Little Napoleons and Little Hitlers?

27 07 2010


So much has been written about Little Napoleons in Penang recently. But are there Little Hitlers around?

We state clearly here that there are no Hitlers in Malaysia who would want to physically decimate anybody. Nor are there Hitlers in this country who would want to conquer and rule the world. But are there not those who, through the democratic process, would hope to rule Malaysia, even if through Muslim Malays they are in cahoot with, in recent times?

Our earlier post has discussed what racism is. The key element in racist attitudes is antagonism towards another race. Again, we state clearly that racists like Hitler wanting to get rid of another race do not exist in this country. But are there not those who would want to see the Malays as low as they possibly can in the economic, educational and social hierarchy, get them stuck where they are economically and educationally, deny them assistance under the New economic Policy, subvert the Malay Special Position by the so-called “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan, call Ibrahim Ali racist and want to start a Chinese Perkasa?

The following articles talk about the Little Napoleons. Let’s see the pros and cons in the arguments put forward, broaden our horizon and wonder if there are some kind of Hitlers also. The racist kind. Not necessarily the physically destructive kind.

Perhaps some expert can put out for our perusal here the theories and practice of the civil service as spelt out in established readers in bureaucracy. We are, unfortunately, not experts.

Bear in mind that one principle adopted by civil servants is that, unlike politicians who, when they disagree, should resign, civil servants, when they disagree, state their grounds for doing so, stay put and carry out the orders of their superiors or their political masters.

Clearly, impartiality is required of civil servants in normal situations. But this is a case involving State and Federal powers and jurisdictions. And they are on the opposing political spectrum.

While we are not in any way connected with or receive any form of support from the Government or any political party, we need to state our views concerning the so-called Little Napoleons.

The pertinent point it seems to us is: the State Development Officer is responsible to the Chief Secretary of the Federal Government and the Chief Secretary is responsible to the Federal Government, not the State Government of Penang.

The State Development Officer’s job is to implement, oversee and report on the progress of Federal Government projects carried out in the State. Projects using Federal Government funds.

A pertinent question is: Is the State Development Officer’s post a Federal post, expenses borne by the Federal Government etc, or the State of Penang. Naturally the principle that applies is: who pays gets the loyalty of who gets paid. Or, the State Development Officer serves, and has to show loyalty to, his paymaster.

No doubt opinions vary. Not without the cloud of political interest and exploitation to suit the political objective(s) of interested parties. The poor Government servant. Sometimes made to be pawns in the political game. But the Officer who is worth his salt knows which side his bread is buttered. So did the State Secretary of Perak in the Perak Sate Government saga some time back.

Let’s discuss these. Everyone is welcomed to participate in the discussion, both in English and in Bahasa Malaysia. Discussing it can broaden our perspective and alert us to the weaknesses among Malaysians of all races and caution us against the pitfalls so that we can avoid them. We need to do so for long-term harmony and peace in this country.


A gross violation of the civil service code

The Penang Nik Ali fiasco

By Thomas Lee Seng Hock
2010-07-20 19:56

The current spat between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the state development officer Nik Ali Mat Yunus highlights a fundamental flaw in the Malaysian civil service.

In the democratic system of government, of which Malaysia professes to practise, the civil service is a politically non-partisan and neutral body, with all its officers supposed to function and operate impartially in the implementions of the policies, programmes, and projects of the elected government.

Artcile 132 of the Federal Consitution states that federal civil servants hold office at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and state civil servants at the pleasure of the respective Sultan. Which means that the civil servants are not beholden to any political party but to His Majesty’s government of the day. His Majestic is above politics, and so must all those civil servants appointed under his royal command and name.

As is supposed to be the practice, a change in the government after a general election is not supposed to affect the administration and public service of the nation or a state as the civil service’s loyalty is absolutely with His Majesty’s elected government of the day.

The fundamental flaw in Malaysia is that civil servants think they are officers of the Barisan Nasional, specifically Umno, and even with a change of government at the state level, they operate as if Umno is the authority and Umno leaders their bosses, taking orders only from Umno.

Such a dangerous attitude borders on sedition, as if it could be interprete to mean the civil servants are not serving His Majesty’s elected government, but taking order from those not authorised constitutionally to give them.

The very fact that Nik Ali participated at a press conference called by Umno and used it to launch an unwarranted and unjustified verbal attack on the chief minister is a gross violation of his status as a non-partisan and neutral civil servant.

The fundamental integrity and probity of the civil service have been desecrated by Nik Ali’s involvement in the political press conference initiated by an Umno state assembly member, something not to be taken lightly by the Cabinet and the Public Service Commission.

Nothing less than an appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against Nik Ali for such a serious case of lese majeste. And he should be made to apologise to His Majesty for exposing the civil service to ridicule and derision, and to the chief minister.

Guan Eng, and perhaps also the other Pakatan Rakyat state chief executives like Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of Selangor, has been facing a lot of difficulties in the running of the state government due to uncooperative civil servants whose loyalty is apparently to Umno.

In the Nik Ali case, Guan Eng has no choice but to publicly reprimand the federal officer for allegedly not being accountable and responsible for his mistakes which affect the well-being of the state.

“These officials get high pay and do nothing for the people and instead cost losses. We hope he can be more professional,” Guan Eng was quoted as saying by various newspapers.

Guan Eng has also claimed that Nik Ali tried to sabotage the state government openly and blatantly. On this allegation, the very fact that Nik Ali was at an Umno press conference with prepared media statements to lambast the chief minister proves that Guan Eng is telling the truth.

Obviously, Nik Ali has failed as a senior civil servant to exercise his impartiality and neutrality when he allowed himself to be used by Umno to attack Guan Eng, calling the chief minister rude.

If the Najib administration truly professes to practise the “People first” concept, then justice must be done and seen to be done for the people of Penang, who elected Lim Guan Eng as their chief minister, by taking disciplinary action against the federal officer who violated the sacred principle of impartiality in the civil service.

That is the least Datuk Seri Najib Razak should do to show the people that he is a fair, just and righteous prime minister, worthy of their respect.


Decline in moral accountability?
The Penang Nik Ali fiasco

By Thomas Lee Seng Hock
2010-07-22 18:01

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan has made himself look very foolish by asking whether it is wrong for civil servants to attend functions held by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, as he is the DAP secretary-general.

Sidek is apparently trying to justify the presence and participation of Penang state development officer Nik Ali
Mat Yunus at an Umno press conference, where the officer verbally lambasted Guan Eng and issued prepared press statements to criticize the chief minister.

I am simply amazed that the country’s top civil servant doesn’t even understand the simple basic difference between a government and a political entity, and respect the very important fundamental principle of impartiality and neutrality of the civil service.

Of course, civil servants have every right to accompany the chief minister or any minister to any function required by their duty to do so. When they attend and participate at such official state functions, including a state-initiated media conference, they are merely doing their job as civil servants serving the elected government of the day. They are not involved in partisan political activities, even though the chief minister or any other minister may be a leader of a political party.

When Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng holds a media conference and has the state secretary with him to brief the press on matters of the state, the state secretary is not violating the civil service code by being there. In fact, it is his duty to be there to help the chief minister answer questions from the press.

But if DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng attends a Teoh Beng Hock memorial service held by his party, a civil servant can only be there in his private personal capacity as Beng Hock’s friend. He cannot be there on duty as civil servent accompanying Guan Eng.

In Nik Ali’s case, he is definitely wrong to attend and participate in a press conference called by Umno to run down the chief minister. He has broken the sacrosanct cardinal principle of the impartiality of the civil service, and must face disciplinary action for it.

It is simply beyond comprehension that Sidek as Chief Secretary to the Government should endorse such a crude and uncouth behaviour and unconstitutional action by a senior civil servant.

Sidek has put himself in a very embarrasing position by giving a very silly comparison of himself holding a press conference together with the prime minister, and that of Nik Ali’s participation of the Umno press conference.

“Is it be wrong if I hold a media conference with Datuk Seri Najib Razak? If it is his job as the prime minister and my job as the chief secretary, then it is not wrong I hold a press conference with him,” Sidek said.
Of course, it is not wrong! It is his job as chief secretary to serve the prime minister and accompany him if so required.

But Nik Ali’s case is defintely not the same. As a civil servant, he should be non-partisan and should not be involved in politicking with Umno.

If Sidek does not understand such a simple distinction between what is government and what is politics, he is not fit to be the country’s top civil servant.

And, even assuming that Nik Ali is a victim of harassment by the chief minister, there is a proper official channel for him to file his grievance and complaint — to the Public Service Department head. Why should Nik Ali use, or rather allowed himself to be used, by a political party to launch an attack on the chief minister?

It is certainly ominous, in fact even sinister, that Nik Ali should chose to use a political vehicle to rucn down the chief minister elected by the people of Penang.

And, it surely is baleful that we have a Chief Secretary to the Government who would condone and absolve a senior civil servant from making political attacks against an elected government head.

The fact that Sidek has announced that no action would be taken against Nik Ali for his verbal assault on the chief minister deserves my commiseration to my fellow Malaysians for the decline in moral accoutability in our beloved country.

And, while I am still on this Nik Ali issue, I would like to comment on another ridiculous statement, this time by Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan who condemned Guan Eng for the fiasco.

Teng alleged that Guan Eng was out to gain political mileage and strengthen his position to garner more votes and support from the public in the next general election.

It is certainly ludicrous that Teng should make such a preposterous statement, but, seeing that he is from Gerakan, it is not surprising since most of its leaders are incongruously inept and lack the intelligence, let alone intellect, to understand basic issues affecting the people.

Teng and the imbeciles in Gerakan should throw in the towel and retire permanently from Penang since they are of no relevance and pertinence in the state.

They should stop making themselves look inane with their vacuous statements.

MySinchew 2010-07-22


Speed and accuracy

Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE

2010-07-22 18:17

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng have both mentioned about “Little Napoleon” recently.

Najib reminded civil servants not to become Little Napoleons who do not understand innovation. Meanwhile, Lim lashed out at a Little Napoleon who refuses to cooperate with and makes things difficult for the state government.

No matter what kind of Little Napoleons they are, they will hinder the country’s development as they always take some casual words of their superiors and use them as having the authority of an order. Some people are just taking the advantage to make troubles as the PM and CM are too busy to monitor them.

The reason for the increasing number of Little Napoleons is due to the delayed rectification for the public delivery system, which leaves a space for Little Napoleons to abuse their power.

From Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Tun Abdullah Badawi, and then to Najib, the federal government has always been trying to improve public services.

Najib has highlighted 10 issues, including how to enhance the country’s public delivery service with 445 political and business elites and professionals when they had a dialogue on the 2011 Budget.

If the country wishes to transform into a high-income economy, its administrative efficiency must not remain at the middle level.

According to the 2010 investigation by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) based in Hong Kong, the administrative efficiency of Malaysia has scored 6.97 points and ranks the middle position among 12 countries and regions. Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are ranked above Malaysia.

The failure of enhancing the administrative efficiency over all these years is related to the government and leaders’ requirements. Whenever they talk about efficiency improvement, they have only one standard: to speed up services.
For example, the Immigration Department has sped up the passport approval process from the previous seven days to the current one hour. And those who lost their MyKad can obtain on-the-spot replacements at the Putrajaya National Registration Department.

Other government departments are also taking the speed-up challenge. The Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia has shortened the approval time for new company registration from three days to one hour while 166 national courts has adopted four electronic systems to shorten the time of trial.

In addition to the pursuit of speed, administrative efficiency should actually also include implementing strict discipline, reducing bureaucracy, avoiding making mistakes, making accurate and feasible decisions, eliminating waste, possessing ability to plan and deal with an emergency and enhancing service attitude.

For example, the policy requiring the public to purchase fuel with MyKad was a wrong decision. As a result, the government has wasted RM70 million to buy MyKad readers. Also, the Election Commission (EC) had spent RM2 million on indelible ink, but its use was later cancelled. Has any related civil servant been punished for it?

The prime minister should conduct a government administrative efficiency workshop to identify an key performance indicator (KPI) for the effectiveness of the 1.2 million civil servants.

Nowadays, competitions are not limited to only in terms of speed, but also accuracy and professionalism. For example, it is not going to work to only improve speed for government hospitals as diagnostic errors can lead to death. Also, no matter how fast the service of the Immigration Department is, computer system errors must still have to be fixed as quickly as possible. All administration officials should be aware of this.

Sin Chew Daily
MySinchew 2010-07-22




17 responses

27 07 2010

Aiyyo, ini pun mau gaduh ka? Mau bully ka? Itu olang makan gaji punya, kasi dia cali makan la. Jangan mau hantam sama dia. Angkat politik punya olang hantam la. Manyak susah punya olang.

29 07 2010
SSS Admin


It appears to be a matter of politics and may be a question of who started what and the channel of communication to air grievances.

The State UMNO Deputy Chairman said that the Penang Chief Minister “should not have tarnished Nik Ali’s reputation in public. He has degraded the Chief Minister’s Office by lashing out at a federal officer”. The Chief Minister should have taken the matter with the State Secretary or with the Director General of the Public Services Department or Chief Secretary to the Government.

True, there was bound to be disagreements between State and Federal policies or on bureaucratic procedures in all states, but such matters were usually resolved internally without going to the public. In this instance, the Gerakan State Chairman may be right in that the Chief Minister might have wanted to make political capital out of it. The Chief Minister had used the media to condemn the State Development Officer on several occasions. He even tweeted about Nik Ali. “The whole world can now read about his displeasure with the guy who is only a civil officer. Why pick on him?” the UMNO State Deputy Chairman asked.

28 07 2010

when talk about speed n acuracy in govt. with In addition to the pursuit of speed, administrative efficiency should actually also include implementing strict discipline, reducing bureaucracy, avoiding making mistakes, making accurate and feasible decisions, eliminating waste, possessing ability to plan and deal with an emergency and enhancing service attitude. bear that the public must obey/ follow rules n regulation. not crying loud blamed blantantly to cover own mistakes &/ agendas.

29 07 2010
SSS Admin


Agreed that there should be speed and accuracy in Government administrative efficiency. But there should be a good balance between speed and efficiency to achieve accuracy always. There have been cases of wrong computer inputs and “garbage in, garbage out” is the result. Strict discipline not only helps reduce mistakes and wastage, it can contribute to corruption control. Malingering and “curi tulang”, or “work smart” as some cunning smart alecs call it, is also a form of corruption.

Bureaucracy bloats in size when there is no proper job specification or list of duties written and clearly spelt out to all members of staff. These may be lacking in Government ministries and departments; large companies in the private sector always have them. Each and every aspect of tasks assigned should be estimated in terms of time taken to do them, especially on tasks not much involving inputs by others. Those inputs by others would not involve much delays if the performance of every member of the staff is properly monitored. Officers at the higher level must maintain decorum in behaviour and attitude with subordinate staff such that they get the proper respect, would not be taken for granted and subordinate staff would perform their work well. Decisions on staff increases must be based on clearly worked out schedules of duties and deliberate estimates of time taken for the required functions to be carried out, not on the basis of frequent delays in work done.

But the case of the Penang State Development Officer does not appear to be one of accuracy, speed and efficiency. The UMNO State Deputy Chairman has mentioned in his statements to the press that the SDO even works seven days a week. Politics may have a role in the spat with the Chief Minister.

28 07 2010

WHY not no respect for Chief Miniter? He is boss in the state. The governer is in name only. If Nik Ali is officer in the state, respect teh Chief Minister lor.

29 07 2010
SSS Admin


Yes, he is the boss in the state. The view has been expressed that that is the very reason why he should have acted in decorum, befitting his status as Chief Minister. It has been pointed out that he should have dealt with either the State Secretary, or the Director of the Federal Public Services Department, or the Chief Secretary to the Federal Government before going to the press. If he had done those and did not get an acceptable solution to the problem, then he could use the press to air his grievances. Then he would have got the sympathy of the public.

The bureaucracy has a well-established set of administrative procedures, rules and regulations that were started since British colonial times. Politicians have ruled this country and used the services of the Government Officers since Merdeka over 50 years ago. They cannot be dismissed willy nally as the senior or “gazetted Government Officers” are confirmed in their appointment or dismissed at the pleasure of the YDP Agong. A long process of enquiry and disciplinary procedure has to be followed before dismissal is recommended to the YDP Agong.

The easiest way out is to have an Officer not acceptable to a politician because of differences in opinion on issues transferred elsewhere. Then again, it cannot be at the whim and fancy of politicians. Usually quiet diplomacy and firm but private presentation of each other’s stand and the relevant explanations would do the job. But once the press has been used, the natural tendency is to harness one’s defences and stick out one’s ground. Nothing may be achieved thereby, except the appearance that the boss has not been handling the matter well. It is a question of who went to the press first airing his grouses.

28 07 2010
Ex-Government Officer

Does this Thomas Lee Seng Hock know what he is talking about? Has he checked the facts and the lines of responsibility of the State Development Officer (SDO)? Is he supporting the DAP? He should nevertheless have checked with the appropriate authorities and report the facts pertaining to the position of the SDO. Instead of ranting on civil service code and the like.

“Artcile 132 of the Federal Consitution states that federal civil servants hold office at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and state civil servants at the pleasure of the respective Sultan”. That may be true in the case of States having their own State Civil Service and their Sultan like Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu and Johor. Still, there is the State Civil Service Commission responsible for the appointment, the transfer and the sacking of such Officers.

What about states that comprise the former Straits Settlements like Malacca and Penang, which do not have Sultans but have Governors, instead? These States are usually manned by Federal Officers i.e Officers borne on the Federal Establishment, appointed by the Federal Public Services Commission, terms of service regulated by the Public Services Department and responsible ultimately to the Chief Secretary to the Federal Government. The fact so far there is only one case like that of Nik Ali shows the Officers have been serving well where they have been no disputes. Usually politicians take the advice of the civil servants but I will refrain from commenting about the PR politicians.

Has the writer checked whether the Penang SDO is on the Penang State Civil Service List, if there is one, borne on the State Establishment, paid by the State Treasury, etc? Or whether he is on the Federal Establishment?

Even in the former “Unfederated Malay States” of Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu and Johor, which have their own State Civil Service, there are Federal posts in the State agreed to between the State and the Federal Governments since a long time ago, for the purpose of co-ordinating development on matters that affect the nation as a whole. To ensure State comformity, for example, with the National Land Code. Hence the Director of Land and Mines and the Officers in charge of land matters in the District Offices in those States are Federal posts. They used to be Federal Officers occupying those posts but in recent times, the Federal Establishment has agreed to State Officers occupying some of them.

The same goes for the SDO post. It is therefore necessary to check whether the Penang SDO is a Federal Officer or not. The fact that the Chief Secretary to the Federal Government has come out in support of him suggests that he is a Federal Officer. If so, he is ultimately responsible to the Chief Secretary and the Federal Government. He should co-operate with the State Government in co-ordinating Federal Government projects in the State but, when there are differences in opinion or approach, he has to follow the guidelines set up for his post – the guidelines must have been there since Merdeka over 50 years ago.

29 07 2010
SSS Admin

Ex-Government Officer,

Thank you for the clarification. We have been advised that there are various levels of committees and promotion boards in government service and that promotions of civil servants up to a certain Superscale level are normally done by the top three civil servants of the country headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government. This implies that selection of Officers to fill important posts is a serious business and is not likely to be done in any careless or snapshot way.

It is not known what level is the Penang State Development Officer. It is believed that he is a Superscale Officer who has had quite a lot of experience working in various capacities and in many places before he could reach the position of Head of a Department in the state of Penang. This suggests that there was some pretty strong reasons for him to do what he did or did not. Additionally, there was the State Secretary whose advice he must have sought. It is unimaginable that he did not consult the State Secretary and the Public Services Department would have been daft if they have sent an Officer not sensitive to the possibilities of differences arising on policy or approach towards development and being prepared for them, Penang being ruled by Pakatan Rakyat.

We have not read about the comments of the State Secretary on the matter and would only speculate to ourselves as to who is the Little Napoleon and who is the Little Hitler, if any, in this case. However, there is the earlier comment that a lot may depend on who first started airing his grievances to the press. Hardball diplomacy is never done through the press. So is hard-headed problem solving.

28 07 2010

Ala.. since when the gomen follows the Perlembagaan regarding the use of Bahasa Kebangsaan? Just because someone is very fond of Mandarin, the gomen wants to put the Constitution at the back seat ka?

Since when gomen respected the law in full? Just because someone likes TBH’s girl friend, her “dont know who the father was” child got legitimate name, a special gift from gomen.

Since when the gomen respects the Constitution regarding our education? Just because someone want to fathered the vernacular school i.e. Bapak Vernacular, the gomen is gragging their feet in this SSS campaign, supposed to build this nation appropriately according the the Constitution. Get some more tax payer money to hand out to vernacular schools!

You rakyat, dont make this country bankrupt by pressing for subsidies. Let the big thieves do their businesses with their 48 peti besi!

29 07 2010
SSS Admin


The matter of Chinese schools being allowed to use Mandarin as the medium of instruction is at times exasperating. Mandarin can be learnt as an elective subject in national schools where Bahasa Malaysia is the medium of instruction. The Chinese schools can switch to BM as its medium of instruction and Mandarin studied as an elective subject. Mandarin is necessary for doing business in China but surely it does not require such proficiency as to have Mandarin as the medium of instruction in schools. In any case, proficiency in Mandarin must not be at the expense of proficiency in BM, the National Language.

Reuters News Agency reported a few days ago that the Chinese in southern China were protesting the attempts to sideline the use Cantonese in favour of Mandarin. It clearly shows that even in mainland China the Government insists on the use of their national language, Mandarin. In Malaysia, BM is the National Language and the Government should insist on it. The fact that it was allowed since Merdeka doesn’t mean that it is right. We need to keep pointing this out until a strong and firm leader emerges to sort this matter out.

Those insisting on Mandarin as the medium of instruction in Chinese schools would appear to be the Little Napoleons. They have a disregard for the Constitution which clearly states BM as the National Language and want to go on with their own agenda which, in the process, subverts and puts down public respect for the National Language.

28 07 2010

Some notes about school in UK and Our early education system

29 07 2010

Both are wrong, la. The Chief Minister should talked to the State Secretary – he is the administrative boss isn’t it? The State Dev Officer should not go with a prepared press statement to UMNO press conference if that infomation is correct.

wonder what position Jeffry Ooi is. He went to UMNO press conference and saying some things.

30 07 2010
SSS Admin


Well, two wrongs don’t make one right and the case became unresolved. The opinion that he who first started airing his grouse through the newspapers had wronged appears valid. The going to the political party’s press conference with a prepared statement, if true, appears to be countering the politicising of the case by another politicising act.

If Jeffry Ooi’s status is that of a Government Officer, it is certainly not in order for him to have gone to the UMNO press conference and making demands. If his status is that of a politician representing the Chief Minister, it still was strange for him to be there, unless invited – which was not likely. The question still remains: was that intended to be an exercise to gget political mileage by the Chief Minister when he found the irritants he saw in the actions and / or omissions of the State Development Officer eating into him.

29 07 2010

Government Officers have the right to exercise their discretion in many instances. They interpret policies drawn up by the politicians, and – in the case of the New Economic Model – consultants, apply their discretion in the implementation of those policies. Sometimes they are the ones who draft the policies, usually in consultation with the political masters, put them up to the Minister or Cabinet to decide and then implement them. There are always areas where discretion is required during implementation and the Officers apply their discretion where relevant.

Sometimes the politicians decide even on implementation, especially on major projects. In recent years more and more projects are decided by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department. Projects are done on what was known as turn-key basis – propose, design, write out the specification and carry out the construction work, all by one and the same party. A lot depends on the discretion of the professionals employed in the project – certification of standards of design, construction, etc. Their integrity and their license to practice. Maybe a lot of room for Little Napoleons as well as big Napoleons under that system. Prices are negotiated. No tender is involved.

The Public Works department of the Ministry of Works, the traditional implementors of Government projects have been reduced to handling only relatively smaller projects. Under their system, they do the design, write out the specification, call for tenders, award the contract and supervise the construction. Not much room for Little Napoleons there.

29 07 2010

When politicians decide on projects, big money involved huh?

Today news Tun Lee Liong Sik was charged in court for big time corruption on the Port Klang Free Zone project. From RM 2 billion to RM 4 billion and some people say now the project cost even RM12 billion. Crazy.

But good Najib starts prosecuting big fish. If he has the dirty big guns hauled to court one after another until the general elections, he’ll score very high marks at PRU13. Mark my words fellas.

31 07 2010
SSS Admin


When “privatisation” started, projects became bigger. The country progressed remarkably well; so did those who secured privatisation projects. Privatisation was where a group proposes to carry out, say, a toll road, and gets paid only from the proceeds of toll collection, like the North-South Highway. They proposed the terms of reference, did the survey, proposed the road alignment, designed the entire engineering works, wrote the specification, proposed the toll system and rates, drew up the contract and highway operation maintenance etc. When agreed, they did all the work, managed by their construction managers, supervised by their surveyors and engineers, overseen by the Highway Development Authority. Such projects involved hundreds of million Ringgit. Now, there are projects that are valued at several billions Ringgit. How much goes to kickbacks – only those involved in kicking and backing know. And of course, God knows.

No tenders were / are involved. Previously the decision was by the Director General of the Economic Planning Unit who reported directly to the Prime Minister. Now The DG reports to a Minister in charge of the EPU. There have been many allegations of corruption against the Minister. His staff member was brought to court for corruption recently but MACC lost the case.

Tun Ling Liong Sik was brought to court not for corruption but for “cheating the Government”. Imagine that. How bad affairs of state have become in this country. Of course many would ask, what about those others said to be cheating and corrupt but not brought to court. But this is a good start. A Minister accused of downright cheating and evidence enough to be brought to court and prosecuted by no other than the Attorney General. The first time a Tun got prosecuted, too.

He declared to Cabinet the land price in PKFZ higher than what the Government Valuation Department had advised him, a figure he omitted telling, the higher figure he told Cabinet certainly contributed to the project cost soaring high. But there have been many accusations of corruption in the PKFZ scandal. No corruption charges have been preferred and the public is awaiting for that.

Agreed that if Dato Seri Najib initiates or consents to the bringing to court the big fishes in terms of outright corruption charges, his image would zoom up at PRU13; big fish prosecution conceivably requires his clearance. We note that when in PRU11 Tun Abdulah had anti-corruption as a campaign platform, he won handsomely, retaining the two thirds Parliamentary majority. The public really has been fed up with corruption, anxiously awaits and eagerly endorses anti-corruption moves by the Government. Both Little and Big Napoleons are involved in the corruption scourge.

30 07 2010
SSS Admin


Indeed there are many areas in the implementation of policies which require the discretion of Government Officers. Those who are in what is designated as Division One all have discretionary powers. We have been told that these days all of them are University graduates, some having second degrees, even doctorates of philosophy or PhDs. The Administrative and Diplomatic Service (ADS) is said to be the elites of the Civil Service. In British colonial times, they were called the Malayan Civil Service (MCS), a coveted title that, after Merdeka, Malayans appointed to the service began to have. Since British times, it was a pride to have that professional title placed after the Officer’s name but ceased to be so with the advent of honorary titles like PJKs, PIS, AMNs, Datoships etc.

However, professionalism among the ADS continued. Corruption exists among the Division One Officers but very few among the ADS Officers. For example, we were advised on enquiry that the Director General of Immigration who was arrested with a lot of cash on his person and at his home was a Superscale Division One Officer but belonging to the Immigration Service, not the Administrative and Diplomatic Service that the Penang State Development Officer belongs to. By and large, the ADS has high integrity and the occurence of Little Napoleons among them is extremely rare except perhaps among Little Hitlers.

But Little Napoleons in the context of innovation as referred to by Dato Seri Najib do exist – the word innovation itself suggests new elements in the conduct of administrative affairs and it denotes technology, modernism, etc. Innovation in the context of “regulatory environment, to sustain economic growth”. Still, where policies vary from the established norm, like various aspects of the 40 year-old New Economic Policy in the New Economic Model, discretion in implementation does get applied where relevant. After all, policies are always subject to interpretation and Administrative Officers are the tools for implementation.

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