What transparency?

UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the BN Youth Chief wants the Government to be transparent in their awards and projects issued, to attract for foreign investors and players into the country. The Rembau MP also believed that these investments and participations would be a boost for the Government achieving the ‘New Economic Model’.

The Star report on this:

Published: Thursday August 26, 2010 MYT 11:49:00 AM

Transparency needed to lure quality foreign investors, says Khairy

By ZUHRIN AZAM AHMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: Transparency in awarding government projects is the only way to get quality foreign investors into the country, said Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said while it was important that the Government created opportunities, it was equally vital to be transparent in giving out projects.

“If we are ready to show that opportunities are given to the best companies, it has to be done in an open manner.

“Project such as the (development of Sungai Besi) airbase or the MRT system, we must demonstrate how they were given out,” he said in a forum on the 10th Malaysia Plan – Bridging The Political Divide here on Thursday organised by The Leaders magazine.

“This is how it should go for the Government.”

Khairy also said time for “sweetheart deals” and providing guarantees to companies to cover the possibility of losses was long gone.

“We should no longer be providing guarantees. We cannot afford to bail out companies now,” he said.

“We also should no longer promote the country as a location for investment with everything the cheapest instead we should offer things that are of high value.”

Khairy also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had not backtracked on the New Economic Model (NEM) due to pressure from Malay-based non-governmental organisation.

“That is certainly not the reason. The model is still with (Datuk) Idris Jala (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) and at the final stage,” he added.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who spoke earlier said despite the talk about transparency, many projects had been given out without much information

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What transparency is he talking about?

Maybe Khairy has conveniently forgotten that most of us actually did not forget; He was an integral part of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s regime which made where and what this country is, today.

Malaysia was a prosperous and promising nation where all the business sectors were doing well, inter and intra ethnic and grouping relations were very good, the integral co-relation between Government and industries and private sectors were cohesive under the ‘Malaysia Inc’ and almost all Malaysians were bullish about able to achieve anything with the ‘Malaysia Boleh’ spirit. There were a lot of liquidity in the market and Government was able to fulfil all its commitments to projects already planned, initiated and being carried out, for the progress of the nation under various social and economic development programs.

Suddenly came PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah. Within two weeks of him taking over from Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, he already cancelled projects meant to stimulate the economy such as the ‘double tracking railway system’. A new manner of economic planning and decision making was formed in the Prime Minister’s Private Office known as ‘Level Four Boys’, where previous work done by various agencies such as the Economic Planning Unit and Implementation and Co-ordination Unit under the Prime Minister’s Department was taken over. Since PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah also was the Finance Minister, some of the decisions of the Treasury was taken over by these ‘Level Four Boys’.

Of course the Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop had his ‘reign of terror’, especially in the restructuring of the GLCs (previously, there was no term “GLC”. It is a term adopted from Singapore!). Khazanah Holdings Bhd. was restructured and so were all Federal Government investments. All the GLCs had a new focus; make money and bring ‘Return of Investments’ instead of serving the nation first, as what these GLCs were initially set up as Government agencies and later corporatised and turned private, which include IPOs.

Then the dismantling of other programs and projects such as the systematical slow death of Proton and the invocation of the ‘National Automotive Policy’, believed to be initiated by Ethos Consulting and Co. Of course by this time (mid 2005), the Federal Government had this fondness of hiring consultants which include foreign firms like McKinsey, Hays, BCG etc (being masquareded under the auspicious of new and upcoming indigenous firms) to evaluate, re-structure/re-strategize/re-package/re-branding, plan and form ‘blue prints’ of all sorts of’ ‘economic and transformation agendas’, to take the function of the Government planning arms such as EPU, ICU, MOF and others.

The same time, ‘economic corridors’ were born. First with South Johor Economic Region (then known as Iskandar Development Region), Nothern Corridor Economic Region and Eastern Corridor Economic Region. Big buzz words, exorbitant targets and fancy strategic jargons were thrown around as if it was a series of mega TV movie series made by James Cameron teaming up with Sir Richard Attenborough and Oliver Stone. For example, for the IDR the target was to have an investment of RM 115 billion by 2015.

Of course all of these were not without the free reign of projects issued which had little benefits for the rakyat or nation. Top of the head would be names like ‘Moonsoon Cup’, ‘Crystal Mosque’ and others. Projects believed to be much higher value of the original budgeted cost were being thrown around, mostly to cronies dished out in the most clandestine manner. An example is a PR project for the Inland Revenue Board dished out to Kalimullah “Riong Kali’ Hassan for a cool half a billion ringgit.

Of course there were scandals like Parkway acquistion, Telekom Malaysia hiving off shares to Temasek Holdings, Scomi being awarded a large contract to supply Prasarana with really low quality China made buses and the list is bottomless. Then again there are ‘Khairy linked’ names like ‘Syed Azman’ and ‘Haniff’, who in aggregate got tens of thousand of Approved Permits to import cars from abroad. The monies that they got were so huge that Weststar could afford to acquire a Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter, which Khairy used for trotting around the peninsular when campaigning for his UMNO Youth Head job.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad wrote in his blog that during PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah’s ‘reign of terror and recklessness’, Petronas issued a total of RM 263 billion in taxes, dividends, royalties, subsidies and other instruments for and on behalf of the Government, as compared to the former’s 22 years of Premiership with an aggregate of RM 170 billion. And yet nothing substantial could be seen with the quarter of trillion Ringgit as compared to the North South Highway and other highways, ports and harbours, KLCC, KLIA, LRT system and the expansion of agencies like the military and acquisition of strategic assets.

Seriously, Khairy statement in this press report really stink to high heaven. Khairy was an active promoter and participant of the scandal of ECM Libra acquiring the much larger MOF Inc controlled Avenue Capital, where issues like “impairment of goodwill, gross disparity of evaluation value, violation of minority shareholders’ rights (no mandatory general offer) and the acquiring company son-in-law relationship to the acquiror company father-in-law”, who was then as the Finance Minister is the Chairman of MOF Inc.

Again, what “Transparency” is Khairy talking about? In 2004, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister’s Private Office at the raw age of 27 years old. He is was at the heart of all these project scandals and clandestine awards. He was in the heart of several Federal Government commitments to shoddy deals. Khairy can’t even be ‘transparent’ about him able to win the UMNO Youth Head contest 25 March 2009, when he polled last of the Division level nominations, which is a true reflection of who the grassroots wanted as the leader.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 16:00  Comments (20)  

No, Minister!

On the way to Putrajaya for iftar recently, we saw a Police outrider clearing traffic for the Government official limousine (Proton Perdana V6 Executive). We also noticed that a pair of men in dark leather jacket riding by the side of the limousine. We wonder who might the passenger be.

Then we learnt that the passenger is none other than the Home Minister.

On the same day, we saw a Military Police was riding escort for another Goverment limousine. A four-wheel-drive was following closely to that limousine. Apparently, it was the Minister of Defense.

Are these Ministers entitled to such escorts?

We were made to understand that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers are the only Federal Government public office holders who are given Police escorts and outriders. It is understandable because these are the highest office bearers in the Government. Even for protocol purposes, their stature that they are being acknowledged as ‘Yang Amat Berhormat’ instead of ‘Yang Berhormat’  as per the Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MPs, Backbenchers or Oppositions.

Ministers are not accorded with Police outriders. They maybe issued with one or two policemen assigned as a  bodyguard. But that’s it. Nothing more. F0rmer Prime Ministers on the otherhand have been issued with Police outriders and even a security detail, which include UTK personnel. Probably it is their stature as Statesmen, in the same category as Tuan Yang Terutama Governors. For the record, UTK personnels were assigned to a former Prime Minister on top of the ADC and two police bodyguards after Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was attacked in Kota Bahru Airport on 28 July 2006.

If that is bad, what till you learn of this: The Mayor of Kuala Lumpur has a DBKL outrider! The outrider stops oncoming traffic, to clear the way for the Mayor. Can he do really that? Is that lawful?

So, what is next? A fire truck escorting the Minister of Housing and Local Government, an ambulance clearing the road for the Health Minister, a JPJ Proton Waja patrol car paving the way for the Transport Minister, a JKR land rover riding escort the Minister of Works or Pos Laju delivery van escorting the Minister of Communication and Multimedia?

How about Ministers without enforcement or uniformed body agencies, like the Minister of Foreign Affairs or Minister of Natural Resources and Environment? Does he get the Game Warden (Perhilitan Ranger) to ride on a cub motorbike to follow the Minister?

For the record the Chief of Defense Forces, Inspector General of Police and Armed Forces service chiefs are accorded with bodyguards. It is the nature of their jobs and inherent security threats that come with it. On 7 June 1974, IGP Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Ismail was assassinated in his official car on the way to work, near Jalan Raja Chulan Kuala Lumpur.

These ‘new’ practices by the Ministers are undoubtedly abuses. It was learnt that Police outriders were requested by the Home Minister when Syed Hamid “Kodomo Lion’ Al Bar was in the Cabinet seat. And they must stop. Ministers should not use departmental resources for these unnecessary ‘luxuries’. Of course traffic is bad. They should manage their engagements and time really well. We are sorry but the rakyat would not stomach these sort of nonsensicalness.

P/S: The title is a phrase that Permanent Under Secretary of State Sir Humphrey Appleby never used against Minister of Administrative Affairs James Hacker, MP of Birmingham East

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 09:04  Comments (19)