Khamis, 3 Oktober 2013

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Veep race blowing in the wind

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 12:50 AM PDT

The incumbents in the race for the Umno vice-presidency will have to brace themselves for what appears to be a mood to shake things up among the party's second echelon.

Joceline Tan, The Star

TAN Sri Mohd Isa Samad has been a household name in Umno, especially after he was made Felda chairman. But the pint-sized former Mentri Besar of Negri Sembilan is said to be struggling in the Umno vice-presidents (VP) race.

He is not alone because former Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is also not having an easy time.

Both are extremely well-liked in Umno. They are the classic people's politicians who have never for a moment forgotten that their position and status come from the Umno grassroots.

They may arrive for functions and events in chauffer-driven cars but once they start mingling they are just like the average Joe – everyone is treated like an old friend.

Little things like this matter a lot to Umno members and that is why one hears people saying kind things about Isa and Ali.

But the trouble is that the VPs are also known as the "second echelon" and Isa, at 63, and Ali, who is 64, are seen as having passed that stage.

However, Isa does not give up easily and he has said that he wants to use his experience to help the party win even better in the next general election.

He has told his audience that the VP line-up should be like the Umno slogan of dulu, kini dan selama-lamanya, with a mix of experience, the current and the future. He said he is not going for the post to become a minister and wants to be the VP voice of the Umno grassroots.

Ali's campaign is said to be drawing on his vast network of Belia 4B and World Assembly of Youth NGOs. He has been seen at lots of weddings and funerals and his successor in Malacca Datuk Idris Haron has organised a number of events to help him get into the news.

Ali has made it clear that he will be the voice defending Malay interests, Islam and the nation.

The pair's biggest hurdle is not age but the fact that the three incumbents Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal are seen as the "chosen ones" – they have the endorsement of the top leadership.

There is widespread talk that the top Umno leadership wants a status quo at the VP level and the three incumbents have put up a good show of comradeship by campaigning together on a number of occasions and speaking up for each other.

Everyone knows what it means to be endorsed by the top two and even Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the man that everyone in the party is talking about, is said to be quite worried.

Apart from using the official state Umno machinery, he has been relying on his Ansara old boys network to move around to speak at forums and dialogues.

The most positive buzz regarding Mukhriz's campaign is that he is running a clean campaign. Or as the Wanita Umno chief of one division put it, "he did not throw money".

However, some think that could also cost him some votes because there will always be people who complain about what they call salam kosong or empty-handed greetings.

The incumbents have been able to leverage on their positions as ministers to move around.

On Wednesday night, Hisham­muddin who is Defence Minister was in Seremban for a dinner gathering that was supposed to be a "briefing on national security". But those at the gathering thought he spent most of the evening appealing to them not to rock the boat in the Umno election.

He told them that the present VP line-up has worked well and they should not be tempted to change things. He reminded his audience that he had chaired the committee that came up with the new election system that had enabled more people to choose the Umno leaders.

Hishammuddin is said to be struggling among the three incumbents. However, most of the state Umno liaison chairmen seem to be rooting for him and he will probably get the endorsement of all 26 divisions in Johor.

But there seems to be a wind of change blowing through the VP race and it looks like the top leaders' wish for a status quo VP line-up may be lost in the wind. Many, including those who support a status quo, think that the Umno president should not only be fair, but be seen to be fair by not getting involved.

Meanwhile, Isa will be pleased to know that he will get the vote from Seremban Umno which is headed by the tough-talking Datuk Ishak Ismail. This is a major development because Isa and Ishak have been at each other's throats for decades.

But time heals and Ishak is ready to let bygones be bygones. The Lenggeng assemblyman apparently appreciates what Isa has done for Felda and praised Isa for staying loyal to Umno after he was sacked as a minister.

In fact, he reckons Isa will get the support of at least five of the eight divisions in Negeri Sembilan.

Ishak is known as a stern opponent of vote-buying and he has some quaint advice for candidates who do not wish to dabble in money politics.

"They should campaign in a sarung because when you wear a sarung, people know there are no pockets to keep money," he said.

He also carries a handphone that costs only RM80. Anyone looking at the basic handphone would know that he is not flushed with cash.

If only there were more people like Ishak during election time in Umno.


A-G Report opens can of worms

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 06:09 PM PDT

The rakyat in urban constituencies will continue to vent their frustrations through the ballot boxes unless efforts are taken by the Government to punish those who misuse taxpayers money.

Stephen Then, The Star

THE Auditor-General (A-G) has released yet another compilation of damning reports against numerous government and semi-government bodies, and corporate and government-linked companies in the country, listing out in detail internal hanky-panky involving the misuse of financial and material assets.

The latest reports released on Tuesday were just Part One. There will be two more portions.

Part One is already damaging enough, containing details of misdeeds involving millions of ringgit and implicating even the enforcement agencies.

Every year at this time, we citizens get to read about these hanky-panky being committed by those in high office.

We applaud the A-G and his department for doing their job in identifying these misdeeds and management weaknesses.

The rakyat are concerned and angry, and rightly so because much of these billions of ringgit being misused are from our taxes.

However, this abuse of money by those in public and corporate offices seems to be a pattern year in, year out.

The same abuse of monetary and material assets keep on happening year after year and yet no one has ever been arrested and prosecuted for these crimes.

The anti-corruption people and government politicians always react in the same tone that they will investigate and will take action.

They give the same reply every year but I cannot recall ever reading about anyone ever getting nailed or even hauled up for questioning.

Which is worse — the fact that billions of ringgit of our taxes are being wasted, misused, missing and siphoned by people in high places or the fact that these criminals are never brought to justice?

I think the people in the country are not just angry over this misuse of money by government departments and related agencies.

They are as angry with the fact that no one had ever been brought to court and prosecuted over these scandals.

These monetary scandals involved almost every government ministry, department, semi-government body, corporate body and government-linked company.

In the latest report, even the enforcement agencies like the police and customs are mentioned.

Past reports had also implicated the Road Transport Department and others.

The scandals involved improper payment of money, work done not according to specifications, missing cash and material assets worth millions of ringgit, low quality projects, unreasonable delays in terms of completing projects funded by taxpayers money, wastage and leakage of funds to mysterious channels and weaknesses in management of financial and material assets.

These scandals seem to be very widespread. Even in Sarawak, these problems are aplenty.

They are committed in the urban and rural regions.

A few years ago, the A-G mentioned something about the infamous Lapok Road project in Miri Division where several hundred million of ringgit in allocations given by the Federal Government meant for the repair and upgrading of the road had not been used for the purpose.

The Lapok Road is one of the worst roads in the state and country — muddy, slippery, full of potholes everywhere and risky for drivers of all sorts of vehicles.

Until today, the road is still being upgraded and the work rate is still slow.

Why was it that no one had ever been nabbed or questioned over the poor work rate?

The Lapok Road fiasco is just one of many instances where the rakyat feel victimised because public money had not been put to good use.

In other parts of the state, it is also a well-known fact that our roads are in very bad conditions.

Is there a possibility that some of those hired to repair or upgrade these roads are fleecing the Government by using low-quality materials?

They may be cutting corners by using diluted building materials and not following the stipulated conditions laid out in their contracts.

I have heard that some contractors blatantly defied the terms and conditions that they had agreed upon with the Works Ministry.

For example, contractors hired to carry out tar-sealing of a road must cover the road with at least six inches of tar-premix.

I have heard complaints about certain contractors who tar-sealed roads with only three inches of pre-mix and yet charged the Government for the cost of six inches.

They cut corners and earned an extra 50% of profit indecently.

They got away with this because of lack of ground inspection.

The project auditors were not doing their job. Maybe they were cohorts?

Personally, I have come across such dishonest misdeeds being committed by certain contractors hired to construct low-cost houses for the poor in the squatter resettlement schemes in Miri.

Two years ago, I wrote about how the family of a blind man had been fleeced by a contractor hired by the District Office to carry out urgent repairs to his house.

A Federal Government agency had allocated about RM1mil to the District Office to hire contractors to repair the houses of several dozens of very poor families in the city's outskirts, including the homes of several blind and handicapped people.

These contractors were supposed to repair the leaky roofs, rebuild walls that had cracked, replace old wirings and carry out other necessary repairs and they were allotted a sizeable sum of money for each house.

The blind man called me about a month after his house was repaired. He said his roof was leaking.

I went to inspect the house and found that the contractor had used second-hand zinc to repair the roofs.


He had also failed to repair the portion of the wall that was cracking.

He did not paint the inside of the house.

In other words, he had cheated this blind man by intentionally cutting corners and using second-hand materials.

I wrote a story about this case and there was immediate response from local politicians and a high-ranking government officer attached to a ministry in Putrajaya.

The high-ranking officer in and I brought him to inspect the blind man's house and he admitted that the contractor had not followed proper specifications.

Apart from an apology and then agreeing to do another round of repairs for the blind man, the cheating contractor was let off the hook.

That very same cheating contractor today can still be seen in the company of politicians in government functions.

The Barisan Nasional Government needs to understand that the rakyat want justice, and they want to see justice invoked and played out before their eyes.

They want to see crooks punished accordingly.

As far as the misuse of taxpayers money is concerned, the Government has not meted out justice.

Is there any wonder the rakyat are angry? They have already demonstrated their anger through the ballot boxes over the past two national elections.

Urban voters are particularly sensitive about these financial misdeeds.

Maybe rural voters are not perturbed, being concerned more about bread and butter issues but urban voters are definitely more demanding in issues concerning human rights, transparency and accountability on the part of those holding public office.

Unless efforts are taken by those in the Government to stop this abuse of taxpayers money and honest efforts taken to prosecute the culprits, the rakyat in the urban constituencies will continue to vent their anger through the ballot boxes.


Yes, there is a God

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 05:52 PM PDT

From RM200 million incinerators without knowing how to operate them, to wall clocks, scanners and "miscellaneous items" amounting to RM9 million – ie 7,200 times over budget to  throwing away custom-made shoes which did not meet specs to  RM1.6 million for K-Pop groups to RM1.26 million on charge cards to guns and handcuffs for the police gone missing to RM300,000 claims for a trip which cost less than RM50,000 to welfare aid "paid out" to people who have died to over priced CCTVs to spending RM320,000 on FB and Twitter. I can go on and on but you know the story already.

Mohsin Abdullah,

US POLITICIANS, presidents especially, love to end their speeches with "God bless America". I don't know about America but as far as Malaysia goes – well, God has indeed blessed this country of ours. In fact God "loves" Malaysia.

I mean how do you explain that despite all the wastages of public funds which runs into billions of ringgit (as highlighted by the Auditor-General's Report 2013 released on Oct 1), we are not or rather we have not gone "bust". Divine intervention, surely.

From RM200 million incinerators without knowing how to operate them, to wall clocks, scanners and "miscellaneous items" amounting to RM9 million – ie 7,200 times over budget to  throwing away custom-made shoes which did not meet specs to  RM1.6 million for K-Pop groups to RM1.26 million on charge cards to guns and handcuffs for the police gone missing to RM300,000 claims for a trip which cost less than RM50,000 to welfare aid "paid out" to people who have died to over priced CCTVs to spending RM320,000 on FB and Twitter. I can go on and on but you know the story already.
Other countries might have crumbled and gone bankrupt. But not us. We have God to thank for that and I am not being religious.
What's sickening is we have heard of "problems" before. In fact, many times before. Every AG's report for years has been exposing such blatant overspending and wastages. And we cringed each time we read the wastages and leakages revealed in the reports. And it became a case of which report is the worst.  
To consumer advocate Dr Jacob George, "the 2012 Auditor-General's Report presented to Parliament is nothing new in comparison to previous reports submitted to Parliament for the past 30 years".
And the word "wastage" wrote Dr George in his blog, "is far too politically abused – it should be reworded as 'criminal breach of trust'  instead".
We have seen in the past, task forces and "jawatankuasa khas" formed to probe and investigate. But all came to nought. Well to be fair, almost nought. And chances are we will see many more task forces and "jawatankuasa khas" be formed again with the same objective – probe and investigate. 
Ministers will (if they have not already) say out loud: "I've instructed my officers to leave no stones unturned." But chances are no one will be punished. No want will take responsibility. 
Hence I can't help but ask – if that being the case, why have such reports in the first place? Imagine how Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and his staff are feeling. After having gone through a lot of hardship and painstaking work to come up with such a report, only to see follow-up action wanting.
And what about us the rakyat – don't we deserve to see an end of these abuses? 
To DAP MP Teo Nie Ching, the question to ask is if the "report is serious or mere window-dressing?"
Yes, we know the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is already working on it. But the committee was at it previously, working on previous "exposé" but without much success. 
Another DAP MP, Lim Guan Eng, has suggested the setting-up of a high-powered three-man panel instead.
The three, said Lim, should be Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the AG Tan Sri Ambrin himself. 
This panel, as Lim sees it, can investigate and act against those found to have misused taxpayers' money.    
It's clear Lim does not have much confidence in the PAC dishing out enforcement as "it is controlled by the government given its 9:5 ratio" as far as member composition goes.




0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


Malaysia Today Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved