UMNO GA 2014 is a challenge for Prime Minister Najib Razak

November 28, 2014

UMNO GA 2014 is a challenge for Prime Minister Najib Razak

No open rebellion, but Prime Minister faces a rebellion over Malay privilege

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak opened the United Malays National Organization annual general meeting Tuesday under siege, partly from former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and partly from his own Deputy Prime Minister and party Deputy Chief Muhyiddin Yassin, who openly seems to be challenging him.

DPM MalaysiaGiven Malay politics, where frontal opposition is rare, the attacks are opaque. But the messages from both are clear: under the party’s current leadership, the ruling Barisan Nasional will lose the next general election because UMNO, the biggest component of the ruling coalition, is being deserted by ethnic Malays.

The conclave is expected to run through Saturday and will likely feature the usual fire-breathing attacks on other races and religions  from the dais. But a source close to Mahathir say this gathering is also expected to see rank-and-file efforts to pass a resolution telling Najib he can’t do away with the country’s colonial era sedition laws, as the prime minister has promised.

“That is a blow to the PM, who has pledged to abolish it,” the source said. The factions likely won’t raise a growing scandal over the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bd., he said, “because it is now a national problem. We don’t expect it to be discussed because most members don’t know what is going on. It’s too complicated.”

1MDB, however, is the elephant in the room to the leadership, a disastrously managed fund that has accumulated debts of RM36 billion, apparently because of a calamitous investment in a Saudi Arabian oil venture in which RM7.2 billion appears to have disappeared altogether. Subsequent attempts to cover the failed investment have driven debt through the roof. Mahathir has assailed the government over the operation of 1MDB, as has former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin and several bloggers who are loyal to Mahathir.

A source close to the Mahathir wing described the 1MDB investment as the biggest scandal the country has ever faced, a tall statement given that billions have been lost through disastrous and crooked loans from the state-owned Bank Bumiputera Bhd, the modernization of the Port Klang seaport, attempts to corner the tin market, a failed steel mill and many others.

The bigger issue now is Malay privilege. Ethnic Malays dominate almost all of the top positions in the civil service, the military and the police. Malay-owned companies are given the lion’s share of government contracts. They are given preferential treatment in the number of positions in government universities, receive 7 percent discounts for new houses, have special reserve land in housing settlements and burial plots. A minimum of 30 percent equity must be given to Malays in all listed companies. Mosques and Islamic places of worship are fully funded.  They receive special share allocations for new applications.

Nonetheless, Najib and the coterie surrounding him are under fire from Mahathir and organizations such as PERKASA, a Malay superiority group headed by Ibrahim Ali, once described by a critic as “Mahathir’s Brown Shirts,” for giving away too much to other ethnic groupings, particularly the Chinese. The Chinese continue to dominate the economy.

Dr.MahathirMahathir and his close associate, Daim, lambasted Najib for attempting to reach out to minorities prior to the 2013 general election, in which a three-party coalition headed by Anwar Ibrahim won a vast majority of the Chinese votes. Anwar’s coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, won a majority of all votes in the election but lost parliamentary seats through gerrymandering and the country’s first-past-the-post electoral system.

Political rumor mills are buzzing over indications that Muhyiddin would make a move for the top job, although change is unlikely during the current meeting. But for  months, Muhyiddin, a Johor-based Malay nationalist, had been telling associates and friends that he would like to retire. He is 67 and has said he is tired. He recently went on the haj to Mecca, however, and came back to say he feels rejuvenated.

Last week, he gave a series of interviews to local papers, saying he is afraid the party will lose the next election, which must be held before May 2017, because of continued infighting and corruption.  He singled out UMNO Youth and the women’s division for criticism, which is interesting because both are headed by Najib allies. The youth wing is headed by Khairy Jamaluddin, a close lieutenant of Najib’s, and the women’s division is headed by Shahrizat Abdul Jamil, whom Najib saved from a massive scandal involving the loss of millions of dollars from a national cattle feeding scheme.

Najib and 1MDB

Mahathir, in his blog Che Det, urged the rank and file to criticize party leaders, saying warlords are blocking fresh blood from entering the party ranks and that ethnic Malay voters are losing faith in the party. Implicit in that attack is that Najib has given away too much political and economic power to ethnic Chinese, who make up 22.9 percent of the population against 60.1 percent for ethnic Malays.

PERKASA, which has become quite influential within UMNO, held its own AGM recently to say that if UMNO continues to ”fail Malays,” Malays will teach UMNO a lesson by leaving the party in the next election.

Unfortunately these statements betray ignorance of the fact that Malays are turned off not so much by UMNO’s failure to protect them as by the fact that the party has grown sclerotic and is characterized by rent-seeking and outright corruption on a vast scale, with the party’s leadership enriching themselves while leaving villagers with few benefits except at election time. One of  Muhyiddin’s family, for instance, is rumored to have grown rich enough via government contracts to afford a private executive jet.

Most recently, costs for the construction of a new terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport  is believed to have ballooned from RM1.7 billion to RM4 billion because of contract irregularities.

UMNO cannot use the Sedition Act to stay in power, says Tun Abdullah

November 27, 2014

UMNO cannot use the Sedition Act to stay in power, says Tun Abdullah

–saya mendengar pendapat dan cadangan daripada Timbalan Presiden, Wanita,Pemuda, Puteri, usul-usul daripada bahagian, keresahan suara-suara akar umbi, serta pandangan-pandangan NGO, maka dengan ini saya sebagai Perdana Menteri memutuskan bahawa Akta Hasutan 1948, akan terus dikekalkan.

Malah, akta ini bukan sahaja akan dipertahan, tetapi akan diperkuat dan diperkukuhkan lagi sekurang-kurangnya dalam 2 perkara. Pertamanya, kita akan masukkan peruntukan khas untuk melindungi kesucian agama Islam, bahkan agama-agama lain juga tidak boleh dihina.

Keduanya, kita akan mengenakan tindakan keras ke atas sesiapa yang cuba menghasut supaya Sabah dan Sarawak keluar dari Malaysia. Ertinya lagi, apa-apa jua perkataan, perbuatan mahupun ucapan yang bersifat menghasut serta menghina Islam, Melayu dan Raja-Raja akan kita halang dan kita tentang habis-habisan.”–Najib Tun Razak on the Sedition Act 1948 at the 2014 UMNO General Assembly

Amid UMNO’s jubilant greeting over the retention of the Sedition Act 1948, former Party President and Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi warned that the law should not be abused to help the party stay in power.

abdullah badawi2UMNO needs People’s Support to stay in Power

Writing in his blog soon after his successor Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a U-turn on his promise to repeal the act, Abdullah reminded UMNO members that the party could only stay in power with the people’s support.

“In our enthusiasm to retain the Sedition Act, I remind UMNO members that the act is not to be used to keep UMNO in power. UMNO’s power and strength comes from the people’s support. Remember, if the people no longer support us, there is no law on God’s earth that can save Umno from losing power,” Abdullah said.

The former Prime Minister, however, agreed with the decision to retain the colonial-era law. He also noted the enthusiasm with which UMNO delegates had shown when Najib said the act would remain in his policy speech earlier today.

“I support the decision to retain or amend any laws that protect national harmony, that uphold our constitution, that affirm the social contract forged by our forefathers.And that ensures that the federation of Malaysia is not destroyed by irresponsible people. All this, I support,” he said before stating his caution.

At the UMNO General Assembly, Najib had said the Sedition Act would not only be retained, but strengthened with amendments to protect the sanctity of Islam, curb insults against other religions and to punish anyone who called for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.

Najib said he decided this after considering feedback from UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Wanita UMNO, Pemuda UMNO,Puteri UMNO, the grassroots, as well as non-governmental organisations.

“Hence I, as the Prime Minister, decided that the Sedition Act 1948 will remain,” he said, amid roars of approval from the delegates gathered at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

He said this was UMNO’s wish, adding that he believed their friends in Barisan Nasional (BN) would be with them. Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong, however, issued a nuanced protest in a statement this afternoon, noting public dissatisfaction over the abuse of the act against academics and public intellectuals.

“Gerakan’s fervent hope is that the Sedition Act will eventually be replaced with a comprehensive National Harmony Act. The new framework must include a set of punitive and positive measures to ensure societal stability but at the same time promotes national unity and harmony,” he said.

Noting the “long struggle” of 20 years to repeal the Internal Security Act, Mah said he believed a repeal of the Sedition Act would be done “when all parties are ready and open minded”.

“In line with the growing tide of democratisation, I believe this will eventually happen. In the meantime, I urge the authorities to act without fear and favour and do not abuse the Sedition Act to silence legitimate political dissent.”

Mah noted that the failure to charge PERKASA President Datuk Ibrahim Ali over the call to burn the Malay language Bibles had fuelled perceptions that the act has not been used in a fair and just manner.

Political Will and Drastic Action against Warlordism in UMNO

November 27, 2014

COMMENT: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said what should have been Din Merican lastestsaid a long a time ago. UMNO must change, not in small doses (as Azmi seems to suggest) but drastically if it is to regain the confidence of Malaysian voters, not just the Malays.

I can say with confidence that none of us question UMNO’s mission to defend the special position of the Malays, Islam as the official religion of our country and our system of constitutional monarchy. These matters are embodied in our constitution. At issue is the means of accomplishing its mission and the quality of its leadership.

In recent years, under Najib as Prime Minister we see that Malayness has been taken to extremes and our country is divided along race and religious lines. It has become Us (Malays) Versus Them (The Pendatangs and Kafirs). The Prime Minister has allowed PERKASA and ISMA to dictate the Malay agenda and run amuck with Islam. It is time for him to show that he is Prime Minister for all Malaysians.

While claiming to be a Moderate, he has allowed extremism to fester, necessitating the tabling of a White Paper on ISIS in our Parliament just a few days ago. Even JAKIM and JAIS have been permitted to persecute those who disagree with them on religious matters.

Patronage politics and endemic corruption continue unabated. Helping the Malays has been used to justify national policies when in reality these policies benefit  only cronies and a select few, usually members of the UMNO elite. There is a lot for UMNO to do, if it is to remain relevant.

Now we must hear what our Prime Minister has in mind when he delivers his Amanat Presiden to the UMNO General Assembly. Will he contradict his Deputy Prime Minister who has set a conciliatory tone for UMNO delegates? Embrace Malaysia with its rich diversity and face the challenges of intense globalisation with strong faith in our own people.–Din Merican

Political Will and Drastic Action against Warlordism in UMNO

by Azmi

DPM MalaysiaDeputy Prime Minister sets the Tone for UMNO GA

UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivered a humdinger of a speech on Tuesday night that startled critics because of its “confessional” nature — part plea, part reconciliation, part therapeutic and part self-criticism — as he earnestly examined the party’s prowess of rights and litany of wrongs.

He was unapologetic in defending the rights that UMNO has fought and struggled for, notably, the special Malay position, Islam as the official religion and continued constitutional monarchy, blended within Malaysia’s unique form of political stability and socio-economic equality, buttressed by well-meaning, long-standing affirmative action.

He stood aghast at the lagging Bumiputera disparity in property ownership, income and employment, and, despite a 44-year run, the New Economic Policy designed to level the odds for the Bumiputera lot is still sputtering, unable to fly on cruising speed as idealised.

He was also unapologetic in critically judging the wrongs plaguing UMNO, notably the unfavourable perception of the young against the party and its infamously unruly warlordism, whose depravity for power and wealth threatens the party’s cherished values.

Muhyiddin didn’t air his thoughts in a fit of frustration, although frustration was the heft in his lengthy tome: he offered hardened statistics, rock-solid studies and unassailable research on the maladies afflicting Bumiputeras, not just lamenting on their deprivation, but also their unconscionable inability to get out of the rut.

His list of Bumiputera listlessness was jarring: unemployment is highest among ethnic groups, as high as 70.3 per cent; unfair treatment of Malay graduates vying for private sector jobs despite equal qualifications; lowest paid among the races as much as 20 to 40 per cent less; and, comparatively lowest in property ownership.

Muhyiddin’s dirge is inescapably true yet, there is a simple explanation: to wit, a newly-minted director-general of a statutory body dealing in the arts was recently making his familiarity rounds, inspecting his communications unit, whose key task was meeting and dealing with foreign clients.

When a group of Americans came by seeking details of facilities and services, the communications people unfathomably “disappeared”, leaving nobody to assist the visitors.

When the Director-General investigated the fiasco, what he discovered infuriated and saddened him: the communications people “vanished” for no other reason than none were able to speak fluent English, fearful of embarrassing themselves with their malfunctioning grasp of the international language of doing business.

Ironically, when it comes to business trips to English-speaking countries, everyone in communications is able and willing to travel, never mind their linguistic lethargy.

Yes, unfairness, prejudice and preferential treatment is the dirty cost of doing business in the real world, but even then, many firms desperately wish they could recruit the dream Bumiputera candidate — if only he or she could speak and write decent English, a crucial non-negotiable prerequisite.It is an alarming blotch in the whole Bumiputera debacle that education — education in English, to be precise — has jacked up the statistics of the unemployable.

Why this stubborn resistance to learning English? The education system, for one, which has relegated English to a bottomless pit that only urbanites dare to dive into gladly in their ease of accepting Western culture of books, music, TV and movies, something which the “village” Bumiputera are loath to embrace.

It also does not help that certain politicians and activists campaigned ruthlessly against teaching Maths and Science in English while decrying such “yellow culture” in case it “infected” impressionable youngsters. As Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Muhyiddin holds the magic wand to reverse this English proficiency malaise. He knows what needs to be done.

In reaffirming the spectre of UMNO warlordism, Muhyiddin needs committed help to defang the warlords who, while enriching themselves silly, are also subconsciously killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

UMNO could start small: impose term limits in party elections and in key government posts, just to neutralise the warlords’ dominance while protecting their “dynastic heirlooms”, to be succeeded by only by their kin or crony.

True, it will take a gutsy manoeuvre to outwit these warlords, especially the entrenched ones, but there is a working precedent: the government’s direct 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) to youngsters, circumventing these warlords effectively, denying them power, control and commissions.

The warlords will undoubtedly retaliate with threats and thuggery but that’s chicken feed compared with the long-term damage to the party, if not the nation.

Muhyiddin is right about young prospects not being wrong in perceiving UMNO’s hierarchical peculiarities, having laid out the problem head-on.

All that needs coaxing is for strong political will to adopt the adage that UMNO has to be ruthless in order to be kind in defeating all that is bad in the party. It could be that simple but the reality is something else.

On 2015 Selangor Budget: MB Azmin Ali breaks new ground

November 25, 2014

MB Azmin Ali breaks new ground in Maiden Budget for Selangor

by the Malaysian

Azmin AliIt might not seem much, but Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali broke new ground today when he proposed a RM200,000 allocation each for people-friendly programmes in opposition-held seats in the country’s wealthiest state.

His own Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen will each get RM700,000 for similar activities under the Program Mesra Rakyat as part of the move to improve local representative services to the people.

“I hope the federal government will get a clear message from Penang and Selangor that we respect the role of opposition members in the assemblies. They should reciprocate and respect the roles of MPs at the federal level,” Azmin said after tabling the state’s Budget 2015 proposals today.

Aside from Selangor, Penang provides allocations of RM40,000 to each of its opposition members for small-scale development projects. It really is not the amount that matters. It is the fact that a government realises that even their political foes represent the people and public funds are for all and not just for those who vote in the government.

For too long, Malaysians have been used to seeing a federal government that only allocates funds for its MPs while others get help through a “federal office”.

And public projects using public funds are labelled as a Barisan Nasional (BN) project – considering the fact that it is the only government known to most Malaysians throughout their lives since Merdeka.

What does it say then that in the past two elections, more Malaysians reject the BN candidate in favour of a PR candidate despite the plethora of BN projects from roads to hospitals to schools and other infrastructure.

What does it say then that it BN appears to punish those who vote in their foes while politicians such as Azmin and Lim Guan Eng have taken the high road and provide some funds for their respective state’s opposition BN lawmakers?

New politics? Populism? Or really, a government that realises the people should not suffer for the choice they have made. That the electorate will evaluate politicians by how sincere they are through the years rather than just during election campaigns.

What Azmin is doing for his Budget 2015 proposals for Selangor – be it a car for the state opposition leader and the proposed allocations for all lawmakers – is a step that must be praised.

The election campaign is over and he has whatever remains of PR’s mandate to run the state and provide for the people of Selangor, no matter whether they are PR or BN supporters.

Because, his government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people of Selangor. And all the funds he allocates are public funds, and not his government’s money.

Putrajaya can learn something from Azmin Ali and Lim Guan Eng, that it takes more than just slapping a label on a project to remind people which government is doing the job or that they should be grateful for the project. Fact is, it is the government that should be grateful it is elected to run a state or a country, and not the people.

Kudos to Azmin, for showing that politics is not a zero sum game and that rakyat’s interest always comes first. – November 24, 2014.

President Jokowi Gets on with His Job

November 24, 2014

President Jokowi Gets on with His Job: No Talk, Just Action


by Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff bin Mohd Kassim

Jokowi has barely stepped into office as the new President of Indonesia and he is already making waves.

He is coming into world prominence not by grabbing the microphone to makeGovernor of Jakarta thunderous speeches about race and religion or picking on the ethnic Chinese businessmen, foreigners and  western imperialists  as scapegoats for his country’s endemic corruption, inefficiencies and economic backwardness. Instead, he is getting admiration at home and abroad  by simply doing what his people expect from him –just be his humble self  and get on with the job he was elected for.

His bold move to cut down on  subsidies and make the people pay more for fuel  will not endear him to millions of  poor Indonesians but it is precisely the kind of action that is needed to show he means business in his promise to strengthen the economy and find the money to build roads, schools and hospitals for the masses. It is also a warning sign that he is not afraid to take the unpopular measures to stop the wastages and  abuses that have plagued this resource rich country for decades . A few years down the road, when the man on the street sees signs of progress all around him, he will thank his President for being  politically honest in doing what needs to be done.

The Muslim world can also look up to him to lead in the path of moderation and pragmatism.His brave statements condemning Islamic terrorism and extremism during the election campaign shows  that he is one who is unafraid to speak his mind for fear of losing  votes. Nor was he deterred when Islamic groups tried to stop him from appointing an ethnic Chinese to be Governor of Jakarta (above right). The silent majority will be cheering him for standing up to the racists and religious bigots and simply doing what is right.

I will not be surprised that in the near future, he will act on the blasphemy laws , which Amnesty International  has higlighted for the several cases of injustice inflicted on  non-Sunni religious minorities. Being a former businessman himself, Jokowi knows that Indonesia cannot let religious extremism and unfair Islamic  laws to fester because it will have a negative impact on the country’s investment climate. Without large doses of local and foreign investment, Indonesia cannot progress at the rate Jokowi has in mind.

Jokowi Widodo

Jokowi and his wife travelled to Singapore recently on economy class ticket to attend his son’s graduation from the Anglo-Chinese International University . By this simple act of self-discipline in not abusing his position to use his presidential plane for a private visit, he has sent volumes of signal to his countrymen that he is going  to be an honest and clean president. Cynics may dismiss this simple act of humility  as political showmanship but , to the ordinary millions of poor people who still remember the luxurious grandeur of their past presidents and their first ladies , they thank God that Indonesia is now changing for the better.

All the best to Indonesian President Jokowi as he leads the country with the largest Muslim population in the world towards economic progress and social stability and by so doing, make himself as an example for other Muslim leaders  to follow.

Horrendous Devastation of Cameron Highlands due to Plainly Ugly Greed

November 23, 2014

Horrendous Devastation of Cameron Highlands due to Plainly Ugly Greed

by Tunku A

Sultan of PahangIF a picture, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words, then the New Straits Times’ startlingly brutal depiction of the horrendous devastation of Cameron Highlands merits at least ten thousand drops of tears of anger, frustration and despair because those entrusted to protect our precious natural heritage have betrayed our trust.

 The wanton destruction of the environment and the disregard for human life all bear the hallmarks of human greed; we were jolted out of our complacency and forced to see corruption in all its ugliness.

No longer do we think that corruption is none of our business; no longer do we dare say, “Why all the fuss when only two parties are involved, the giver and the taker?” And no longer will we be able to dismiss the fact that there are victims whenever corruption rears its head.

The Cameron Highlands tragedy, both in human and environmental terms, has turned corruption on its head. The pristine hill station of the 1960s and 1970s is now a distant memory. My annual Christmas break was usually spent with my family in Cameron Highlands, with its promise of bracing mountain air and country walks in quiet, salubrious surroundings. This yearly ritual, sadly, started to lose its appeal with uncontrolled development that rapidly changed the character of the place.

Overnight, Cameron Highlands, the country’s premier Little England that once had trout in its mountain streams and rose bushes in every garden, took on an ominously grotesque aspect. It was transformed into a noisy, gaudy and boisterous bazaar that could give Petaling Street a good run for its money. I have not been back there for more than thirty years, preferring to treasure in the deep recesses of my memory the Cameron Highlands that I once knew and loved.

The recent tragedy has, as expected, produced a slew of responses, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. In my long and eventful existence, I have heard a few ideas that are clearly beyond the pale, but nothing has quite prepared me for the proposal, that I suppose, could only have been conceived in the cluttered mind of a politician: to plant a million trees over a three-year period as part of a programme to rehabilitate Cameron Highlands that many believe to have been damaged beyond redemption.

I say with all due deference to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri G.palanivel Palanivel, that we are not talking about transplanting hair on a vain politician’s head — a painful enough process as some who have resorted to this treatment will tell you.

A million trees? The mind boggles at the very idea. Audacious and out of the box, yes. But is it doable and at what cost? All this leads me to ask why, with all the empirical evidence staring them in the face, didn’t our enforcement officers do what they were employed to do — enforce the law, plain and simple?

There were quietly whispered hints of “interference from above”, which puzzles me quite a bit because the “Yellow Letters”, according to the sultan of Pahang himself, did not come from the palace because, for one thing, they were not written on the official palace note paper and did not bear his signature. Who is it then that enforcement officers were pointing the finger at?

Whoever the exalted personage might be, he must be exposed because it is vitally important to show our people that there is one law for all. The Sultan’s standing and reputation, no less, must be protected and not to be trifled with.

The drama that unfolded on the slippery slopes and the silted valleys of Cameron Highlands has brought us face to face with the debilitating effects of corruption on society.

The reality on the ground is not a pretty sight. It is corruption writ large: if that does not turn our stomachs, then I suggest we deserve more of the same. The time for whinging is over. It is about time we took ownership of the fight against corruption and its attendant problems. I do not think it would be wise to leave such an important matter as fighting corruption especially to politicians. There is no need for elaboration.

Pahang, of course, is not alone of the Malaysian states that can claim a long history of illegal logging and land clearing. Stories, both anecdotal and factual, of corruption in forestry and land offices up and down the country are legion. Sabah and Sarawak occupy top spots in the forestry corruption league table. But, that is a story for another time. It is refreshing to hear the new chief minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, warning illegal loggers that stern action would be taken against them and that he would not tolerate corruption in his administration. I am not, in a manner of speaking, about to put the champagne on ice, and neither am I holding my breath. I do not know of any head of government anywhere in the world singing his heart out in praise of corruption. All politicians would have us believe that they are part of the solution. I should like to see the colour of their money first.

Returning to Pahang, I wonder why enforcement agencies who are paid to prevent these breaches of the law have allowed the situation to get so wildly out of control? The short answer, on the evidence that has long been in the public domain, is that the State of Pahang has been ‘captured’ by influential, almost always, titled crooks with loads of money, howsoever acquired, to seduce greedy and corrupt public officers. If they had only carried out their duties honesty, a great deal of the damage could have been prevented, and the good minister of one million trees would have saved himself a few blushes, and the treasury a lot of money.

 Royal Commission should be set up now to inquire into the state of corruption in the country as a whole. It is in the country’s interest to gauge accurately the true reading of the nation’s corruption barometer, so that we would not be wasting time and money treating symptoms because we have no clear idea of the root causes of corruption in national life.