March 12, 2016
MY COMMENT–Din Merican: Minister Paul Low was once a respected head of Transparency International-Malaysian Chapter and a successful business man and as I remember, he was a very active Council Member of The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, before he was lured by Prime Minister Najib Razak to join his team of lacklustre 1Malaysia ministers in 2003 to spearhead reform efforts with regard to governance and integrity issues.
A man of such boundless energy and credentials cannot be “sleeping on the Job”. The Minister is right. Eureka, I think he has just not been “doing his Job”. He has been free riding, earning his salary and perks at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers. I remember asking him to resign from his job a few years ago to save his face. In stead, he continues to give us the runaround. He has lost his credibility and dignity.
A Malaysiakini reader, SusahKes, aptly sums it up as follows:
Minister, you are part of the cosmetic scheme that was put in place by the current administration; Botox to hide the ugliness caused by long-term effects of practically unhindered corruption. But just as when a bad plastic surgery fails and ends up revealing the true condition of its recipient, all the ornaments and beauty products that the administration has put in place has failed to mask its true nature. Sorry pal, but you were never designed to succeed in the first place.
Minister Paul Low, it’s mighty early for this year’s April Fool’s joke; unless or course you’re aiming for an advance submission.
Integrity Minister: I’m not sleeping on the job
Koh Jun Lin
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low has lamented that his efforts to combat corruption have gone unnoticed by the public.
He said this during his keynote speech at the annual National Procurement and Integrity Forum for Public and Private Sectors in Kuala Lumpur today, where he listed his efforts and achievements since he was appointed to his post in 2013.
“That is my report of my progress and my job. Whether you consider it as adequate or not adequate, definitely I am not sleeping.
“Our problem is, how do I communicate what I am doing to the public? To you professionals, it is okay,” he said at the forum organised by the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance.
Nevertheless, the minister in charge of promoting integrity and transparency in the government, expressed confidence that the people would eventually find themselves feeling that things have indeed changed for the better.
In his speech, Low described himself as being akin to an ‘independent director’ for all ministries in the government.Previously, he said, internal audits were submitted to a ministry’s Secretary-General and Minister.
However, this has been changed such that internal audit reports are now submitted directly to the Auditor-General or himself.
This gives the internal audits a greater degree of independence.
As for the auditor-general’s report, a townhall meeting is being held following each release of the report where the secretaries-general of various ministries are put under the spotlight and field questions about their ministry’s performance.
In addition, Low said, integrity units have been set up in many parts of the government.Among others, its officers oversee the procurement process and ensure that corrective actions highlighted in the auditor-general’s reports are implemented.
The integrity officers are also empowered to approch the ministers directly, without the presence of a Secretary-General, he said.
Mega-projects such as the MRT are deemed to be of high risk to graft, and gets their own integrity unit as well.This is comprised of three members – one each from the Integrity and Governance Division, the Auditor-General’s Office, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
In another step away from the previous norm, Low said these units are to monitor the projects constantly, instead of conducting the audit only after the project is completed.
When asked by reporters after his speech, Low said Malaysia’s drop in the 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was merely ‘a blip’ because it was a ‘special year’.He expressed hope Malaysia’s scores on the index will improve from next year onwards.
“Wars are not won by a single battle. Some battles we win; some battles we lose, but generally the trend is that we move towards better governance.
“Some of the things I mentioned in my speech… These are some of the changes and I’m sure perception will change when some of the effects are felt by the citizens and felt by the businesses,” he said.