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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fighting corruption: The painful truth

A recent survey by Ernst & Young has also pointed out that Pemandu has failed in its role to transform the economy.
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Making news for the wrong reasons is what the Barisan Nasional-led government seems good at. From coruption to abuse of power to mistreating the rakyat, the BN government has done it all, that too repeatedly.
But as the say ‘what goes around comes around’, the miscreants of the BN government have not gone unnoticed, not if the latest report of the Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey Report Series 2013 is anything to go by.
The report has ranked Malaysia as one of the most corrupt nations. Not only that, ‘Bolehland’ as Malaysia is imfamously dubbed, has also  been listed as a country which is most likely to take shortcuts to meet targets when economic times are tough.
Before the BN-government spearheaded by Najib Tun Razak attempts any denial, be forewarned that a recent survey by Ernst & Young has pointed out that Pemandu (the government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit) has failed in its role to transform the economy.
If it is any consolation to Najib, the nation ironically has been placed alongside China as countries with the highest levels of bribery and corruption anywhere in the world.
This year’s survey polled 681 executives in China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea.
About half of the 681 executives polled on their perception of fraud felt that China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were the worst in bribery and corruption.
Those polled were employed at corporations with a turnover in excess of US$500m, ranging from the industrial sector to financial services, retail and natural resources.
The open declaration by the survey’s respondents makes one thing clear – that the BN government was never honest in combating the malaise of corruption that is aggressively tearing the country apart.
Had takling graft been BN’s topmost agenda, the state of Sarawak would have long been rehabiliated from the plague of corruption, nepotism and cronyism.
It is no secret that Sarawak’s chief minister Taib Mahmud is ‘legendary’ when it comes to graft, being corrupt to the core. Likewise, it is a fact that Najib has given his wife Rosmah Mansor a freehand in deciding the amount she wants to steer her early childhood project Permata.
Graft reducing efforts questionable
Corruption it seems has become second nature with the BN government. From the seedy Scorpene submarines deal to appointing ‘his’ people to head government-linked companies (GLCs), premier Najib has done it all.
So while the report puts Malaysia in the red as far as graft goes, it also shames the rakyat to know that the BN leadership has all along been lying to the people about reducing the level of corruption back home.
On Juy 28, 2011, prime minister Najib unveiled the National Key Results Areas (NKRA), of which “reducing corruption” was one of the most important.
In fact, Najib has gone to great lengths to boast about the success achieved through the NKRA with Pemandu boasting of initiatives that had ‘downsized’ corruption to a great deal.
Now with Ernst & Young Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey ‘officially’ declaring Malaysia as one of the most corrupt nations, it is futile for Najib and his team to deny or doubt the authenticity of the survey concerned.
And to try and convince the international audience that corruption will be a part of Malaysia’s past and not its future is not going to work, not until Najib allows the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission the ‘freedom’ to act against corrupt leaders like Taib Mahmud, Nazri Aziz and ShahrizatAbdul Jalil, just to name a few.
Likewise, creating a governance and integrity ministry is meaningless for typically, it is yet another ‘toothless tiger’ at work.
BN stays corruption stays
There have been one too many occasions that the BN government has failed the rakyat, especially when it comes to shouldering responsibility and displaying accountability for felonies like corruption.
The hangover from the fact that corruption has become endemic in Malaysia is long over. The rakyat has every right to question the government of the day over its refusal to tackle graft, as seen from cases involving not just the BN politicians but also their family members.
One such example is Culture and Tourism Minister, Nazri , who has shown no remorse or responsibility over his offspring’s misuse of tax payers money to indulge in a swanky lifestyle.
Nazri’s son, Nedim is reported to have purchased a RM7.2 million bungalow as revealed by Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) two days ago.
The bungalow is not the first. Nedim who was ‘chosen’ by dad Nazri as his ‘special officer’ in the ministry had also taken ‘ownership’ of a luxury car gifted to him by controversial businessman Michael Chia.
But as far as Nazri is concerned, Nedim has his blessings to do as he wishes with Nazri washing his hands off saying he did not have to keep tabs on his flamboyant son.
Nazri’s refusal to take responsibility over son Nedim’s dubious wealth brings to mind the denial by former Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat who claimed she had no clue as to her family’s ‘activity’ after it was revealed that her husband and three children who served as directors of National Feedlot Centre had misappropriated the RM250 million meant for a cattle raising scheme.
The examples of corrupt politicians disguising as leaders are far too many. It is they who continue to disgrace the nation through their unscrupulous doings, all which continue to go unpunished.
Until the ‘real’ culprits are punished, BN best not feign worry over the label it has earned the country, as one of the most corrupt.
In fact, the writing had always been on the wall and the survey merely gave voice to the painful truth that when it comes to fighting corruption, Malaysia has a long, long way to go.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.

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