Sunday, January 13, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
Corruption? It’s OK lah
by Khairie Hisyam Aliman
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 07, 2013
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 07, 2013
JAN 7 — “It’s amazing how much shit people put up with, as long as you give it to them slowly.”
The above quote from Mack Leighty echoed in my head as I read that we are ranked second out of 150 countries in Global Financial Integrity’s latest report on illicit financial outflows worldwide. According to GFI, in 2010 alone we lost RM196.84 billion in funds to tax havens and Western banks, second only to China.
Earlier this month, it was Transparency International’s survey. They asked this: “During the last 12 months, do you think that your company has failed to win a contract or gain new business because a competitor has paid a bribe?” We scored the highest out of 30 countries with 50 per cent.
The same survey also found that respondents feel the misuse of public fund by public servants and politicians is common. They also said they feel it’s common for public officials to demand or accept bribes. On the whole respondents perceive government efforts to fight corruption as largely ineffective.
How did it become so bad?
The very malaise at work is our attitude. Writer William Citrin calls it the “it’s OK lah attitude.” “Simply put, the ‘it’s OK lah’ stance is a serene (and often blind) acceptance of the minor inconveniences and irritations of everyday life,” he wrote.
Like everything that inconveniences us every day, initially we feel upset — angry even. Why do people clutter up our mailboxes with flyers and business cards every day? Why do people deface signboards and traffic lights and lamp posts with their advertisements and car-for-rent flyers? Why is the traffic jam so horrible that we can watch a 30-minute sitcom on the Federal Highway during the rush hour? Why do we need to slip somebody “duit kopi” to get the bureaucratic wheels turning?
These things outrage us. But then we encounter them again and again day in, day out. Anger turns to exasperation and before long we grow jaded enough not to care so much. Just another pothole in the road, we drive around it and it’s behind us. We see those flyers lying around outside our mailbox and we shake our heads, then we drive off to work and we forget about them. “Duit kopi” becomes part of operating costs, unrecorded or maybe put under “entertainment” allowances.
Over time, we accept these things as facts of life that we have to deal with. As we accept them as part of the environment, they get worse. More and more potholes appear on the road, and we just slow down so that we can drive around each and every one of them. We don’t bother reporting them to the authorities, because we have other things to worry about. Let someone else make that phone call, we think.
Bit by bit we acclimatise to these “minor inconveniences”, and as they slowly get worse, we acclimatise even more, barely noticing that the pothole in the road is getting bigger and bigger. Just like the culture of corruption and bribery and “gifts” which also grow. We resign ourselves to their existence and do our best to get by, while the cynical ones begin to think of ways to benefit from it. The cycle continues and compounds the issue.
Today, corruption is monstrous. Some government officials become absurdly, suspiciously and unnaturally well-off and wealthy after assuming a public post, and we barely bat an eye at this. We still think it’s not that bad, because we’re used to it. “It’s OK lah,” we say, “country still developing what, a bit corrupt only, where got country without corruption?”
But it’s not okay. Even a small hole in the road is one hole too big, because wrong is wrong regardless of scale. We can’t rid ourselves of the corruption that infects the country in a day, but every great journey begins with the first step. The first step is to change our mentality about the pothole in the road.
It’s not OK lah.
Lim Guan Eng's speech - A Good One
Date: Friday, January 4, 2013, 6:08 PM
Since Merdeka, two million Malaysians have migrated overseas because they do not see a future for themselves and for Malaysia.
It is time that we don't live in our past that is filled with hatred and fear. We should look to the future filled with hope and harmony between all Malaysians.
To put the past behind us, we must stop the politics of race and religion.
To put the past behind us, we must end corruption.
To put the past behind us, we must abolish the suppression, oppression, repression of our basic human rights and freedoms.
To put the past behind us, we must demand good governance and performance from our ministers.
To attain peace Malaysians must stand united and reject those who wish to divide us by preaching racial and religious hatred. If we want to benefit from equal opportunities and realize our human potential we must stop extremists from continually degrading others as inferiors so as to uplift ourselves.
Why should Allah not be allowed to be used in the Bible when it is used in the Middle East?
We can only achieve harmony together. Despite our differences and diversity, Malaysians can make our common aspirations of freedom, justice, democracy and truth come true if we remember key values.
That it is not who we are that is important, but what we are that is important; not the colour of our skin that is important but the content of our character; and not our past ancestry that is important but how we connect with the present and with each other to face the future.
We can only be prosperous together. The time has come to focus on the economy, in employment, education and business opportunities as the conditions for prosperity.
We must build human talent and be performance-based.
For those who say that PR do not know how to govern, the 4 PR states of Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan have proven our ability by beating the other 10 BN states by attracting RM25 billion in investments comprising 53% of Malaysia's total investments of RM47.2 billion in 2010. For the first time in history, Penang is now the new champion of investments in Malaysia, coming out top in 2010 with RM 12.2 billion.
To put the past behind us, we must end corruption.
Barisan Nasional cannot reform to end corruption. Remember, if we do not end corruption, Malaysia dies. If we end corruption, BN dies. The choice is clear.
To put the past behind us, we must abolish the suppression, oppression, repression of our basic human rights and freedom. How can we have a clean government when we do not have clean elections?
We do not want our children to live in fear of oppressive laws as we have lived. A Pakatan Rakyat government will abolish the UUCA, the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act and restore local government elections.
When can we find justice for Teoh Beng Hock, Ahmad Sarbani and A Kugan? When will we have Freedom of Information & Freedom of Speech? When can we have justice that is not only done, but is seen to be done.
To put the past behind us, we demand good governance and performance from our ministers.
Malaysia can be an international and intelligent country. We must have digital intelligence with broadband connectivity. We must also have integrity intelligence, so ensure that only honest people are the decision-makers. We must have institutional intelligence under the rule of law. We demand good governance and performance from our ministers.
Has the Transport Ministry done its duty to run our airports and seaports well? Look at the Penang International Airport whose completion has been delayed more than 3 times.
And the Penang Port is to be reduced to be a feeder port and privatized to a 3rd party at the expense of Penangites. Why is there no consultation with the people of Penang to restore the port to its former glory? Instead of looking after airports and ports, the Transport Ministry is more interested in vehicle registration numbers and wants to increase the maximum traffic fines to RM2,000.
(YB Lim forgot to add the abuse from AES to make money for the cronies by MCA).
Director-General of Tourism is wrongly charged of corruption but the Tourism Minister finds nothing wrong with spending RM1.8 million in doing up her Facebook page, when we all know that it can be done for free.
The Health Ministry wants to privatise healthcare when it should be a public good given as an affordable right to all Malaysians. Why allow the wastage of public funds and affect the quality and affordability of drugs when drugs are bought through a middleman at higher prices when it could be bought cheaper direct from the manufacturers, some of which are operating in Malaysia.
The Housing and Local Government Ministry opposes local government elections in Penang, denying our fundamental democratic right to elect our councillors and our mayors.
We believe that Malaysians deserve better. For the last 50 years, the wealth of the nation has been robbed. Let us protect the future of our children by ensuring we have a people-centric government that protects you instead of harming you, that rewards you instead of stealing from you, that respects you instead of abusing your rights. Let us clean up Malaysia to save our children's future.
We must put the past behind us where profits matter more than our health. Lynas concerns all of us because if Lynas is allowed to operate, Barisan Nasional will proceed with building two nuclear reactors. If we continue to put health above profits, what is the use of having all the money in the world if you cannot enjoy it healthily?
The next elections shall be fought on the economy. We refuse to allow BN to use race as the issue in the next elections. We need to increase the incomes of our poor or else they will fall victims to the Ah Longs. For example, Bank Negara's Annual Report 2010 revealed that Malaysia's household debt at the end of 2010 was RM581 billion or 76 per cent of GDP, thus giving us the dubious honour of having the second-highest level of household debt in Asia.
In addition, the Malaysian household debt service ratio stood at 47.8 per cent in 2010, meaning that nearly half of the average family's income goes to repaying debts. As a rule, banks would not lend money to those whose total servicing of loans exceeded one third of their income. In other words, we are spiralling into an indebted nation.
According to the New Economic Model documents, the bottom 40% of Malaysian households are living with a monthly average income of RM1,500 (and three-quarters of them are bumiputera) while 60% of the households (of four persons averagely) live with a less than RM3,000 income, which is near subsistence if one lives in the cities.
These are families living in fear. We will help them live with dignity and not in fear, by increasing their incomes and cutting down their costs, with a minimum wage, getting rid of monopolies, expanding internet connectivity and encouraging creativity, innovation and productivity.
South Korea is a very good example of a nation that chose democracy, performance and freedom of opportunity to become a developed country. With a population of 48 million, its GDP per capita of USD20,000 is more than double Malaysia's. But in 1970, South Korea's per capita GDP was only USD260 compared to Malaysia's USD380. We used to regularly beat South Korea at football. And now our children are fans of K-pop culture and their football team are regulars at the World Cup.
Only when we free ourselves of fear of change, can we be free to prosper. BN cannot change. They need to be changed, for BN wants to rule by fear.
Thomas Jefferson has said "When the governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny".
The choice is yours, my friends. I urge you - Let us change so we can have liberty and live with dignity.
*Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary General & MP for Bagan