Virtuoso of deceit?

Some of us bloggers were invited to attend the ‘Media briefing on USP Funds’ on Monday 8 November 2010, supposedly by the Chairman himself Tan Sri Khalid Ramli. It turned out that the briefing was made by Acting Senior Director for USP En Zulkarnain Mohd. Yasin. Khalid left after the opening address and Zulkarnain presented on the utilisation of the USP Funds.


MCMC Officers who took the flak instead of Shahril and Jailani

So, Zulkarnain and four officers responsible to the management of projects  listed under the USP Funds took the stage for the Q and A. They were barraged by questions, including technical in nature. They did not look to comfortable when they were seated on the stage.

Something struck the attention of us attending the briefing. The Malay Mail journalist assigned to the briefing is Marhalim Abas asked an important question, “Why aren’t Dato’ Jailani Johari (immediate past Sr Director in charge of USP and very recently appointed Chief Regulatory Officer) and former CEO Dato’ Shahril Tarmizi  attending the briefing?”.

“MCMC is involved in international regulatory matters. Dato’ Jailani is away on international travel. Since Dato’ Shahril is very, very internationally known he has been appointed Special Adviser to the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture. Minister needs competent advice on regulatory matters”.

It wasn’t important enough for senior MCMC management to face the media and answer how, where, when, why and what the  RM four odd billion monies spent, accumulated from 6% profits of telcos and ISPs derived from their operations. Had MCMC seriously saw the importance of the briefing and how it would have changed perception of the rakyat, then they would have ensured that Shahril and Jailani attended specific briefing. This is despite the matter was raised by an MP at the Dewan Rakyat and the Minister or Deputy Minister has yet to answer the questions posed. Instead they sent a former regional director who recently was transfered from Sarawak to take the flak.

NST reported this morning that MACC has initiated an investigation on purchase and acquisition of the ‘1 Malaysia Netbooks’ using the USP Funds.

Excerpts from the story:

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has begun looking into possible abuse of the Universal Service Provision Fund.

Sources said the probe would, among other things, look at alleged discrepancies in the netbook initiative, financed by the USP Fund, which the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said was a “national progression of the USP programme, taking into account technological development, market and consumer needs as well as national aspirations”.

Critics had taken the MCMC to task, saying that the purchase and distribution of the netbook was never part of the USP programme whose essence and objectives, as stated in the USP Regulations 2002, was to provide basic telephony infra-structure and services to designated areas.

Read more: Probe into netbook purchase


Personally, many of the media be it mainstream or new who attended Monday’s briefing were not utterly convinced of the answers, including skeptical to the detailed explanations. The Wangsa Maju MP who took interest on the case dubbed the ‘media briefing’ as a “PR Job”. They still did not address the question on what measures could be taken to stop if not minimise the risk for the upcoming 300,000 units of  ‘1 Malaysia Netbooks’ to fall into the wrong receipients and be sold off for instant cash instead utilised for the purpose to bridge the digital divide.

One journalist who has been covering MCMC recently told us that in the past three briefings on the projects under taken, they have had different version of answers. The inconsistencies must not be good for MCMC. Especially when the Minister-in-charge recently had some really bad press and under constant attack by bloggers for lodging a Police report against a blogger and one-time highly regarded editor. We are not sure about the impression of “One lie after another” currently some people is having on the MCMC.

Someone should remind them “Two wrongs doesn’t make it right” and ‘it is always cheaper to get it right the first time’. If someone is not telling the truth, then this matter will eventually spiral into something viscous. By the way, we believe the Acting Senior Director who took us on the whole of Monday morning was just ‘executing orders’ (“Saya yang menurut perintah“). No one would be cruel enough to fault someone who has been on the job for a mere 5 weeks.

Time is the essence of the truth prevailing. Unfortunately, perception sets in way before that. To change that, is a herculean task. Again, spending RM 4 odd billion of industry derived fund warrants ‘transparency’.


Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 08:37  Comments (2)