My Anthem

Monday, August 10, 2015

DEsi rests todie -- NO WORRIES, Sun Scribes fill in the vacuum, OK!:)

FRom my fave columnist, CITIZEN NADES, whom Desi knows MORE THAN A BYTE. Nades never failed to say YES When I AS CHair INVITED HIM TO SPEAK AT **BUM2008 and BU2009, thanks matey, CARRY ON THY GOOD WRITES!:)~~


Citizen Nades - An adviser’s dilemma

Posted on 9 August 2015 - 07:42pm
Last updated on 9 August 2015 - 08:11pm

R. Nadeswaran

IT had been a harrowing fortnight for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and its officers. First, the deputy public prosecutor, seconded from the Attorney-General's Chambers was arrested. Subsequently, two other officers had their statements taken to "facilitate investigations" into the issue of leaking confidential information.

In between, news emerged that their top two bosses were "ordered to go on leave". Then, their outspoken head of the special operations division Bahri Mohamad Zin found himself on the "wrong side" of the authorities for his "I will hunt the culprits" statement. Also in the doghouse was Rohaizad Yaakub. His "crime"? As head of MACC's communications department, he welcomed and thanked opposition leaders who turned up at the headquarters to show support for his beleaguered colleagues.

Both have now been transferred to the Prime Minister's Department, where they will probably be on "gardening leave".

As news of such arbitrary decisions made the headlines, it affected MACC officers whose professionalism was being questioned by the same authorities who appointed them to combat corruption.

On a personal note, already being under the weather for a few days, the news added to the depression, pain and well-being. As a member of MACC's advisory panel, the interaction with many of these officers had prompted me to dismiss the public notion of the institution being biased and harbouring on selective prosecution or taking orders from above.

All of them had and continue to be professional in their articulation, dealings and their methods of investigations and expressing their views and opinions. Yes, we have disagreed on some issues, but they produced counter-arguments which merited a re-look at some of the opinions that had been expressed.

The recent spate of actions could have destroyed an independent institution which was primarily set up to fight corruption which has reached endemic stages in our nation.

At every stage, there is either a "Mr 15%" or someone who asks: "Mana saya punya?" Some have been more blatant in insisting on written agreements for their "side arrangements". For many businessmen, setting aside and budgeting for "extraordinary expenses" in their cash flow statements has become mandatory. No longer can such money be classified as "flowers" because it runs into millions.

Therefore, these actions which are tantamount to "undermining" a legally constituted body, could be a harbinger to a complete breakdown in the administration of the nation.

The despair and agony of many Malaysians who share these views could be understood. But beyond the gloom, there is some glimmer of light.

First, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin's stance on this matter must be appreciated and applauded. Following the transfer of the two officers, he stepped up and said: "I hope these sorts of actions can cease immediately and the intimidation against MACC is stopped. I see it as strange and very disappointing – as if there is a planned intimidation against MACC to weaken the institution."

Khairy could not have expressed it better. Then came the belated response from the minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Paul Low.

"If people leading the investigation on any case can be transferred out by outside parties not within the MACC, then the work of their investigations will be compromised," he told Malaysiakini.

"The reason it is inappropriate is because MACC is an independent agency. You are supposed to operate independently including the nature of assignments. They should not be transferred out by outsiders that is not within the MACC structure," he said.

Even before his response, I had been on the phone with Low and asked that he and all the members of the four MACC advisory panels should resign en-bloc.

Low argued that it would not provide the solution. As the minister in charge of good governance and integrity and if the institution implementing them comes under siege, what good is there to remain?

As members of panels who are supposed to act in advisory capacities to such an independent institution whose credentials are now being questioned, what purpose does it serve to continue?

Eila, Bahri's daughter, provides some clues as to the integrity of MACC officers and the reason to continue and defend this institution and its people.

"For decades, he carried out his duties to investigate and arrest those who were out to swindle funds illegally from the rakyat. He and his division succeeded in saving hundreds of millions from going missing," she said in a Facebook post.

"For as long as he worked as an MACC officer, our family was constantly threatened, hit with black magic, disturbed, boycotted, scolded, and he (Bahri) experienced even more."

However, Eila said her father, who was a deeply religious man, had always been steadfast in standing by what was right.
These speak volumes of this upright and ethical investigator. If good people like Low and the rest of us cannot make a stupendous and honest stand by supporting unequivocally truthful, honourable and righteous people who go by the book, then our role as advisers becomes untenable.

R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun. Comments:


SECOND WRITE IS from fellow socialist GURDIALSingh Nijar, columnist at theSUN, whom DESi knows a byte:). FOr today's two esteemed writers' THOUGHTS, I Offer my sincere thanks and won't need to add my humble THINKING, though STill ALOUD/allowed here/hear!~~YL, Desi, knottyaSSusual

Law Speak - At the crossroads

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ..." - thus Charles Dickens starts his novel, A Tale of Two Cities.
WITH all that is going on around us, these words written in 1859 seem to conjure up many social parallels with life today.

The best of times? Starkly visible impressive structures reaching to the sky. Townships sprouting like mushrooms after the rain; the ubiquitous though dubious hallmarks that we have arrived – fast-food outlets in rapidly-proliferating shopping havens. The proverbial "blooming of a thousand flowers" – the ISA expunged, space opened up for the growth of NGOs and the social media, and rallies of thousands not uncommon any more. A true breath of a revitalised democracy to lead up to the jewel in the crown – the promise that in five years our country will ascend to the ranks of a "developed country"!

The worst of times? A sense of lawlessness everywhere that threatens to rip society asunder.
At the micro level: impatient drivers ignoring red lights, motorists violating one-way signs, parking and double parking, and impatient drivers senselessly turning two-lane traffic into three or even four; and the eternal traffic jams with no solution in sight.
To this mix, add such scenes as (for example) – commuters at the KL University Hospital bus stop having to rush to the main road each time a bus arrives – because parked cars have taken over the entire bus space.
So people abandoning their sense of care for fellow citizens and in open disregard for the comfort of others. A sign of a growing malaise?

And where are the law enforcers in all this? To encourage respect for the laws and to punish the recalcitrant? Conspicuously absent – as we now take for granted!

On the larger canvas – whistle-blowers are hounded; the message deliverers of improprieties hauled through the criminal process. The internet access to publications which have exposed alleged wrongdoings blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. Much more is in the offing.

What has happened to the promise of an improved quality of life – with the advent of time-saving gadgets, improved and sophisticated communication systems, highways and byways, and the promised blossoming of freedoms guaranteed by our Federal Constitution?

Crime has multiplied; unemployment figures escalating – the Malaysian Employers Federation announcing 10,000 retrenched as of July this year and more to come; and the National Bank Employees Union lamenting the lay-off of 4,000 staff with another 4,000 in the offing; the ringgit fast depreciating in international exchange and domestic value; prices of consumer goods rising out of control; and an innocuous spark at a mall that threatened to cause an ethnic prairie fire. The authorities' grudging gestures to staunch the growing religious and racial tensions emboldening the savage beasts of hate and even violence – completes the picture of a national unity at an all-time nadir.

The corruption-busters – the MACC – seemingly fighting a desperate battle to regain its credibility – amid stories swirling of corruption in the millions if not billions.

The question on everyone's lips: can our country withstand leakages (and wastages) which have crippled even stronger economies in the West such as Italy, Spain and lately Puerto Rico and Greece?

Already a record number of 78 people have been charged under the obnoxious Sedition Act – now revamped to extend to statements made on the internet; under which a conviction can be secured without proving the intention (mens rea in legal jargon) of the accused. And new crimes constructed – acts "detrimental to parliamentary democracy" punishable with a 20-year jail term. Is it not old wine repackaged in new bottles? As seen in the arrests of students and activists under this newly-minted provision enacted as an amendment to the Penal Code.

Is this the society we aspire to create for ourselves and bequeath to our grandchildren? Will there be a cohesive, prosperous and peaceful country to bequeath, at all?

To continue with Dickens:
" ... it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."

Time then to sound a clarion call for all to put their shoulders to the wheel – to reclaim, and build upon our glorious past? Or throw up our hands in utter despair? The choice, my dear friends, is ours.
As spoke Cassius in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings".

Gurdial is professor at the Law Faculty, University of Malaya. Comments:

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