Archive for the ‘governance’ Category

AAB’s 83 overseas trips in 44 months as PM

June 28, 2007
Yes, the PM should stay back to fight corruption, instead of spending too much time overseas. He aslo fails to bring investments back to Malaysia.

PM takes ‘too many’ overseas trips
Bede Hong
Jun 28, 07 4:55pm
Malaysiakini
Opposition Leader Lim Kt Siang has criticised Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for making over 80 official visit overseas since coming to office, saying the premier’s time should have been better spent fight corruption back home.Lim said Abdullah should spend more time in the country to ensure his trips abroad “do not result in the neglect of his duties” as prime minister, internal security minister and finance minister.In a written reply to Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah), the Foreign Ministry reported that the premier went on 83 official and work-related visits overseas over a period of three years and eight months.

Abdullah made 22 trips in 2004, 25 in 2005, 20 in 2006 and 16 in 2007. His most recent visits were to Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy.

“One message from the answer is that Abdullah has not only three portfolios … he has a fourth portfolio as the travelling de facto foreign minister,” Lim told a press conference in Parliament lobby today.

Lim said Abdullah should “revamp his time-management” and focus on fulfilling his 2004 general election pledge to create a cleaner, more efficient government.

“The most important agenda of the Abdullah Administration to wipe out corruption has fizzled out, highlighted by the ignominious dismissal of the Eric Chia corruption case,” said Lim.

Chia, a tycoon charged with running steel company Perwaja in the 1990s, was the first public figure charged for graft in February 2004.

Long list of failures 

Abdullah had made pledges to fight corruption and cronyism as part of his campaign drive in early 2004. Chia was acquitted by the High Court on Tuesday on charges that he allegedly misappropriated RM74.6 million.

Lim added that Malaysia has dropped rank in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from 37th to 44th placing from 2003 to 2006 and that the country’s crime rate has soared since Abdullah took office.

He said the recommendations by the Royal Police Commission to set up the IPCMC was ignored.

“Such a list of failures of the Abdullah premiership stems from the hopes and expectations he has raised when he became prime minister … will be quite a long one.

“It will include setbacks to nation-building process arising from worsening religious polarisation because of the lack of political will and leadership to restore inter-religious dialogue as in the first three decades of nationhood,” he said.

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Another “bullshit” from Samy

June 28, 2007

“Toll Minister” Samy Vellu shot from his hips again on the issue of changing the acoustic ceilings to plaster one. (NST page 8 , 2007/06/28).

Does he know that for the acoustic ceilings, it costs about RM1.80 psf as compared to about RM4.00 (RM2.50  for the plaster ceiling and RM1.50 for the paint work) for the plaster ceilings?

Does he know that the ceilings that bent at the second Commercial Courts at Jalan  Duta was actually plaster ceilings?

Does he know that when there is something wrong with the plaster ceilings, it would be very difficult to repair (unlike the panel ceilings/suspended/acoustic ceilings need only to change the faulty pieces)?

Does he know that the plaster ceilings is only suitable for the bungalows and private homes?

Does he know that it would be difficult to have manholes if plaster ceilings is being installed?

Does he know the real problem is not the ceiling materials but poor and shoddy workmanship? 

Does he know that the cost of maintenance for all government buildings will shoot up much higher if the plaster ceilings is preferred over the conventional acoustic one?

Does he know the real problems why so many government buildings are showing serious faults as the Minister of Works?

Dear “toll minister”, it’s not practical to use plaster ceilings for goverment buildings. Stop it!

PKFZ: Opposition Leader to raise hell at next Parliamentary session

June 23, 2007

 From Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang’s blog…

Port Klang Free Zone – Forlorn and pathetic air of another failed multi-billion ringgit mega-project

This morning, together with Ronnie Liu, Peter Tan, Tee Boon Hock and other DAP Klang leaders, I visited the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), which has been shrouded in such secrecy despite being open to operation more than six months ago on November 1, 2006.

The PKFZ has the forlorn and pathetic air of another failed multi-billion ringgit mega project and Malaysiakini reporters Fauwaz Abdul Aziz and Sabrina Chan are right in coining the term “mega ghost-town” for it.

The PKFZ offers 512 standardised warehouse units, 260 ha of open land and four blocks of eight-storey office complexes. After seven months of opening, there are only signs of two of the 512 warehouse units being taken up but not yet utilized. The only company that has visible presence of operations is the Norwegian oil and gas company Aker Kvaerner. Otherwise, the 1,000-acre PKFZ is an expanse of empty office blocks, warehouse units and land blocks.

There is no vibration of activity or even sense of commercial life!

No wonder the authorities concerned were so upset when they received word that I was going to visit the Westports and a security detail was very rude in demanding to know what I was doing at PKFZ, inviting an earful as to why a visit by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader should be regarded as akin to trespass especially when Parliamentary sanction will have to be sought if there is to be a billion-ringgit bailout of the failed PKFZ.

Many questions swirl around the PKFZ for the past few years without answers, and it is time that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s pledge to lead an open, accountable and transparent administration be respected by his subordinates, particularly the following personalities:

1. The Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy should explain

• the viability, feasibility and integrity of the PKFZ; and

• why he appointed MCA MP and former Deputy Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung as the new Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman in April when he should have known that there would be a conflict of interest situation in view of Chor’s position as Deputy Chairman of Wijaya Baru Global Bhd (WBGB), an associated company with Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd., which sold the 1,000 acres of land for the PKFZ at the very inflated price of RM1.8 billion when it was bought for RM95 million and awarded a RM1.3 billion contract to develop the same piece of land.

2. The PKA Chairman Chor Chee Heung should explain whether he would relinquish either the post of PKA Chairman or Deputy Chairman of Wijaya Baru Global Bhd to resolve his conflict-of-interest.

3. The main beneficiary of the PKFZ mega-project, Datuk Tiong King Sing, the MP for Bintulu, should clear the air over the many questions about the mega-project right from the genesis of the project to its present day. Tiong had made a name for himself for demand for transparency and outspokenness against organised crime in Sarawak. He must show he is fully committed to transparency in the PKFZ deal, as he is the main mover of the project being the person behind Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and Wijaya stable of companies, directly involved in the RM1.8 billion land sale to PKFZ and the RM1.3 billion contract to develop the land.

The PKFZ was touted as modeled after the successful Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, to be the regional export and transshipment hub for manufactured goods. After expenditure of over RM3 billion ringgit, the PKFZ has nothing to show except “the forlorn and pathetic air of a failed mega-project”!

Climbing crime rates = Government’s failure

June 18, 2007

The new wave of gang rape and violence that have shaken up the entire Johor Bahru last week has once again puts the PDRM under microscope.

Before I make my comments, pls read and understand how PDRM deploys its personnels…

Admininstrative Department – 33,036

Logistics Department – 10,587

Crime Investigation Department- 6,661

Commercial Crime Department – 690

Internal Security / Public Order Department- 33,214

Narcotics Department – 2,713

Special Branch- 6,026

Public Service – 7,705

Total: 100,632

 You see, PDRM only deploy 6,661 men and women out of 100,632 they have to fight crimes. That’s clearly not enough and that’s why we have been openly and repeatedly calling for redeployment of the police force. We have also repeatedly raised the issue of the need for a pay rise for the police force to raise their fighting spirit. We were satisfied with the recent pay rise for the men and women in blues.

More than a year ago (shortly after the Canny Ong’s murder), I have personally called for the reduction of staff for the Special Branch, FRU and also cut down the number of outriders for VIPs in order to despatch more men and women in blues to the streets to protect our lives. But sad to say that nothing is being done in that direction.

And pls take a look at the crime rates now (an extract from a recent Malaysiakini report).

Increase in crime rate

“According to the official crime index released in the PDRM website, the country had 198,622 crime incidents in 2006 compared with 157, 459 in 2005, which is a 12 percent hike. In the first two months of 2007, the police recorded 35, 076 crime cases. The biggest crime in all the years is theft including property theft, petty theft, house break-ins and vehicle theft.Equally disturbing was that the crime-solving rate had slid during the same period.

In 2005, the police managed to solve 76,284 cases, which amounted to 48.9 percent while only 73,281 or 36.8 percent of the cases were solved in 2006.

In January and February this year, 13,386 or 38.1 percent of the cases have been solved.

In the past when DAP raised this issue in Parliament, the government had claimed that the national crime-solving rate was always above the international accepted level of 40 percent.

However, Chow (Penang DAP chief) said Abdullah owed the public an explanation on why there was a decrease in the crime-solving rate for 2006, which was below the international mark.

“Have the police slowed down and become inefficient in solving crime?” he asked.

Primary concern

The statistics also revealed that Selangor is the most crime-prone state with 47,499 reported cases in 2005, 54,270 in 2006 and 6,771 in January and February this year.

Other leading crime-prone states are Johor with 24,945 cases in 2005, 28,469 in 2006 and 3,524 in last January and February, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur with 20,689, 25,236 and 4,547 cases; and Penang with 12,407, 16,229 and 3,822 cases respectively.”

The figures are very alarming. We hope the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who also hold s the position of the Internal Security Minister (not to mention the Minister of Finance he’s holding) to do some thing quickly about the deployment of police to stop the crime rates from climbing to another notch. 

Yes, we need more police to protect the ordinary people in the streets. Too many of them are now serving the Special Branch, FRU or working as outriders for the VIPs and that’s not healthy.

The BN Government is at fault if they continue to ignore the need of better protection and a crime-free society. What is so difficult to direct the PDRM to re-deploy its staff, Mr Prime Minister?

Westports questionable land deal: Chan Kong Choy must explain

May 29, 2007
Is buying land with public fund at a price more than double  the market value a crime?

Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy must explain. Others who must also explain incl former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik, the two former PKA chairman Ting Chew Beh and Yap Pian Hon and Umno Sementa state assemblyman Rahman Palil and Westports chairman Gnalingam.

以市价两倍价格购千亩土地
巴生西港负债十亿求助邻国

■日期/May 28, 2007   ■时间/08:10:43 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/merdekareview 陈慧思
           
【本刊陈慧思撰述】自2006年投入运作迄今,雪兰莪州巴生的马来西亚西港私人有限公司(Westports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd,简称“西港公司”)负债近马币十亿元。在该公司执行主席贾纳林甘忙于解释欠债原由之际,一笔高达马币18亿元的购地支出,仍有待西港、前交通部长林良实、港务局及反贪污局予以人民一个明确的交待。民主行动党非政府组织局主任刘天球(左图)曾在2004年就西港的一项土地交易向皇家警察的商业罪案调查组报案,质疑这宗交易是否牵涉贪污及失信问题。可是迄今,反贪污局仍没有任何交待及相应行动;当时的交通部长林良实也不曾回应此事。刘天球接受《独立新闻在线》电访时透露,当林良实于2003年退任之后,他查悉林任期内曾批准交通部属下的港务局(Part Klang Authority)以马币十亿元购买一幅一千亩的土地,发展巴生港口自由贸易区(Port Klang Free Zone)。当时,刘天球的报案书指出,上述土地交易数额高达马币十亿元,平均每英亩100万元,每平方公尺约马币25元,比市价高出44%。为此他质疑,此项交易是否牵涉贪污问题。刘天球指出:“我曾向地产界人士了解,他们认为,当时西港的土地市价约每平方公尺14元。换言之,港务局收购的价格比市价高出了44%!”

今日刘天球从新加坡《海峡时报》在2005年8月的报道惊然发现,该地售价不只马币十亿元,而是马币18亿1000万元;比当时的市价高出两倍!

土地卖主是国阵领袖

国家稽查局对巴生港务局2003年底的表现所作的审查报告指出,港务局同意以马币18亿1000万元的价格向一家私人公司购入一片面积一千英亩的土地,以效仿杜拜(Dubai)港口,将之发展成为区域著名的货运及贸易中心。

刘天球从《海峡时报》的财经新闻获知,该占地一千亩的土地以马币18亿1000万元成交,比当时他从《太阳报》(The Sun)所获知的数额还要高出8亿元;为此,原拟就西港的债务问题报案的他说:“我更有理由报案了!”

《独立新闻在线》发现,若以一千英亩18亿1000万元计算,该地段的价格高达每平方公尺41元55分,比市价高出两倍!根据《海峡时报》报道,国家稽查局甚至形容该土地是“以特别价格计算”(calculated on a special-value basis)。

此外,《海峡时报》的报道指出,巴生港务局是从一家名叫“Kuala Dimensi”的公司手中购入该片土地。根据公司注册资料,Kuala Dimensi私人有限公司四名董事当中的两名董事都是国阵领袖,其一为国阵民进党民都鲁区国会议员张庆信,另一名则是自2004年出任巫统总财政阿都阿欣(Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi)。

巴生港务局以高出市价两倍的价格购买上述地段,追究起来,当时的交通部长林良实(右图)和港务局主席陈祖排都有责任挺身说明真相。刘天球在2004年报案后,港务局主席职务由马华公会沙登区国会议员叶炳汉接任;叶炳汉今天对《独立新闻在线》表示,他对该事一无所知。不过,他透露,接替林良实出任交通部长的陈广才将就相关计划作出宣布。

无论如何,叶炳汉和陈广才过后并没有就这项具争议性的土地交易作任何回应。今日《独立新闻在线》联络上叶炳汉,他表示他刚于四月底卸任,无法回应此事。。

港务局、西港公司欠债累累

除了地价争议,刘天球指出,购地的决定也牵涉合法与否的问题。他表示,港务局是政府法定机构,按规定不能从事商业活动;交通部批准港务局购地开发商业区域,已违反既有规定。

此外,他指出,由于地理条件欠佳,巴生港口自由贸易区发展停滞,根本无从实现“杜拜港口”的美丽梦想;反之,西港公司和港务局欠债累累,最终或需要政府注资拯救。

交通部署下的巴生港务局是巴生北港和西港的管理机构,惟港务局已将位于美丽岛(Pulau Indah)的西港的操作和营运部份已经私营化。西港公司目前以特许经营者的身份负责西港的操作和营运。

根据《海峡时报》的报道,国家稽查局针对巴生港务局截至2003年底的表现所作的报告指出,“若无马来西亚政府的扶助,巴生港务局自2007年起便无法承担高达马币30亿元的庞大的债务”;目前欠债30亿元的港务局状况令人担忧。

西港或脱售给新加坡?

此外,《马来西亚前锋报》(Utusan Malaysia)新闻网今年5月15日的一则报道揭露,西港公司欠下港务局十亿元的债务,相信正在寻求新加坡港务局(Port of Singapore Authority)的“协助”,以解决该公司的债务问题。

西港公司执行主席贾纳林甘(G. Gnanalingam,右图)最近与新加坡港务局执行主席Eddie Tan的会面,被视为西港或转手新港务局的先兆。

据《马来西亚前锋报》报道,新加坡港务局是世界上第二号港务机构,除了管理新加坡的港务,也管理25个国际港口的港务,被视为最有能力管理西港的外国机构。报道隐然透露,西港或因无法负荷庞大的债务,而脱手予这家优秀的港务机构。

无论如何,西港公司执行主席贾纳林甘矢口保证,西港公司不会变卖本身的利益;而西港公司的外国股权也已经达到了30%的限制,无法再脱售股权予外国公司。他也对外澄清,西港公司没有面对财务问题;作为本区域著名的港务管理单位,该公司预计可在2010年清还所有贷款。

他说:“还没有缴还给巴生港务局的余额不属于贷款,却是可以在30年被清还的租约(perjanjian penyewaan)。因此,西港没有面对财务问题。”他指出,在过去的五年中,该公司大部份的发展皆由内部基金及出租公司器材支撑。

根据公司注册资料,西港控股(Westports Holding)是西港公司的大股东;西港公司董事贾纳林甘通过Redzai建筑公司(Syarikat Pembinaan Redzai)掌握西港控股的50%股份、香港首富李嘉诚则透过Hutchinson港口码头(Hutchinson Ports Terminal)掌握30%股份、国库控股(Khazanah Holdings Bhd)则拥有10%股份。

We need more whistleblowers

May 23, 2007
Ex- High Court Judge Syed Ahmad Idid is right.

If we silence or ‘kill’ the whistleblowers, who will then brave enough to blow the whistle?

Ex-judge: Protect whistleblowers, informants

Soon Li Tsin
May 23, 07 12:15am
Malaysiakini

A retired former High Court judge who was once punished for being an informant himself said the government should appreciate whistleblowers and informants and not punish them.

Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Aidid, 69, said this at a public lecture entitled, ‘Addressing Corruption in Malaysia’ organised by International Institute of Public Policy and Management last night.

“I call upon the government to be helpful to those who give information, they should appreciate them […] without information, they won’t have any cases at all.

“Those who give information are those quite near to the (corrupt) act. If you discourage them, you are telling the world, look you better not come and give us any information then there will be no cases being investigated,” he told the crowd of about a 100 people.

In 1996, Syed Ahmad resigned from the judiciary after penning a 33-page report which included allegations against 12 judges involving 39 cases of corruption, 21 cases of abuse of power, 52 cases of misconduct, immorality and other indiscretions.

The then attorney-general, the late Mohtar Abdullah had then dismissed the report as a ‘poison-pen letter’ and said there were no grounds for prosecution as the allegations were baseless.

However in June last year, Syed Ahmad in an interview with the New Straits Times claimed that he was forced to quit from his post following the probe on the poison-pen letter.

He also claimed that his allegations were never properly investigated.

‘I didn’t distribute the letter’

Asked by a member of the audience if he’d do it all over again if he was still a court judge now, Syed Ahmad said “yes” without any hesitation.

“Yes, I would but probably in another way,” he grinned.

He also said that he has been troubled with some recent findings over the report he wrote more than 10 years ago.

“You see, something has been bothering me which has not been told by the authorities… I did not distribute the letter.

“One of the seven people to whom I sent the letter must have printed and sent out. I have my suspicions now who that person is but he is not owning up because he can’t,” he said without elaborating further.

He also said the public should give the Anti-Corruption Agency time to show it’s effectiveness.

“They have a new leader now (Ahmad Said Hamdan) and we’ll wait and see what happens,” he said. 

A laughing matter

Syed Ahmad, who is also the director of Regional Centre for Arbitration Kuala Lumpur, argued that the recent pay rise for civil servants announcement might deter corruption.

He said that “salary increment does help in combatting corruption” before cracking a joke on the government’s move.

“Cuepacs said that the civil servants have pledged to be responsible and disciplined, to dress smartly, and not take long tea or coffee breaks,” he read aloud from a piece a paper which he took out from his pocket.

“Does this mean they have not been responsible and discipline, they have not been dressing smartly and they have been taking long tea and coffee breaks before this?” he chuckled.

He then delivered the cruncher: “Our inspector general of police Musa Hassan said that with these fabulous increment, ‘we hope my men will stop taking bribes’,” as the crowd roared with laughter.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday announced a hefty pay rise for civil servants which observers view as a strong indicator of a general election being around the corner.

Effective July 1, Abdullah said government servants will get a pay raise of between 7.5 percent and 35 percent.

The cost of living allowance, or Cola, will also be increased by 100 percent while members of the police and the armed forces will receive 20 percent over and above the announced increase in pay.

Questions for MwtE to answer

May 22, 2007
I have several questions for both Mazlan and Siti Fatimah of MwtE to answer… 1. On the ‘privately-sourced’ fund provider: Who are these fund providers? How do they get back their investment plus profits? 

2. How much the local munacipality has to pay MwtE for every ton of garbage they sent to the plant?

3. How much dioxins and other toxic gases would be emitted from the plant everyday? How about the ashes left behind and what would be the proportion of ashes versus solid waste (in percentage)?

4.MwtE claims that the energy produced by the company would be given ‘FREE’ to TNB. Why should the energy be given free to TNB when the taxpayers have to pay for the garbage burnt at the plant through the local municipality/municipalities?

Both Mazlan and Siti Fatimah have painted a ‘too good to be true’ picture without giving any proof. This is not good enough. And the Ministers in charge of environment and local government (Azmi and Ong Kata Nothing)were still keeping mum on the project as if they have nothing to do with it. So is Ali Rustam, the chief minister of Melaka.

‘Plenty to gain’ from energy plant

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
May 22, 07 4:53pm
Malaysiakini 
Savings all round – this is what the proponent of a waste-to-energy plant is holding out as an incentive to proceed with the project that has run foul of environmental activists. Melaka Waste to Energy Sdn Bhd’s (MwtE) executive chairperson Mazlan Ali spelt it out in further detail:
• Taxpayers do not have to bear the construction cost of RM612 million, which will be privately sourced;
• There will be savings of RM60 million annually in government subsidies; and
• The plant will supply national utility company Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) 35MW of energy free of charge.
This contrasts with the energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) – who source their fuel from national oil company Petronas at highly subsidised rates – and eventually sell the output to TNB. Mazlan said 35MW of such fossil fuel-generated energy supplied by IPPs cost taxpayers RM58 million in subsidies.“With this plant, there are no subsidies at all to inflate the price of the same amount of energy supplied to TNB,” said Mazlan in an interview at the MWtE office in Kuala Lumpur.

The plant proposed in Sungai Udang, Malacca, is touted to converted waste to energy, using ‘plasma arc’ technology.

MwtE and its partner Green Energy and Technology Sdn Bhd plan to convert 1,200-1,500 tonnes of municipal, commercial and industrial waste in Malacca daily into 45MW, from which 10MW will be channelled back to the plant for its energy needs.

With the plant requiring RM82,000 for daily operations in treating and converting to energy 1,000 tonnes of waste, Mazlan conceded that the facility would be significantly more expensive than landfills.

“But that’s only in the short term. What about the long term? What about the social costs of landfills?” he asked.

“Think of how much millions of ringgit are being spent to tackle waste leaches into the land and water sources, the cleaning up of rivers polluted by legal and illegal landfills, and so on.”

Furthermore, he said, the MwtE plant is expected to last 25 years without any major change or replacement of technology parts. With maintenance, its lifespan can stretch to 40 to 50 years.

Trading ‘carbon credits’

Aside from the supply of energy to TNB, MWtE will also earn revenue from ‘tipping fees’ imposed on local authorities for the transportation of waste to its facility and its sale of the molten glass-like ‘slag’ that it recycles from inorganic materials in waste.

According to MWtE managing director Siti Fatimah Mohd Shariff, the company will also earn revenue from the sale of ‘carbon credits’ to such international buyers as Japan Carbon Finance, one of the largest such buyers worldwide.

(The Kyoto Protocol on climate change allows companies, among others, to trade ‘carbon credits’ derived from activities accredited as absorbing carbon dioxide – thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

(Those generating pollution may ‘buy’ credits to offset the impact of emissions from their activities, indirectly paying for an environmental clean-up and ultimately meeting targets set by the Protocol.)

“MwtE has been recognised in that our waste-treatment and conversion-to-energy process is equivalent to getting rid of 106,000 cars per year, or planting 1.65 million trees per annum,” said Fatimah.

Environmental and social activists have claimed that the Malacca government is courting potential environmental disaster in backing the project, which still awaits approval from the Department of Environment. 

Barely having breathed a sigh of relief after the mega-incinerator proposal in Kampung Broga, Selangor, was aborted, they have demanded proof – not promises – of environmental safety and cost-efficiency. 

Dompok and Kah Kiat set fine example

May 20, 2007

First, you have Chong Kah Kiat who resigned as the Sabah deputy chief minister in protest over the stoppage of Mazhu statue in Kudat . Kah Kiat was upset by his boss Musa Aman who scrap the project without any justification. Before the Mazhu incident, Musa Aman has also interfered with Kah Kiat’s portfolio as the state tourism minister.

And now, you have Bernard Dompok who resigned as the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity over the sabotage of NRD officials. Earlier, Dompok was apparently upset with Nazri Aziz and other ministers who help blocking the ACA Director General from attending the hearing by the PSCI. 

Both Dompok and Kah Kiat have set a fine example for other BN leaders who hold on to their positions shamelessly with no principle and courage whatsoever. They will be remembered as political leaders who have the courage to defend their integrity in the larger interest of the people. Incidentally, both of them hail from Sabah.

While we werte disappointed with the reaction of the Prime Minister (he remarked that Kah Kiat’s resignation has no impact with BN Sabah), we were heartened to note that the Transparency International KL Chapter and the Council of Churches in Malaysia have voiced their support with Dompok.

Kit Siang and groups support Dompok
May 19, 07 4:52pm Malaysiakini
Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has come out to defend Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Bernard Dompok after he was criticised by cabinet compatriot Nazri Aziz.Lim’s response came in the wake of Dompok’s shock resignation as the head of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) on Wednesday.

However, Nazri said the resignation was seen as being influenced by the committee’s deputy chairperson which happens to be Lim.

Nazri pointed out that the committee was set up to meet people, obtain feedback and formulate a programme or find ways to improve on policy, not investigate people.

He also said Dompok was frustrated that Nazri had objected to the PSCI calling the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor to appear before the Select Committee.
The committee was set to meet Zulkipli and whistleblower, former Sabah ACA chief Mohamad Ramli Manan but the meeting was eventually cancelled three times.

Dompok’s decision to resign from the bi-partisan committee followed Lim’s question on why a scheduled committee meeting yesterday with National Registration Department (NRD) into a fake identity card scandal in Sabah dubbed ‘Project M’ was suddenly cancelled.

Test of strength

The NRD has refused to appear before the committee – a move which Nazri has supported.

Lim then pointed out that this appeared to be a test of strength between Nazri and Dompok with the former having the upper hand.

“Even if Dompok is prepared to reconsider his resignation as chairman of PSCI, it is not clear that the cabinet would agree to his continuing to serve in this capacity,” he said.

Meanwhile. Transparency International president Ramon Navaratnam expressed regret over Dompok’s resignation and over the NRD’s refusal to comply with the committee’s request.

“It is a serious matter and indicates an unbecoming attitude of an agency when a meeting called by the Parliamentary Select Committee can be rejected.

“This is also disrespectful to Parliament and reflects the standard and quality of administration of this country,” Ramon said in a statement today.

He also called for Dompok’sposition as chairperson of the PSCI to be reinstated and that the NRD be held accountable for the issuance of identity cards in Sabah where there is apparent widespread abuse.

“Tough disciplinary action must be taken against individuals and agencies that do not heed parliamentary meetings seriously,” he added.

Echoing their support for Dompok is the Council of Churches of Malaysia who is appealing to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to implement his stated policies of integrity, accountability and transparency by reinstating Dompok to the PSCI post.

“As much as we regret his resignation, we applaud his courage based on his conviction that issues related to transparency in the government administration should not be compromised,” their statement added.

NiK Aziz: Jais has no rights to split Hindu family

May 15, 2007

Tok Guru Nik Aziz, the Menteri Besar of Kelantan and also the spiritual leader of Pas , was said to have criticised JAIS for splitting up the P. Marimuthu’s family in Ulu Yam. It was reported that he has also criticised Sabah Umno for  stopping the construction of the Mazhu statue in Kudat.

I received these two pieces of ‘unconfirmed’ news from a Singaporean journalist. Strangely, none of the Malaysian newspapers have reported such news until today.

I would not be surprised if Nik Azizi has actually said these. Pas may be conservative in certain matters but Kelantan under the rule of Pas/ Nik Aziz has been more liberal than Umno in many matters concerning the welfare and rights of Non-Muslims. For instance, only in Kelantan you could find the largest sitting/sleeping Buddha statues, the mosque with Chinese traditional architecture, the sales of pork in open-air markets et cetera.

And unlike in Selangor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah and Perak which were all under the ruling Umno-led BN coalition, the destruction of religious statues, temples, churches or kuils were unheard of in Kelantan.

Today, 57 NGOs and political parties including DAP issued a joint-statement on family and religion. Malaysiakini has the story…国内信仰纷争分裂家庭案日增
57团体疾呼人道须凌驾政治!
07年5月15日 下午3:45 Malaysiakini:
57个公民团体今日联署声名,促请关注国内一连串宗教信仰纠纷分裂家庭案日增的事件,不但威胁我国的多元文化、宗教与种族社会安宁,也危害婚姻与家庭体系。有关的联署团体涵盖面非常多元,涵盖了不同族群以及多元性质的民间组织,主要有人权、宗教、妇女、华团、印裔团体、社区、工会、政党、学术机构、新闻自由、青年、大专等组织。这项联署运动是由隆雪华堂民权委员会和青年团、大马人民之声(SUARAM)、妇女发展组织Women’s Development Collective (WDC)所发起,并由隆雪华堂民权委员会主席谢春荣,隆雪华堂青年团团长陈松林,大马人民之声执行总监叶瑞生,妇女发展组织执行总监玛丽亚陈阿都拉(Maria Chin Abdullah)所发出。

宗教局剥夺母亲抚养权

它们指出很不幸的,因宗教当局的政策与举措之故,已故登山英雄慕地(M Moorthy,左图)与已故拉雅班(A. Rayappan)的家属被迫承受难以想象的痛苦、忧虑与压力。数个政府单位利用法律缺陷,剥削像莎玛拉(S Shamala)以及苏芭丝妮(R. Subashini)这些母亲对自己孩子的抚养权,只因为她们离异的丈夫皈依了伊斯兰教。同样的,像丽娜佐尔(Lina Joy)这些想改变宗教信仰的人士,则因为一些掌权者根据狭隘的法律以及宗教教义诠释所采取的恣意决定,以致无权与自己心爱的人结合。

“最近发生另一件令人震惊的事。现年二十九岁的丽华蒂玛苏赛(Revathi Masoosai)(或名西蒂法迪玛,Siti Fatimah )与其丈夫苏烈西威拉班(S. Veerapan)及十五个月大的女儿被马六甲宗教官员强行拆散(右图)。丽华蒂的父母是穆斯林,但被祖母以兴都教徒方式抚养成人,并与一名兴度教徒结婚。最初,她被送到宗教改造中心一百天,随后马六甲回教法庭裁定她必须再留在宗教改造中心八十天。丽华蒂的丈夫也失去了女儿的抚养权,而被判予丽华蒂的穆斯林母亲。”

丽华蒂案家庭被强行拆散

“近期发生连串类似丽华蒂个案的事件,更令我们非常忧心。我们失望地发现我们这个多元族群与宗教的社会,竟然不允许不同信仰的家庭成员融洽地生活在一起。近日媒体报导了另一个因宗教局介入而导致家庭分离的个案。雪兰莪州宗教局禁止娜吉拉法温莉(Najeera Farvinli Mohammed Jalali)与其丈夫马根兰萨巴迪(Magendran Sabathy)生活在一起。因为她是个穆斯林,而他们的兴都教婚姻被判无效。在另一起事件中,莱玛比比(Raimah Bibi) 不得不与其丈夫马里慕都(P Marimuthu )和六个孩子分离,因为穆斯林与非穆斯林的婚姻不为法律所容。”

悲剧源自国家不当制裁举措

联署文告指出,人道精神必须凌驾政治。家庭内部为了个人安宁、和谐以及孩子所作的决定,必须受到尊重。所有关心社会的马来西亚人都应该站起来与其他思想进步的同胞和团体一起采取适当的政治及法律行动,阻止类似上述的悲剧继续发生。这些悲剧明显是因国家不当制裁举措所造成的。

“因此,我们赞同霹雳州皇储拉惹纳兹林殿下(HRH Raja Nazrin Shah)于4月3日在全国年轻律师委员会与公共政策研究中心联办的“青年圆桌论坛:大马国民团结与发展”研讨会上所发表的谈话。他认为,马来西亚是属于所有公民的,不论其族群、宗教与祖源地是什么。国族营造应该奠基于命运与目的共同体的认识之上。我们因而必须捍卫宪法的完整性,以达致这些共同目标。反之,高压手段只会破坏国族营造进程。如果我们在摆脱殖民者的统治后被迫面对新的专断政治威权,那么,独立对我国而言将失去意义。”

以下是57个公民团体联署声名全文:

尊重自由与多元价值,捍卫家庭与人道精神

国内一连串事件发展不但威胁我国的多元文化、宗教与种族社会安宁,也危害婚姻与家庭体系,我们以下56个联署公民团体在此表达深切关注。我国即将欢庆五十周年国庆,一些马来西亚人的行事却已失去人道精神的指导,因而对那些刚失去至亲或在外力干预下与至亲骨肉生离的痛苦,完全视而不见、听而不闻或者无动于衷;实在让人深以为忧。

每个人都有自由意志,因此,个人自由必须得到尊重。每个社群都有权表达与宣扬其价值观,政府、团体或个人都无权以威胁或暴力手段将价值观强加于他人身上。同样的,家庭的幸福与和谐是由其成员集体创造与界定,他们的选择必须受到尊重。

很不幸的,因宗教当局的政策与举措之故,已故登山英雄慕地(M Moorthy)与已故拉雅班(A. Rayappan)的家属被迫承受难以想象的痛苦、忧虑与压力。数个政府单位利用法律缺陷,剥削像莎玛拉(S Shamala)以及苏芭丝妮(R. Subashini)这些母亲对自己孩子的抚养权,只因为她们离异的丈夫皈依了伊斯兰教。同样的,像丽娜佐尔(Lina Joy)这些想改变宗教信仰的人士,则因为一些掌权者根据狭隘的法律以及宗教教义诠释所采取的恣意决定,以致无权与自己心爱的人结合。

最近发生另一件令人震惊的事。现年二十九岁的丽华蒂玛苏赛(Revathi Masoosai)(或名西蒂法迪玛,Siti Fatimah )与其丈夫苏烈西威拉班(S. Veerapan)及十五个月大的女儿被马六甲宗教官员强行拆散。丽华蒂的父母是穆斯林,但被祖母以兴都教徒方式抚养成人,并与一名兴度教徒结婚。最初,她被送到宗教改造中心一百天,随后马六甲回教法庭裁定她必须再留在宗教改造中心八十天。丽华蒂的丈夫也失去了女儿的抚养权,而被判予丽华蒂的穆斯林母亲。

近期发生连串类似丽华蒂个案的事件,令我们非常忧心。我们失望地发现我们这个多元族群与宗教的社会,竟然不允许不同信仰的家庭成员融洽地生活在一起。近日媒体报导了另一个因宗教局介入而导致家庭分离的个案。雪兰莪州宗教局禁止娜吉拉法温莉(Najeera Farvinli Mohammed Jalali)与其丈夫马根兰萨巴迪(Magendran Sabathy)生活在一起。因为她是个穆斯林,而他们的兴都教婚姻被判无效。在另一起事件中,莱玛比比(Raimah Bibi) 不得不与其丈夫马里慕都(P Marimuthu )和六个孩子分离,因为穆斯林与非穆斯林的婚姻不为法律所容。

人道精神必须凌驾政治。家庭内部为了个人安宁、和谐以及孩子所作的决定,必须受到尊重。所有关心社会的马来西亚人都应该站起来与其他思想进步的同胞和团体一起采取适当的政治及法律行动,阻止类似上述的悲剧继续发生。这些悲剧明显是因国家不当制裁举措所造成的。

因此,我们赞同霹雳州皇储拉惹纳兹林殿下(HRH Raja Nazrin Shah)于4月3日在全国年轻律师委员会与公共政策研究中心联办的“青年圆桌论坛:大马国民团结与发展”研讨会上所发表的谈话。他认为,马来西亚是属于所有公民的,不论其族群、宗教与祖源地是什么。国族营造应该奠基于命运与目的共同体的认识之上。我们因而必须捍卫宪法的完整性,以达致这些共同目标。反之,高压手段只会破坏国族营造进程。如果我们在摆脱殖民者的统治后被迫面对新的专断政治威权,那么,独立对我国而言将失去意义。

我们呼吁所有社会人士、团体与社群珍惜和包容大马社会的多元文化,并尊重来自不同族群与宗教背景的同胞。目前,某些思想狭隘的政客与官员的言行已给我们的家庭体系带来破坏,使到许多无辜的人承受巨大的打击与痛苦。所有来自不同族群与宗教背景的马来西亚人都必须设法阻止这种危险的趋势,否则,“五十周年国庆”对我们而言将会是一个空洞的口号。

联署团体:
1. 吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂
2. 大马人民之声(SUARAM)
3. Women’s Development Collective (WDC)
4. The Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)
5. 马来西亚佛教、基督教、兴都教、锡克教及道教宗教理事会
6. Herald-The Catholic Weekly
7. TENAGANITA
8. Women’s Centre for Change Penang
9. 马来西亚职工总会(MTUC)
10. 全国人权协会(HAKAM)
11. ALIRAN
12. 民主行动党 (DAP)
13. 马来西亚社会主义党(PSM)
14. 马来西亚华校董事联合会总会(董总)
15. 马来西亚华校教师会总会(教总)
16. 马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
17. 森美兰中华大会堂
18. 森美兰中华大会堂青年团
19. Group of Concerned Citizens
20. Jaringan Rakyat Terindas(JERIT)
21. Community Development Centre(CDC)
22. Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF)
23. Alaigal
24. Vivekananda Youth Movement Seremban
25. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
26. All Petaling Jaya Pro Action Committee (APPAC)
27. 槟城自救会(Save Ourselves)
28. 大马选民力量(MALVU)
29. Penang watch
30. 维护媒体独立撰稿人联盟(WAMI)
31. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
32. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
33. 马来西亚青年与学生民主运动(学运)
34. Centre for Policy Initiatives
35. Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility ( CARAM Asia )
36. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
37. 雪隆华校校友会联合会
38. 雪隆华校校友会联合会青年团
39. 森美兰华校校友会联合会
40. 白小保校工委会
41. 马来西亚华文小学家长会总会筹委会(家总)
42. 雪隆理华同学会
43. 坤成校友会
44. 巴生光华中学校友会
45. 隆雪惠安泉港公会
46. 森美兰永春会馆
47. 马来西亚乡青总团联谊会
48. 雪隆兴安会馆青年团
49. 雪兰莪福建会馆青年团
50. 雪隆广东会馆青年团
51. 柔佛州中华总会青年团
52. 全国大专联谊会
53. 马来亚大学新青年协会(UMANY)
54. 马大华文学会
55. 理大华文学会
56. 博大华文学会
57. 马六甲中华大会堂青年团

An architect’s point of view on govt defective buildings

May 10, 2007

Government Defective Buildings ; Whose faults?

We refer to the news recently on the defective new government buildings.
Sadly, we read a lot of denial and irresponsible statement from
respective parties.  We even read some views from a minister that had
never admitted his mistake.  Because I am a professional Architect, I owe
the public a duty to express my opinion here.  Otherwise I would have
abrogate my professional duty and feel shame for the country.

Government Projects shall be separated from Politics
We heard so much about government projects with mega sums and big hoo-ha.
Especially when election is on his way, clearly, all government projects
had been connected with political agendas and shamefully, we had a lot of
mega projects that had related to political purposes.  Government had been
expanded people’s money and some had been abusing them to achieve
personal interest.  The persons profiting from the government projects
are mainly the Bumiputras, the Politicians that making the decisions and
its cronies.  Very little had actually gone down to the poor man on the
street.  It is a simple notion that nobody will give a project to his
enemy.  Nobody will award any project without profiting anything, and
nobody feel safe to award a project to a poor man.  Since it is the
people’s monies and yet it helps to boost the country economy, the mega
figures seem nobody dare to question and able to challenge.

The root of the problem is corruption and abuse of power among the parties
that making decision to award projects to contractors.  At least if not,
shall be the top administrative officers that had been abetting with the
politicians, involving in awarding mega sums of contracts.

The Process of Construction
A building is completed by going through a simple process.  However it
involves many parties and many stages; from design, drawings, approval,
tender, construction, supervision and completion.  There are 3 main
parties to ensure the achievement of a fair and successful result;

                    Government                     Peoples’ Money

                              Professional    Contractors

Shall any parties within the triangle abusing his right and position, will
bring disgraceful end result to the project.

If the government is the owner of the building and money is not a problem,
all outstanding sums had been paid and all high end budgets are allocated
and yet deriving a poor outcome, somebody from the triangle must be held
responsible.  Justice must not only be made but must be seen to be made.
Too often than not, we see our Ministers and Government representatives
tried to defend themselves as innocent parties instead of carrying out
further investigations.  Our country has too many innocent people that
ended up our prison is empty.  To be fair to the prison warden to have a
job to do, we should jail the serious offender; especially those had
misused their position and abusing the tax payers’ hard earned money.
Those affected buildings are involving few hundred millions Ringgit
Malaysia, if being continuously abused, will bring the country to
downfall.

Intolerable defects shall be deemed as uncompleted works.  Defect is de
minimus, otherwise works shall be deemed uncompleted.  Any issuance of
Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC) for uncompleted building is
ultra vires.  The professional overseeing the project shall be held
responsible.  Because the Certificate is so important and it serves as
benchmark to release a major portion of the money, this crucial moment
will always induce corruptions, mal-practice, ultra-vires and abuse of
power.  If we leave this power to un-qualify consultants, they will
definitely abuse it.

Instead of requesting an independent 3rd party to investigate further, we
have politicians that stood up and pointing fingers to the system, the
paperwork, the time, the non related object being or non human being.
Such premature decision is unwise and ridiculous, and properly such
premature intention is to make sure nobody goes to jail but only the
computers, the papers, the hammers, the cement or the concrete bricks.
If that works, we need not spend so much money to build so many big
prisons.

Fast Track Projects
In the process of tendering out a project or awarding a negotiated tender,
the time frame of completion is indicated and the contractor is made aware
of the completion date.  If the time of completion is too short to be
completed, the contractor shall not accept the contract and let other
more competent contractors to do it.  If the contract had been accepted
and yet couldn’t deliver the quality result, the contractor shall be
held responsible.  The Professional shall advise the owner not to award
any projects to un-competent contractor, neither any soon to be
bankrupted party.  Any mala fide in this process can be investigated
easily and interference in the process of decision making can be an
evidence to prosecute for damages.  Therefore Fast Track Project is not
an excuse for intolerable defects.

We should have a stronger Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACA) and other more
powerful Independent Investigation Authority (IIA) to investigate, to
protect, to ensure clean & transparency and to safeguard the peoples’
monies.  Instead of leaving them all to the politicians, un-experience
administrative officers, irresponsible government administration system,
selfish professional, nasty contractors or hunger corruptors, our money
being spent by the government agencies are un-justified & should be
audited and published.

We do not mind to pay more taxes to ensure tax payers’ money is
safeguarded.  We don’t mind to pay higher prices for a nice building and
to achieve a beautiful country.  However, we do not hope to see the ugly
corruptions and abuse of power continues to take opportunity and abusing
people’s money in government projects.  We request the government to
consider it deeply and urge ACA to investigate the defective government
projects.

Written by,

Goo Huey Kiam
Architect
Kuala Lumpur
5 May 2007
hkmagoo@hotmai.com