment, whether in the form of a contract or otherwise, and with the earthquake development on 9th May 2018 bringing about the historic change of the Federal Government in Putranjaya in the 14th General Election, it is completely untenable and undignified for Apandi to contine a single day as Attorney-General especially as he does not enjoy any confidence whatsoever from the new Malaysian Government.

Leaving aside for the moment the most suspicious and even inauspicious circumstances in which his appointment as Attorney-General was made in July 2015, Apandi, who had been a Federal Court judge, should not to subject the high office of Attorney-General to further indignity of being asked to go on leave and other forms of public humiliation!

Let Apandi demonstrate to Malaysians that he can act with dignity and honour to face the fact that his time as Attorney-General was up when Malaysians shocked the world with the historic decision on May 9 to have a peaceful and democratic transition of power – the first in the nation’s history; and that the vote of May 9, 2018 was not only to throw out Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya, but also a personal vote of no confidence in him as Attorney-General.

In fact, all political appointees, whether Senators or appointment to GLCs and public bodies, should have submitted their resignation in the last two weeks after the results of the 14th General Election for new appointments to be made.

Recently, the Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad revealed that there are some 17,000 political appointees in the country, but the state of civic and political consciousness among these former wielders of power and influence in the country is so low and primitive that until now only the former Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad had acted honourably in resigning as Felda Chairman after the general election.

What are these 17,000 political appointees waiting for instead of submitting their resignations without any further ado?

(Media Statement in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday May 23, 2018)

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“Police detain man who insulted Dr M” is Old Malaysia – time for all agencies to develop “New Malaysia” mindset

“Police detain man who insulted Dr M” is Old Malaysia which was voted out by Malaysian voters on May 9, 2018.

The time has come for all public agencies to develop a “New Malaysia” mindset, which is why I had tweeted last night: “Release him Let us not embark on this path”.

Malaysians made history on May 9, 2018 but such a history will only be meaningful and lasting if it signalled the dawn of a New Malaysia with structural, institutional and mindset changes to enable the fulfillment of the Malaysian Dream, not just a change of Prime Minister or coalition forming the Malaysian Government in Putrajaya.

Under the Old Malaysia, police reports by Pakatan Harapan leaders and civil society activists against Barisan Nasional leaders are invariably ignored, while police reports by Barisan Nasional agaisnt Pakatan Harapan leader and civil society activists given priority attention.

In the New Malaysia, police response must not depend of “who” lodges police reports, but “what” was in the police report, and actions where civil remedy is available should not be criminalised just because the subject-matter involves the Prime Minister or any Minister for that matter.

It is good that Mahathir has acknowledged this, and he has publicly stated that he disagreed with the arrest of a man who criticised him and had instructed the police to look into the matter.

Many Malaysians see the 14th General Election as a national watershed where a New Malaysia can be born, and whether Malaysians adopt “New Malaysia” or “Old Malaysia” mindset will be an acid test whether we are building a New Malaysia or just continuing with an Old Malaysia.

On the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the May 13, 1969 racial riots on Sunday, I had called for the dark days of May 13 to be placed firmly behind us, but Malaysians must learn the most lesson of the need for perpetual mutual respect, sensitivity, civility and decency among Malaysians even among political foes in our plural society of diverse races, religions, languages and cultures.

I had called for a more decent and civil politics, minus the lies, fake news and false information so ubiquitous in recent general elections campaign.

Not everyone can respond positively to such a call but I hope that the majority of those who did not vote for Pakatan Harapan in the recent general election will be able to see the merit of this proposal and join in creating the New Malaysia mindset to bid farewell to the Old Malaysia of global kleptocracy, abuses of power, injustice and exploition of various forms.

(Media Statement in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 18th May 2018)

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Mahathir’s helming of education ministry does not violate the letter and spirit of Pakatan Harapan manifesto

I was stumped when the press phoned yesterday for comment on MCA/Gerakan criticism that Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s helming of Education Ministry was a breach of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

This was news to me and I can understand why at the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting yesterday nobody objected when Mahathir revealed that he would also be the Education Minister as everybody felt it was ok.

How could there be such an election promise when none of the Pakatan Harapan leaders from the four component parties of DAP, PRK, AMANAH and Bersatu had known about it or had made such a public commitment? Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the PSD Director-General suggesting that 85% of Malaysian Chinese voters, 65% Indian voters and 40% of Malay voters who voted against UMNO/BN in 13GE are not loyal to Yang di Pertuan Agong and country?

I am shocked at the mindset and mentality not only of the political establishment as demonstrated by the recent furore over “quinoa politics vs rice politics” and the flurry of gratuitous and baseless UMNO attacks on tycoon Robert Kuok but also of the top bureaucrats in the civil service, who seemed to have forgotten and deviated from the vital cardinal principle of non-partisanship of the civil service in politics and political matters.

I was utterly shocked when I read yesterday of the reminder by the Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Zainal Rahim Seman to 1.6 million civil servants that they should discharge their responsibilities as members of the civil service with undivided support to the government and country based on the principles of the pledge of loyalty and integrity when they first joined the service. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakatan Harapan Federal Government will introduce a new Federalism to devolve more powers and allocate more funds not only to Sabah and Sarawak but also to the various state governments in Peninsular Malaysia

As Penang DAP State Chairman and Penang Executive Councillor Chow Kon Yeow observed just now, this gathering is quite unique and historic as we have here three persons closely connected with the political development of Tanjong constituency, two former MPs and the current MP for Tanjong Parliamentary constituency, as I had been Tanjong MP for three terms from 1986 – 1999, Chow Kon Yeow MP for Tanjong for three terms from 1999 to 2013 and Ng Wei Aik, Tanjong MP since 2013.

When I moved from Kota Melaka to contest in Tanjong parliamentary constituency in 1986, the objective was to make Penang the front-line state for political change in Malaysia for democracy, human rights, justice, the rule of law and an united, harmonious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Zahid to immediately head a task force to prevent any more tahfiz school fires and present a White Paper to Parliament when it meets on Oct. 23 on the result of checks on all tahfiz schools in the country

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should not just chair the task force on the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz schools fire which resulted in the death of 24 people yesterday, his task force should be expanded in scope and terms of reference to ensure that there will be no more tahfiz school fires in the country.

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his upset that no lessons had been learnt from a tahfiz school fire in Kedah in 1989, which killed 27 people.

He recalled that in the fire at a tahfiz school dormitory in 1989, 27 female students died. The fire also totally gutted the school and eight wooden hostels.

Zahid’s task force on tahfiz fire should also probe into why no lesson had been learnt from the fire in Kedah in 1989, which claimed 27 lives, as well as other tahfiz fires. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is the Bank Negara Forex Losses Cabinet Task Force so keen to question Anwar but the Bank Negara Forex Losses RCI so afraid to summon Anwar, who was Finance Minister at the relevant period, to testify?

One question swirling in the minds of informed Malaysians is why the Cabinet Task Force on Bank Negara Forex Losses half-a-century ago was so keen to question Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Bank Negara Forex Losses is so afraid to summon Anwar, although Anwar was Finance Minister during a major part of the relevant period being investigated by the RCI –and especially when the Chairman of both probes is the same person!

Anwar’s statement from Sungai Buloh prison makes sad reading for Malaysians who had expected the RCI into the Bank Negara forex losses to function professionally and operate with full accountability and transparency.

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s cautionary warning today to the RCI on Bank Negara Forex Losses is particularly pertinent in the light of Anwar’s complaints – that the RCI tasked with investigating foreign exchange losses suffered by Bank Negara over two decades ago must follow proper procedures to ensure it does not “blacken” the image of the monarchy.

Mahathir said the image of the monarchy was at stake, as it gives a certain image that is linked to the position of the rulers, and as such a royal commission must follow the rules and regulations and procedures that will not affect the image of royalty, in particular, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should explain how he could appoint Isa Samad as SPAD Acting Chairman when he should have thick dossiers about Isa being a problematic candidate for any top public post because of his controversial role as FELDA and FGV Chairman raising grave issues about integrity, breach of trust and abuse of power

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, owes Malaysians a full and proper explanation as to how he could appoint Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad as Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Acting Chairman when he should have received thick dossiers about Isa being a problematic candidate for any top public post because of his controversial role as Felda and FGV Chairman, raising grave issues about integrity, breach of trust and abuse of power.

Mohd Isa was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday in its investigations into corruption and abuse of power in the purchase of two hotels, one in London and the other in Kuching, by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC).

The MACC said that it has “strong basis” to arrest Isa and is considering a bid to freeze all assets owned by Mohd Isa. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hishammuddin cannot be more wrong – the issue is not whether he has “nothing to hide” but why as Defence Minister, he could not answer questions about whether military intelligence chief had received RM7 million from Najib a month before the last GE?

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein cannot be more wrong when he gave a curt and terse response to questions about the claim that the director-general of the Defence Staff Intelligence Division had received money from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak about a month before the last general election.

He avoided the question by simply declaring “I have nothing to hide.”

Hishammuddin cannot be more wrong – the issue is not whether he has “nothing to hide” but why as Defence Minister, he could not answer questions whether the military intelligence chief had received RM7 million from Najib a month before the last GE; and if so, the reason for the extraordinary payment.

It is no use Hishammuddin going round the bush declaring that the military has “never been political” or that “we are not in the business of spinning this or making speculations”, when the question is why as Defence Minister he could not say “yes” or “no” to the allegation that the director-general of the military intelligence had received RM7 million from the Prime Minister about a month before the 13GE. Read the rest of this entry »

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Isa Samad should decline appointment as SPAD Chairman to end the fiasco of GLC musical chairs and start the era of appointment of the best man and not the PM’s closest crony to head GLCs

Tan Sri Isa Samad resigning as FELDA Group Ventures Holding Bhd (FGV ) Chairman but immediately becoming SPAD Chairman is only continuing the fiasco of GLC musical chairs and the farce of the GLC Transformation Programme.

It is another reason and example of the plummeting public confidence and credibility of the Najib premiership.

The appointment of Isa as Chairman of SPAD is not only the most unpopular appointment of a GLC Chairman, opposed by all sectors of society, embracing the civil service, the civil society and UMNO and BN rank-and-file, but had even been criticised by the first and former SPAD Chairman, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

The least Isa could do to end the charade of his appointment as SPAD Chairman is for him to decline the appointment as SPAD Chairman, pending inquiry into his stewardship of FELDA and FGV, which resulted in the loss of tens of billions of ringgit for the 100,000 Felda settlers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Idris Jala report on the FGV crisis should be “Tell All” and not cover-up for Najib’s ministerial failure for five years to ensure FELDA and FGV serve the 100,000 FELDA settlers and not UMNO cronies

That was fast.

Within a week, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala had completed his assignment by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to look into the Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) crisis.

This was revealed by Najib yesterday who said the Idris’ report would be announced at an appropriate time and he had also requested Idris to look into several steps and measures to solve the crisis.

Is Idris a superman or wonder worker in government transformation who could pinpoint the complex causes and solutions of the RM13 billion FGV crisis within a week?

Or were all the facts and information about the FELDA/FGV crisis in the possession of the Prime Minister’s Department, as the Prime Minister was directly responsible for FELDA/FGV affairs, and the real issue is the Prime Minster’s failure of responsibility to save FELDA and FGV in the past five years? Read the rest of this entry »

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Key lesson of Bank Negara forex losses quarter of a century ago – failure of Ministers, top civil servants, MPs and the press to play their role to uphold the principles accountability and good governance

I am here in response to an invitation by the 1992/3 Bank Negara forex losses special task force for an interview “dengan pihak yang pernah terlibat atau mempunyai sebarang maklumat mengenai urus niaga mata wang asing yang dilakukan oleh BNM sekitar tahun 1990-an”.

I was never terlibat in the Bank Negara forward forex trading and what I knew about the Bank Negara forward forex trading in the early 1990s are public information in my speeches in Parliament on the subject in 1993 and 1994.

Let me state that I stand by my speech in Parliament in April 1994 calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the colossal Bank Negara forex losses, with the following tasks:

• to ascertain Bank Negara’s forex losses since 1992, and whether they could exceed RM30 billion;

• to ascertain whether there had been any financial malpractices and abuses; and

• to establish as to how the Bank Negara could incur such colossal losses.

The Cabinet set up the special task force set up to probe the foreign exchange losses incurred by Bank Negara more than two decades ago but is it really concerned about accountability and good governance principles? Read the rest of this entry »

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Election Commission must revamp its IT capabilities and facilities to introduce automatic registration of voters or at least ensure that voters who are registered one month before the elections can vote at the 14GE

Yesterday in Sandakan, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak asked a rhetorical question, that if Malaysia is a failed state, whether King Salman of Saudi Arabia would have come to Malaysia with a large aircraft with a huge entourage?

If Salman’s entourage is an indication of the success of the countries visited by the Saudi King, it would mean that Indonesia is more than twice successful than Malaysia as Salman came to Malaysia with an entourage of 600 while he visited Indonesia with an entourage more than twice that number, i.e. 1,500!

It is of course silly to use the size of the Salman’s entourage as a yardstick to measure the success of the countries visited by the Saudi King.

I have never said Malaysia is a failed state. But unless we pull up our socks, we are in the trajectory of hurtling towards a failed and rogue state. Read the rest of this entry »

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