MACC may try to expunge ex-cop’s evidence in Rosli Dahlan’s case


May 26, 2015

Phnom Penh

MACC may try to expunge ex-cop’s evidence in Rosli Dahlan’s case

 by Ho Kit Yen@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Cecil AbrahamThe civil action commenced by prominent lawyer Rosli Dahlan against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), formerly known as the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), is expected to take a new dramatic twist when the next witness, former Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) Chief Ramli Yusoff takes the stand.

Last Friday, counsel for MACC Cecil Abraham notified the court of his intention to seek that Ramli’s Witness Statement be expunged from the Court record. Lawyers say that such a move is highly unusual and the Court will usually reserve its power to expunge matters considered scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or which are otherwise an abuse of process.

It remains to be seen which parts of Ramli’s Witness Statement are said to be liable to be expunged and MACC’s basis for doing so.

Speculation is that MACC may want to prevent certain details in the case from becoming matters of public record. Meanwhile, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard on Monday the evidence of lawyer Harvinderjit Singh who told the High Court that the ACA had denied him access to his then client Rosli when the latter was arrested in October 2007.

“I went to ACA’s headquarters in Putrajaya between 4pm and 5pm as I was instructed by the partners from Rosli’s firm to find out two things, which were whether I could meet him, and when Rosli would be released from questioning,” he said during examination-in-chief by Rosli’s lawyer, Chetan Jethwani.

He said an ACA officer by the name of Sok One Ehsan, who was at the information desk, told rosli-dahlan1him that the senior lawyer was being questioned at the time.“I could not meet Rosli at that time,” he added.

Harvinderjit said he then later met deputy public prosecutor Kevin Anthony Morais at the office and sought answers from him as to when Rosli would be released.“I stopped him when I saw him at the lobby. Kevin told me that he will be released later at night,” he said, adding that Kevin also said to Harvinderjit that there was no need for the lawyer to be there.“However, Rosli was not released that night,” he said.

Rosli’s wife, Misni Aryani Muhamad, also testified, saying that she had brought food and clothes to the lockup for him to break fast and pray while under detention.

“I received a call from an officer after some time of waiting at the office,” she testified. “Rosli was on the phone.We only spoke briefly. After that, an officer came and took the food from me,” she said.

Misni said she later found out that Rosli did not get the food which she had brought him. Instead, he was given ‘stall food’ by ACA officers and suffered a stomach ache as a result.

She added she was told by two lawyers after midnight that her husband would not be released that night and that he would not be allowed to meet his lawyers either. “They said that Rosli would be charged in court (the next) morning,” she said.

Misni said upon learning that he was about to be charged, she broke down and cried. “When we reached home that night, I sought solace in prayers,” she testified.“I cried some more as I began to accept the fact that my husband was going to be charged,” she said.

The case is being heard before Justice Su Geok Yam.

Looking Back: Anti-Muslim monk stokes Burmese religious tensions


May 20, 2015

Looking Back: Anti-Muslim monk stokes Burmese religious tensions

By Jonah Fisher

This week (in August 2013), religious violence has once again flared in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Hundreds of Muslim homes have been burnt to the ground in Sagaing region after being attacked by Buddhist mobs.

In just over a year, more than 200 people, mostly Muslims, have been killed and many more displaced as unrest has spread from Rakhine state in the west to towns across the country. Many are blaming a controversial monk and the nationalist organisation he helps lead for the rising tensions.

wirathuMonk Shin Wirathu at work.

This morning, he is lecturing on the importance of avoiding sexual misconduct.”Yes, venerable monk,” the young men chant in unison, as Wirathu softly delivers his advice on the need to avoid temptation.

When the class is over, he shows me outside. On the wall of the monastery courtyard are graphic posters of the Buddhist victims of recent religious and ethnic violence in Rakhine state in western Myanmar.

They are unpleasant viewing. The pictures from October last year show dead children with their heads cut open and the bodies of women with their internal organs spilling out of their torsos. Wirathu said he put them up as a reminder to Buddhists that the country is under attack from Muslim “invaders”.

“Muslims are only well behaved when they are weak, ” he said. “When they become strong, they are like a wolf or a jackal; in large packs they hunt down other animals.”Wirathu believes there is a Muslim “master plan” underway to turn Myanmar into an Islamic state.

If he is right, it is a long-term project. Latest estimates suggest that of Myanmar’s 60 million people, 90% are Buddhist and about 5% Muslim.

“Over the past 50 years, we have shopped at Muslim shops and then they became richer and wealthier than us and can buy and marry our girls,” Wirathu said. “In this way, they have destroyed and penetrated not only our nation but also our religion.”

Master Plan

_69534222_joonmosque

Wirathu’s solution lies in a controversial nationalist organisation called 969. It calls on Buddhists to shop, sell property and marry within their own religion.Small, brightly-coloured stickers have been distributed to clearly brand businesses as Buddhist-owned.

Supporters of 969 argue it is a purely defensive organisation, created to protect Buddhist culture and identity. Listening to the rhetoric of Wirathu and 969’s leaders, there is no doubt it is squarely aimed at Muslims.

“In the past, there was no discrimination based on religion and race. We all stayed together in a brotherly way,” Wirathu said. “But when their [Muslim] master plan has been revealed we can no longer stay quiet.”

From Rakhine state in the west, to more central towns like Meiktila and Okkan, the link is being made between heightened religious tensions and the preaching and activities of monks and 969.

The outbreaks of violence usually have a depressing symmetry. A small flashpoint, often a crime or perceived insult, perpetrated by a Muslim against a Buddhist, triggers a disproportionate wave of reprisals against the entire Muslim community.

Ten years ago, under the military junta, Wirathu was jailed for his anti-Muslim views. Now in these times of change, his message is widely disseminated through social media and DVDs. Far from being condemned, Wirathu now has backing from the very top.

In June, as his infamy reached its peak, Wirathu appeared on the front cover of Time magazine labelled “The face of Buddhist terror”. Burmese monks were outraged and Myanmar’s President Thein Sein quickly leapt to Wirathu’s defence. The Time issue was banned and a statement released with the President lauding Wirathu as a “son of Lord Buddha”.

‘Obstacle to reform’

_69534220_smarnyinyiSmar Nyi Nyi 

There is no shortage of theories inside Myanmar as to why Wirathu is now flavour of the month. One theory is that continuing ethnic and religious violence could be used by the military as a pretext for maintaining a dominant role in Burmese politics. It is certainly an argument Myanmar’s generals have made before.

kaylarsa

“We are also wondering about this,” Kaylar Sa (above), a monk jailed for his part in the Saffron revolution of 2007, told me as he chain-smoked his way through a pack of Red Ruby cigarettes. He pointed out that the government has acted decisively and violently to end monk-led demonstrations against an army-backed copper mine last year, and yet now was unwilling to tackle them over hate speech.

“At the moment, we firmly believe that the 969 movement is unnecessary,” he said. “If this movement continues to be taken seriously, it could become an obstacle to democratic reform.”

A short drive from Wirathu’s monastery, Muslim volunteers guard Joon Mosque, the biggest in Mandalay, each night. The men told me that in the event of a Buddhist attack, they expect no protection from the (Buddhist-dominated) police or the army.

Smar Nyi Nyi, a veteran of the 1988 student uprising and one of the elders at the mosque, took me to one side. He expressed views that many Burmese share, that shadowy elements within the establishment are stoking the unrest.

“Everybody is talking about the violence between Buddhists and Muslims,” he said. “Nobody is interested in the dam on the Irrawaddy River. No one is interested in the gas pipeline. If somebody is controlling things, he is a smart man!”

Some Muslims cling to the hope that there exists a silent majority of moderate Buddhists appalled by recent events, secretly rooting for them.

“Most of the Buddhists, they are just onlookers ” a retired Muslim doctor tells me with a shrug. “A few might pass a heartfelt regard and say they’re sorry, but that doesn’t come above the surface.”

For Wirathu, each fresh outbreak of religious conflict reinforces his view that Myanmar is part of a global war on militant Islam and that he is being badly misunderstood.

“We don’t use drones – we haven’t killed [Osama] Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or the Taliban,” he told me.”We are just preaching and posting on the internet and Facebook for the safety and security of our nation. If we are all protecting our own nation who’s the bad guy – Wirathu or Barack Obama?”

Don’t turn our backs on Refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh


May 19, 2015

Refugees from Myanmar

Malaysia is not turning  its back on refugees. It has been giving humanitarian assistance.This problem of human trafficking  and racial discrimination has a beginning somewhere, usually in their home countries. Both Myanmar and Bangladesh have a responsibility to ensure that they take care of their own people and not burden their neighbours with their domestic problems. This is their primary duty that cannot be imposed on Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. It should not even be a matter for negotiation.

It is time both these countries own up to their own failures to care and protect their own people by providing education, health care and jobs. For all my criticisms of Malaysia’s political leadership on many issues, I can say with pride that our government  and people are compassionate and helpful to displaced peoples since the days of the Vietnam War. But we cannot be burdened by this. It has become a regional and international one. ASEAN and the international community must act. Pressure must be brought to bear on both Myanmar and Bangladesh..–Din Merican

Don’t turn our backs on Refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh

by Azrul Mohd Khalib

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s,
When mercy seasons justice…
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, Act 4 scene 1
Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 – 1616)

The news that Malaysia had turned away two leaky boats packed to the nearest inch with hundreds of starving and malnourished Myanmar and Bangladeshi men, women and children was met with much dismay and horror by not only the international community, but also Malaysians.

These are refugees and migrants who have fled ethnic persecution and poverty only to be exploited and trafficked by people who viewed their human cargo as little more than a liability and nuisance that needed to be abandoned when things got too hot. They had no qualms leaving pregnant women, children and infants to suffer and die on those fishing boats stranded and adrift for months at sea.

Many are sick, weakened by hunger and thirst as a result of their ordeal. The bodies of those who died on these boats were tossed overboard.

Rather than show leadership in helping to tackle this humanitarian problem in a humane and compassionate way, our government decided to go the Australian way of dealing with the boat people: turn them around, point the boats in the opposite direction and make it someone else’s problem.

There are malnourished, sick, pregnant and dying adults and children on those boats. Where is our compassion for our fellow human beings?

One of those boats barely made it to Indonesian shores before sinking. More than 700 people were saved by fishermen. If that boat had sunk with all lives lost and knowing that we had a chance to save them, whose conscience would that be on?

The Malaysian government, as the proud chair of this year’s “people centred” Asean, has done us all a disservice by responding to this humanitarian crisis in a way that is callous, inhumane and lacking in compassion and humanity. Turning back the boats and treating it as somebody else’s problem makes a mockery of the “people centred” theme and caring society that we often thump our chests about.

The response by a minister that the boats should instead go to Cambodia or Philippines shows either his inability to read a map or the lack of understanding and appreciation for the desperate humanitarian situation.This “ping-pong” game with human lives is a travesty, inhumane and it must stop.

Why can’t ASEAN be known for once for being able to mobilise effective regional humanitarian action and cooperation? As chair, Malaysia should lead the way.We are better than this.

From the outcry and anger heard from thousands of Malaysians who have expressed their disapproval and anguish at the government’s actions that have exacerbated a humanitarian emergency, we know it was the wrong move to make.

True, nobody likes unwelcomed guests who could become considered a burden to resources. But no one wants to flee their own country, leave everything behind and be exiles away from home and loved ones. They did not come for fun, or by choice. They escaped persecution, extreme poverty and death in their own country. They come from different cultures and languages. They risked their lives to get here seeking sanctuary and protection. Are our hearts so small that we turn them away?

We are taught that we should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”It is not too late to save hundreds of lives.Rohinyga and Bangladeshi refugees are transported to a navy boat where they will be taken to mainland Malaysia, after they landed at Pantai Pasir Berdengung beach in Langkawi May 14, 2015. — Reuters pic

Rohinyga and Bangladeshi refugees are transported to a navy boat where they will be taken to mainland Malaysia, after they landed at Pantai Pasir Berdengung beach in Langkawi May 14, 2015. — Reuters pic

Last week, thousands of desperate people landed in Langkawi in rickety boats. The police and immigration authorities are overwhelmed. Non-governmental organisations such as the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (MAPIM) are mobilising to provide food, water as well as medical attention. It’s a colossal task. Please donate supplies as they are in constant need and they are fast running out.

A number of initiatives are being set up to help those at sea. Due to the logistical challenges, these are being worked out carefully and will be announced soon by their respective organisers.

Hundreds of Malaysians have come forward offering their services, donations of money and in kind to help those who have already landed and those still at sea. Just as it was during the floods late last year, these are Malaysians at their best and it shows what good we are capable of doing.

Come on Malaysia! We can do this. Let’s find it in our hearts and reach out to them with compassion as fellow human beings and prevent a humanitarian disaster on our watch.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/azrul-mohd-khalib/article/dont-turn-our-backs-on-them#sthash.I9Ma32QO.dpuf

Music and Songs by The Mekong


May 15, 2015

Phnom Penh

Music and Songs by The Mekong: Dean Martin Sings Italian

The weekend is upon us again. I have pleasure in  presenting my favorite crooner for the week, Dean Martin.  For your entertainment, he sings Italian hits, starting with his famous Buona Sera which I dedicate to a friend, Jovany Antonio, General Manager of Silvertown Cambodia.

I met Jovany, whose parents who were from Al Salvador emigrated to the United States where he was born, at the AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce) networking function last Tuesday and got into a conversation about jazz and popular music. Dean Martin became one of the topics of our conversation and I told him that I have a blog where I post  songs for the weekend when the mood for music was right. I said I will play a Dean Martin number for him. So I am honouring my promise to him.

Kamsiah and DinLet us forget the depressing politics in Malaysia and enjoy Dean’s songs and go Italian for a change. I hope my wife, Dr. Kamsiah who is now attending a Dental Symposium in Macau will have some spare time to be entertained by Dean Martin, the man with a golden voice. –Din Merican

Minister Paul Low is Najib’s highly paid crony


May 13, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

It is very naive of all of us to expect Minister Paul Low, a former President, Transparency International -Malaysian Chapter and prominent businessman to uphold the principles of good governance which he once championed when he was at Transparency International. As the saying goes, suckers are born everyday. We are all suckers today, and that includes yours truly here in Phnom Penh.

Like my good friend and former colleague at Bank Negara Malaysia and Sime Darby, Tunku Abdul  Aziz, and Pemandu chief, Senator Idris Jala of the infamous Transformation Blues Spin, Minister Low has soiled his reputation. I guess,the temptation to be an apologist for the corrupt Najib Administration is too hard to resist. Credit, therefore, must go to our Prime Minister for being able to co-opt people who he can use to pillage our country. Najib is good as this sort of thing,but not at leading and governing our country.

Najib the Bugus WarriorIt is men like Low, Aziz and Jala and others in our civil service, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney-General Office, the Auditor-General’s Office and the Police Force who are ensuring that Najib Razak remains in  office despite persistent  calls for his resignation from civil society activists and a growing number of Malaysians at home and abroad. Together with UMNO leaders who are afraid to criticise the Prime Minister’s policies and actions for fear of losing their business contracts and other  perks, they have collectively let the nation down. Personal interest overrides considerations of public duty, justice and integrity and the future of our nation..As a result, Prime Minister Najib to do as he pleases with our national coffers.

May 13 1969 riotsToday is May 13. It was the day in 1969 which shook the foundations of our nation and caused Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak to initiate policies and programmes to eradicate poverty and restructure our economy to eliminate the identification of race with economic function. The New Economic Policy was to promote national unity through economic growth with distributional equity. After decades of the NEP, we remain disunited as ever.We divided according to class and status and political affiliation.

The politics of race and religion is being pursued by our politicians, while economic justice remains a distant dream. Income disparity between the rich and the privileged and the oppressed middle middle class and the poor has become very glaring.

While we remember today those who lost their lives in the 1969 riots, we must remember its lessons and vow never to allow self serving politicians to split us asunder again. Let us also be aware that the seeds of discord remains embedded in our body politic.If we allow our differences to be exploited by irresponsible politicians for their personal gains, the future of our wonderful country will be bleak.–Din Merican

Minister Paul Low is Najib’s highly paid crony

by Shane Feuntes@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Paul-LowThe people expected more from Paul Low because of his formerly reputable track record as an activist against corruption. “We expected more because he doesn’t belong to any political party and doesn’t have to compromise his principles,” said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

Instead, he added, the people were sorely disappointed because Low has not only failed to carry out his duties without fear or favour; he has become an apologist for the Najib administration despite the sheer scale of grand larceny in 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). “Malaysians are disgusted that Low has succumbed to the perks and privileges of his ministerial office.”

Pua, who is also DAP National Publicity Secretary, pointed out that Low as the Transparency and Accountability Minister did absolutely zero to check the abuse, embezzlement and pillage of the RM42 billion indebted 1MDB, and “yet he has the cheek to tell the people to wait patiently for the Auditor-General’s Report.”

Low, he recalled, was the President of the Malaysian chapter of Transparency International (TI-M) when he was recruited by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak after the 13th General Election to exercise oversight on “transparency and accountability”.

Despite the severity of the scandal, the seriousness of the crime and the utter failure of checks and balances in the 1MDB excesses which have resulted in massive loss of public funds, he reiterated that the so-called “Transparency and Accountability” Minister has done absolutely zero to ensure transparency in the company’s transactions and accountability from the ministers, directors and management in 1MDB.

He was commenting on Low telling the people via Bernama on Tuesday, “not to prejudge” and “wait for the audit report” by the Auditor-General (A-G). “Even so, the A-G was only instructed to review the financial accounts of 1MDB in March this year.”

He has two questions:

Why did Low ignore every single criticism and every warning bell sounded by the Opposition, the media, and other critics, in and out of Parliament, for the last two years about the impending 1MDB disaster? Was Low sleeping for the last two years?

Pua conceded that the other ministers were equally culpable by failing to pull the handbrakes on the escalating crisis, but Low was undoubtedly the single biggest disappointment and failure.

“We can understand UMNO ministers blindly cowing to the wishes of their all-powerful president for that is in their political DNA,” said Pua. “We can’t possibly imagine the MCA ministers to even decipher, understand and figure out the 1MDB financial fiasco, much less expect them to ask intelligent questions during the Cabinet meetings.”

He reminded that the people were shocked speechless with the brazen and blatant embezzlement in 1MDB where billions of ringgit was embezzled from the state-owned firm by the now infamous Jho Low.

As a result, he stressed, 1MDB was now laden with more than RM42 billion of debt which it was unable to repay and was desperately shedding assets to raise short-term capital to service its debts.

This year alone, continued Pua, 1MDB had to beg private investors arranged by local billionaire, Ananda Krishnan, to provide a short-term loan to repay an overdue RM2 billion in loans from Maybank and RHB Bank in February. “The government was forced to proved an emergency “standby facility” of RM950 million which was immediately drawn down by 1MDB.”

Now, he added, the people were up in arms because local financial institutions managing public funds, Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) and Kumpulan Wang Amanah Persaraan (KWAP), had purchased land from 1MDB at prices up to 43 times what 1MDB paid to acquire them from the Government.

“1MDB was even desperate enough to dispose of its lucrative concession to build a 2,000MW power plant to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) before even a single brick is laid,” said Pua. “The project was won last February via a controversial tender exercise.”

Government by Kleptocrats remains without Najib, thanks to Tun Dr.Mahathir


May 10, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

Government by Kleptocrats remains without Najib, thanks to Tun Dr.Mahathir

by Ishmael Lim@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Najib Vs MahathirThe Mentor and His Mentee (Najib)

The PM’s successor will inherit a worn-out broom that will not sweep clean, thanks to a system tailored by Mahathir.

Before the formal borders existed, and before common folk were given the right to choose their leaders, people voted with their feet. If they couldn’t cope with living under a certain regime, they would pack their belongings, sling the pack onto a pole over their shoulders, and off they went. If they wanted their family safe, they would keep moving till they got lucky and found a place where the ruler was benevolent and the people kind. If they wished for a regime change, they had to wait till the ruler died or is removed by war.

With guarded borders, passports and visas, it’s not easy to move across borders anymore. If moving is not an option, then we find ways to make things better. Unlike voting for a political party, we get no choices about our gender, race, where we are born, and the family we are born into. But we do have some control over the rest of our lives.

People can get carried away discussing politics. This supposes that we all want better control over what happens to us and our families. Personalities, issues, policies and parties in that approximate order are the common chat stuff at tea stalls apart from the dhal and roti. The aspect of “leadership” as a commodity has little meaning. So it hardly crops up. People simply expect leadership from a leader.

1MalaysiaWe seem richly endowed with leaders. But not even one from among the current crop of eligible leaders in the traditional sense is solid enough to fill the top job of Prime Minister. That is what Malaysia has become, all quantity but bereft of quality, and too many leaders lacking talent and skills. Talent as a resource is spread so thinly because we made a strategic choice to emphasise quantity over quality two decades ago, at the height of the Mahathir era.

Having already voted, we are expected to put up with the people we put into power. We have no more part to play in deciding whether Prime Minister Najib stays or goes. Our approval or disapproval can still be voiced, but that would be the limit to our role until we vote again three years away. That is still better than voting with our feet to a distant land as refugees.

We have the system to blame for this. Our democracy, which gives us choice over who rules, only decides the party that takes power and not who becomes Prime Minister.

Haven’t we always lived with and tolerated our leaders in the past and suffered in silence? Apparently, times have changed. Malaysians have found new ways for democracy to deliver their wish beyond the five yearly elections. The mid-term switch is tricky as we are not due for the next change until 2018. All the previous mid-term replacements have been due to resignations or death.

Unhappiness with Najib

The unhappiness with PM Najib has been getting deeper. What began as muted disapproval of Najib’s management by UMNO veterans has now found focus and decibels in the figure of Tun Dr. Mahathir. The retired doctor’s entry into the fray has had a huge effect on ordinary folk. His veteran stature lends force and credibility to the message that Najib’s management of the nation is no longer tenable.

Cut from the same cloth

To recap read this: https://dinmerican.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/open-letter-to-tun-dr-mahathir-bin-mohamad/

Unfortunately, it underscores a genetic level defect which was built into the system. It only allows the replacement for the post of PM to come from the same pool of UMNO sycophants that created and supported the mess. The old mistakes threaten to recur when the successor is cut from the same cloth as Najib.

Mahathir the tinkerer and tailor of this system won’t be around much longer to cushion every crash landing. The system he leaves behind doesn’t always fit the right peg into the right hole. We find ourselves in a crisis because the current crop of UMNO leaders, who might by the conventions of succession qualify to replace PM Najib, don’t show much promise of being any better. They have been system in-bred to look to needs of the party and their own jobs before that of the nation. The insincerity of their actions speaks louder than any of their lofty speeches when they defend the absurd with the usual half-truths that defy logic.

Draconian Laws to preserve status quo and silence dissent

Decades under UMNO has given us draconian laws which serve only to maintain the status quo so that skimming can continue. The minds of the rakyat are numb to laws such as the Official Secrets Act being used to conceal over-priced contracts for all manner of requisitions and projects. These have been adding to the debt burden of the nation for too long.

Control of the Media and Gatekeeper Civil Servants

Generations after Merdeka, the minds of the people remain pitifully narrow and closed. The control of mainstream media ensures the propaganda that passes for news remains standard fare in government offices, buildings and schools. This imperious influence turns government agencies partisan. The co-opting of civil servants creates barriers to change, as civil servants are ingrained to cover for department heads, extending to the top. Key positions are held by party faithfuls who see themselves as gatekeepers. So the sweeping of dirt under carpets and the hiding of dirty linen become the dutiful acts of a patriot.

It may be just the heads of departments sticking out their necks, but they have at times proven to be very able extensions of the ruling party.

Overblown Government with Old Mindset steeped in Corruption

dayak-headhunter

The government has grown too big and complex to handle with an old mindset. The inefficiencies and incessant cover-ups are cultures difficult to eradicate. But by having poor leadership at the very top showing a clear lack of will to effect the change “by example” makes it a challenge impossible to surmount. The successor to the current PM will inherit a worn-out broom that will not sweep clean.

The quaint words, “trust us, we only mean the best” is meaningless in the light of all the U-turns seen recently. Trust isn’t even essential if review mechanisms for an accountable administration were diligently followed. For the moment, the lip service to good governance is the best by far. But it is hopeless irony and hypocrisy that the touted “Government Transformation Programme” has achieved so little at such a huge expense. The civil service , particularly at the PM’s Department and the Ministry of Finance, are more opaque and unaccountable than ever.

No one in-line for succession would really risk real transformation or too many skeletons may turn up and the status quo would be lost.

In the theoretical scenario that the opposition gains control of the Federal Government, the metaphor that springs to mind is that of an old vending machine that dispenses snacks and refreshments. Even if the new plastic notes and brassy coins have been legal tender for a while, this machine will leave you thirsty and hungry because it only takes old notes and coins. It recognises no other currency until it has been updated and modified.