Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Pak Lah has repeatedly said that he will institute reforms to fight corruption, a disease that is so well entrenched in Malaysian politics, and UMNO politics in particular. The disease have permeated the UMNO grassroots, to the extend that even Tun Mahathir had once remarked that UMNO members worth is a mere RM 200. His remarks came after being rejected to represent his division, to the general assembly a few years ago.

The latest revelation by the President of Transparency International Malaysia, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam clearly puts Pak Lah's reforms (if there was any) to naught. Over just a year, Malaysia has slid from 43rd to 47th place in ranking of 180 countries. The words of Tan Sri Ramon is even more drastic when he said that "what the government has done so far to eradicate corruption has failed to make an impact". Little wonder, Pak Lah has persistently insisted that he stays until 2010, supposedly to ensure his reforms are in place, before he makes his honorable exit.

Personally, having spoken to so many people in business, I believe Pak Lah's reform to fight corruption will change nothing. Just ask any non UMNO bumiputra businessman, and the common answer that one gets is that they need UMNO patronage, and a strong link to the minister's office is a prerequisite. This is the reality that many non UMNO bumiputra businessman has to go through, and their past experience and performance is irrelevant, to get them a government contract.

I was informed recently by an aspiring non UMNO bumiputra businessman that his proposal for a government contract was simply 'highjacked' by someone in a ministry, and awarded to some cronies without having to go through an open tender process, and for a price that is more than 200%, the price offered by the aspiring non UMNO bumiputra businessman. The contract requires specialised technical expertise which the non UMNO bumiputra businessman has, but unfortunately, such expertise is found to be irrelevant by the person awarding the contract, in this particular instant. He is very sure that this contract will fail, and the result will be a disastrous one, not only in terms of the money spent, but more importantly, it will cost lives..

The above is just one example of how people in authority cheat their way to enrich themselves, regardless of whether the contract is fulfilled or otherwise, and I believe there are many more similar cases. We have seen blunders made, and with millions in loss of public fund. One example that I can think of is the infamous ship building for the RMN by the Amin Shah, whose soul is no longer in this country today. And the most unfortunate thing about this blunder is that the culprit get away so easily, and blame 'kept in the closet', so conveniently.

Honestly, I do not know where this country is heading, in terms of fighting corruption, and to rid itself of cronyism, in the award of government contracts to non UMNO bumiputra businessman. And with the present state of affairs, nothing will change, even if we give Pak Lah another 100 years to govern this country.

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