Monday, February 15, 2016

CORRUPTION IN MALAYSIA


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on February 15, 2016

1. There has always been corruption in Malaysia but for years after independence the scale was small. A country where corruption is rampant can never be developed. But Malaysia developed at a good rate.

2. At the time of independence Malaysia was a poor third world country. All development work was done by the Government through the JKR (Public Works Department) with its own staff.

3. But as Malaysia developed rapidly the Government machinery was unable to cope with the development of infrastructure such as roads and railways, Government offices and buildings and staff housing, generation of power and water supply, ports and airports, telecommunications etc. So contracts had to be given to the private sector.

4. The contest for contracts by the private sector created opportunities for corruption. The bigger the contracts the bigger would be the amount of illegal gratification offered.

5. However, the political leaders in the Government were not obviously involved initially. Then came Najib who believes in “Cash is King”. This is just another name for influencing decision on the basis of money to be gained for the decision makers. As the contracts grew bigger the leverage and decision of the decision makers became more valuable. Unscrupulous contractors would offer bigger and bigger amounts in order to get the contracts. It came to a stage when the decision maker accepts higher cost in order to include his sweetener for the contract. In fact many are aware of demands for 30% share in the project if the contracts are to be approved. Of course proxies are used. And the gratification for getting the contracts can go into billions of Ringgit. Government had to pay more than the real cost of the project.

6. The decision makers collect lots of money. Getting proofs or evidence for cases of corruption is very difficult. No contractor would come forward to give evidence because he would be marked and his business and future contracts would be affected. Good contractors may withdraw and so do good officers. But they would never come forward to give evidence especially when their bosses and powerful people are involved. The more powerful their bosses the less would they be inclined to make reports on corruption. The Government says it will protect whistle blowers but only if the person exposed are not powerful.

7. The best way for the anti-corruption commission to act would be to audit the life-style of the suspects. Are they living within their means? If it is beyond their means a thorough investigation must be made on all sources of income of the suspect.

8. Although the Commission is free and can investigate even the Prime Minister but an unscrupulous Prime Minister can frustrate the Commission in many ways. Malaysian Prime Minister, Ministers and high officials are not very highly paid but with all the perks such as housing, payment of water and electricity bills, traveling allowances, motor cars and even aeroplanes, they can have a decent life in keeping with their official status.

9. But if their life-style is lavish, owning luxurious homes and mansions in the country and abroad, their shopping involve buying of high priced things occupying crates and crates, their personal entertainment such as weddings etc very lavish and if they have money in the banks or elsewhere very much in excess of their sources of income, then it can safely be assumed that they may be in receipt of illegal gratification. The source of great wealth needs to be investigated by the authorities and institutions of the country.

10. The Inland Revenue Board was set up as an independent authority so that they can act without fear or favour. It is within their right to investigate everyone including the Prime Minister.

11. Of late we are seeing clear interference with the functioning of the Anti-Corruption Commission. Since the Board of Inland Revenue appeared not to be doing their duty in a case involving the Prime Minister, principally the ownership of the 2.6 billion Ringgit in his private account in Ambank, this amount of money is obviously beyond what a Prime Minister of Malaysia can have, investigations need to be made.

12. Because of the status of the Prime Minister concerned authorities set up a special powerful task force to investigate the source of this money. There was to be no fear or favour. The task force consist of the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Governor of the Central Bank and the Anti Corruption Commission.

13. Malaysia is fortunate in that officers of Government are professionals. They do not get involved in politics. They simply take orders from the elected Government. But what if the Government ask them to break the law? Well they did not think this would happen. But this has happened. They are in a quandary. But better obey orders than refusing orders and have to face unpleasant consequence.

14. Today Malaysia is listed among the 10 most corrupt countries in the world. No doubt the involvement of Dato Seri Najib in the formation and management of huge sums of borrowed money for 1MDB with clear support from the Government and the subsequent loss of a big portion of this money, the buying of Independent Power Plants at inflated prices, the commission of 10 per cent to Goldman Sachs as well as the interest rate at 5.9 per cent, the inability to repay the loans, the 2.6 billion Ringgit in Najib’s personal account, plus lots of other unsavoury stories and the publications in foreign press, lead to Malaysia becoming one of the 10 most corrupt in the world. Saying that it is all untrue and the Attorney General has cleared Dato Seri Najib does not carry water. Only a full investigation including the identification and questioning of the donor or donors, sources of income and the documentary evidence of money transfer to Najib’s account would clear the air.

15. The AG has no credibility at all after his dismissal of the reports by Bank Negara and the MACC. He proposes life imprisonment for leaking Government information – a sure indication that he is hiding the truth.

16. As a good Muslim he should swear on the Quran in a mosque witnessed by mosque officials and the public that the reports did not implicate Najib in any way. He should not try to cheat by vowing in his heart something else, and swearing aloud something else. That would be a double sin. He will go to a worse hell.

17. And the new publicity chief suggests I am doing this because I want to be arrested. That is as clear a warning as can be of the wish to arrest me.

18. And so Najib’s Cash is King creed must be promoted because it advocates corruption as a means of holding on to power. The country is now one of the 10 most corrupt countries but don’t say anything about 1MDB and the 2.6 Bilion Ringgit if you wish to remain free.