- PM Saves the World
- Mind Your ‘Transformation’, Please!
- Making Corruption History – Cakap Kosong Je, ‘Jib!
- EC must call for GE13 re-election
- Malay History, Inferiority, and a Theory of Jealousy?
Posted: 29 Sep 2013 10:46 AM PDT
Posted: 29 Sep 2013 10:27 AM PDT
"Transformational" is getting to be a hollow word. And the Cabinet ministers who brandish it at will don't seem to understand its meaning. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi just showed he doesn't when he said the bringing back of detention without trial in the newly proposed Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Bill was "transformational". Was he using it simply to be in fashionable sync with the Government Transformation Programme?
Is something retrogressive transformational? Is a return to the provisions of the repealed draconian Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Internal Security Act (ISA) transformational? If it is so, then Malaysians are in for a big surprise. And a nasty one too.
Both acts were considered reprehensible to the public, and therefore the Government was forced to remove them. But that was before the 13th general election was called. Now that it's over, the Government apparently sees no more need in appeasing the public. Pre-election pledges have gone out the window.
A government that is transformational would not hark back to the dark days of Mahathir Mohamad's reign, when fear was the instrument used to keep people in line. It should instead be demolishing Mahathirism and restoring the damage done to our institutions. No wonder Mahathir is applauding the Bill and blaming the public for "not (being) that developed or educated to appreciate that the law is for their own good". But then, that's Mahathir. Always blaming other people. And always asserting that might is right.
The new Bill proposes detaining a suspect for an initial two years, after which period if a review finds that the suspect should be detained further, he will be held for a further two years. This could go on indefinitely in a series of two-year periods. In this sense, it is no different from the EO and the ISA.
The difference is that the detention order will now be decided by a three-member Crime Prevention Board headed by a judge. It will no longer be the decision of the home minister. The board's members will be appointed by the King – of course, at the recommendation of the prime minister.
The unjust part about it is that the suspect will not be allowed legal representation during the inquiry to decide whether he should be detained. And if the board decides to detain the suspect, he will not be provided the grounds for the detention.
Worse, the newly proposed Section 7C(a)(i) provides that one of the things the board shall consider when deciding on detention is that the suspect has previously committed two or more serious offences. It, however, would not matter if the suspect had been convicted of those offences or not. This gives immense power to the officers handling the inquiry, and subjects the suspect to their mercy.
If you consider that even criminals are human beings and should have rights, you would think twice about condemning them to such a bleak situation, especially when they are not even allowed to have a lawyer to represent them.
But Zahid assures us that despite all this, the Bill provides for a judicial review, i.e. if the suspect feels he has been wrongly detained, his lawyers "are given a chance to bring their case to court for a review".
This sounds good on paper, but in real-case situations, it would still disadvantage the suspect. First, the act of detention without trial takes away his right to being considered innocent till proven guilty. Second, if he were truly innocent and got hauled in by mistake, he would still have to spend time in detention while his case was being brought to the High Court. Nobody relishes such an ordeal.
Third, and perhaps most important, if the suspect is not provided the grounds for his detention, and the board is granted the option to decline providing any information to the court because it would be against the public interest to do so, how will the review be made?
Posted: 29 Sep 2013 10:21 AM PDT
In San Francisco recently, Prime Minister Najib confidently declared "to make corruption part of Malaysia's past, not its future." The man's delusion never ceases to amaze me. The reality is of course far different; corruption defines the Najib Administration.
Nonetheless if Najib is serious, then he should heed Tengku Razaleigh's call for Najib to declare his assets. Otherwise it would be, to put it bluntly in the vernacular, "Cakap kosong je 'Jib!" (Empty talk only!)
Tengku Razaleigh's suggestion, if implemented, would do far more good than all of Najib's lofty declarations of "changing organizational as well as business cultures" or creating "a new governance and integrity minister" and "elevating the anti-corruption agency." Malaysians have heard all those ad nauseum, not only from Najib but also his predecessors.
If after doing what Tengku Razaleigh had suggested Najib still aspires higher, he could begin by getting rid of those tainted individuals in his administration. Then if he is really committed to clean and effective governance, he should select only those with unquestioned integrity and solid accomplishments to be his new ministers and advisors.
As Najib is slow to grasp concepts, let me elaborate on those three simple suggestions.
Consider asset declaration. Najib does not need yet another highly-paid consultant advising him how to do it. There are plenty of effective models out there, including one recommended by the OECD. The simplest is the one used by American officials including the president, cabinet secretaries, and Supreme Court judges. It covers their spouses and all dependent children.
Here is President Obama's, available publicly at: docstoc.com/docs/156786412/Obama-Financial-Disclosure. The simple eight-page report lists his assets and income, transactions during the year, gifts received (he had none), liabilities (his home mortgage), and contracts he is a party to (his old faculty appointment).
Simple yet effective! As the declaration is filed annually, citizens could tract any sudden ballooning of assets, income, or extra-generous gifts that could prompt further enquiry, as well as monitor contracts and activities that could pose as potential conflict of interest.
Obama and his senior officials go further; they release their full income tax returns annually.
If Najib were to do likewise, rumors of his wife buying million-ringgit rings and getting extravagant gifts would not have arisen, indeed they were baseless.
If Najib's ministers were also to declare their assets, then we would not have the silly specter of a cabinet minister feigning ignorance of her husband's quarter-billion ringgit government-funded business, as Shahrizat tried to do recently. The pathetic part was that she truly believed that the public would buy her swiftly-concocted story.
Beyond publicly declaring his assets, if Najib aspires for a clean administration, then he should remove those tainted individuals in his administration. Since Najib is blind to reality, I will help him identify such proven shady characters.
Posted: 29 Sep 2013 10:05 AM PDT
Which is more important and critical in a democratic nation, a General Election or a political party election? From what we observed in this nation, political party like Umno and its component BN parties have been postponing their party elections due to an impending GE13 hovering between last quarter of 2011 to 2013. This indicates that General Election is more important and critical that over rides any matters in a political party.
The overwhelming perception is that the laws of this nation can be manipulated, misrepresented and realigned to suit those in power. As they are only perceptions we will not take them as face value and assume that no one is above the law and those in power are acting accordingly and abide by the law.
"RoS acted on the complaints of several disgruntled members who claimed the December election was not properly conducted after the party announced that a tabulation glitch had resulted in the wrong candidate being elected to the CEC." reported by The Malaysian InsiderAccordingly, RoS must have investigated the matter and came to the conclusion that DAP must hold a re-election. Their conclusion is not transparent without providing what exactly DAP has done wrong to insist that they hold a re-election but just base on complaints from a handful of members and an unverified anonymous handbook.
Posted: 28 Sep 2013 11:46 PM PDT
Interesting proposition although I did giggle silently uncontrollably reading it.
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