By Ramon Navaratnam
As the former chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) panel on prevention of corruption, I am deeply concerned that the MACC is losing more public confidence and credibility because of its apparent decline in transparency and accountability.
Salute the NGOs
From the public and taxpayers point of view, the strong stand taken by the three NGOs, Suara Malaysia, Batas Malaysia and Gapenas Selangor, represents similar public concerns of a significant portion of Malaysians.
The NGOs should therefore be saluted for their courage and commitment to serve the public and national interests, especially where others have failed.
Water is a precious basic need. Thus, as citizens and voters we have the right to be informed of the status of the investigations regarding the takeover arrangements between the Selangor government and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor (SPLASH).
Zamil Ibrahim, who is the spokesman for the three NGOs, and millions of other consumers, had presented a report to the Selangor MACC 43 days ago, but had not received any feedback. Is this not rude, arrogant, inefficient and and irresponsible on the part of the MACC? Won’t the public think so?
All that the NGOs have asked is to be kept informed of the general progress in the water or “watery” negotiations. For instance, they want to know how long more it will take to settle this long drawn and dry talks?
What are these issues that the negotiations cannot solve in the interests of the people. Water sustains our very lives and is too precious to be left exclusively to the politicking and fancies of politicians and corporate tycoons, who may have other parochial interests?
The MACC is therefore in a critical position to play a crucial role in eliminating any trace of malpractice or even possible elements of corruption, that is causing this unreasonable delay.
Selangorians are deeply distressed and depressed by the frequent water cuts, especially when ironically, we are blessed with so much rain.
Proposal for white knights
May I respectfully propose that the federal government and if possible, the highly respected Sultan of Selangor come to the rescue, like white knights to solve this water crisis.
This is necessary if the MACC and SPLASH and the Selangor government, find it beyond their capabilities, to find proper and fair solutions, before any further damaging delays?
Most of the rakyat surely expect all the authorities concerned to act speedily and not drag their feet, in preventing a water crisis that will actually come, at this rate of slow and sluggish progress, if at all.
MACC should be more transparent and accoutable.
The MACC and all related authorities owe it to the rakyat to break this long sensitive stalemate. It can do so by being much more transparent and accountable to the Rakyat.
In the process, the MACC could also strive to redeem its poor public perception.
It could raise its low Corruption Perception Index (CPI), that Paul Low is committed to do.
All this will also buttress the sagging public confidence in our governance that is partly reflected in our pitifully weak rinngit.
Let us therefore, make a New Year resolution for 2017, to solve at least this one vital issue, pertaining to water as one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Goals as soon as possible.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is the Chairman, Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies -FMT