Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to SPOT Possible Corrupt Practices in the MACC?

We all know that many Malaysians suspect that Teoh Beng Hock was murdered shortly after he was hauled in for questioning by the MACC, the authority in Malaysia that is supposed to investigate and combat corruption.
This article from the Malaysian Insider about how theMACC gets a dirty dozen sacked in 2009 is supposed to convince us that the MACC is putting up a sterling performance.

However if you read the article, the last paragraph reads:

The rest of the projects include the construction of staff quarters worth in Penang (RM12 million), Kelantan State office (RM25 million), Pahang State office (RM19 million), Perak State office (RM23 million), Kuala Lumpur MACC complex (RM25 million), Malacca state office (RM23 million) and Johor state office (RM32 million.)

I wonder why:
1.The Pahang state office costs RM19mil while the Johor office costs RM32mil. That is a price difference of RM13mil or more than 68% price difference.
2.Are these based on open tenders or the "I help you, you help me" negotiated contracts?

I would imagine that such state offices should be quite standard buildings and maybe a price difference of 15% is acceptable to suit site variations. Even the same architect can be used to reduce costs.

So how do we investigate the MACC for dubious contract dealings?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

EXCELLENT Campaign Material for PR for the Next Elections

That expose of the Canadian property empire of the Sarawak Chief Minister and the photos especially could play a most important role for the opposition in Sarawak.
No need to put into thousands of words just a few contrasting photos:

1.One large office complex and the thousands of cleared virgin forest.
2.The Bakun hydro-power dam and an trickle of water in their new homes.
3.A powerful Sarawak river and the new expensive "homes"

The theme of the photos could be this:
"You had to give this up in order to give him this" or "Did you get a RAW Deal?"
"You Call This a FAIR Deal?"

Of course, the video of Najib's "If you vote BN, you can come to collect the cheque" speech is also priceless. No need to pay APCO Millions for such good campaign materials.
It is not only time for him to be voted out but also for the Bankrupsi Negara government to go.

Photo: thanks to

Friday, June 18, 2010


Much has been written and speculated about corruption and dirty politics and even a Minister has now postulated that Malaysia can become bankrupt just like the Greece model, overcome with mounting foreign debt.
So there are a few stories in the news why Malaysia seems to be unable to convince the sceptics that everything is still "honky-dory" as far as the nation's financial future is concerned.

You can read about how the Sarawak Chief Minister has amassed a vast property empire overseas in the malaysiakini article Taib family's Canadian property empire unveiled. The burning question is how did a government leader amass such a wealthy portfolio that seems more like that of the Sultan of Brunei. Now supposing such wealth had been created from exploiting the citizens of Sarawak, why did the federal leaders not probe such corrupt dealings? Or are the federal leaders guilty of similar or even grander malpractices?

The second story relates to how FELDA, the body created to help the smallholders of oil palm, appears to have become another cash cow to be drained by the government with full disclosures. It seems that cash reserves have been dramatically reduced in the past few years. Ever since it adopted a more agressive "corporate" image, it seems FELDA has forgotten that it success was the result of many years of toil by the Felda settlers. This type of GLC should have its annual accounts scrutinised by lawmakers to prevent abuse.

You also know that Shanghai's EXPO is now on but it appears that Malaysia's RM35mil pavilion has failed to draw the crowds and reviews are rather disappointing. No dazzle for Teresa Kok at Malaysia Pavilion says it all. The comments by readers are quite critical.

From one reader:
While our neighbours' pavillions were about their culture and heritage, what's inside ours is (get this) Ogawa massage chairs, A1 instant bak kut teh, Old Town White Coffee and Sepang F1 circuit. Seems more like a hypermarket than an exhibition to me. And the food? It's not made on the spot, but rather more like airplane food heated on microwaves at ridiculous prices. It is just that bad. And I am very ashamed to say that our pavillion is just one big national embarassment.

First of all, that building looks rather foreign and not native to Malaysia. It may attract visitors but the offerings inside must be appealing. Of course they bandied the 1Malaysia concept but I wonder how did the people there explain if they could not speak well in English or Mandarin?
Malaysian food is always appealing but they should have used some of that RM35mil to fly in well-known hawkers to cook roti prata, hokkien prawn mee and nasi beriyani to give the true flavour of Malaysia. Even an AirAsia promotion booth would have been welcome as Chinese now want to travel everywhere. What a missed opportunity!
As for the building, I guess the cost should be not more than RM15mil.
But I suppose the budget also includes the various first-class tickets plus 5-star hotel bills.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What to DO with this BANKRUPSI NEGARA Government?

Instead of scrapping the historic Parliament House and moving to the "white elephant" Putrajaya Convention Centre, I suggest we have a more elegant solution - just scrap the BN government in the next General Elections.
If you read this article from the Malaysian Insider, the Bankrupsi Negara government has another hare-brained idea as Cabinet now mulls PICC as new Parliament House.

You will get the following facts from the MI article:
1.They renovated Parliament House for RM100mil just 5 years ago.
2.PICC was built for RM600mil and is a "white elephant" according to the minister.
3.It will cost another RM150mil "to repair" Parliament House, presumably to also allow more MPs to be seated.
4.It will cost "at least RM50mil" to renovate a temporary building.

The minister left out important details for his cost estimates. Are all these prices based on proper workouts of BQs or more the "I help you, you help me" crony contracts?
Why were the extra seats not planned for when the PH was renovated 5 years ago? Are the roofs still in danger of collapsing?

Instead of just criticing the Bankrupsi Negara government, I would like to offer the following solution to the problem.
The 2 photos offer a solution that will cost less than RM12mil during the time it takes to renovate and repair Parliament House, the bill for which should be properly calculated and subject to open tender.
The first photo shows the UK Parliament where no tables are provided and MPs are not hidden behind high compartment. (for dozing off or surfing?)Notice how the Speaker is also seated at the same level as MPs and not enthroned as in Malaysia.
I suggest a convention hall(even PICC) can be hired for say RM12mil for 12 months and the existing furniture from PH be relocated there.
By adopting the UK style of seating, the capacity of PH can be increased by about 20%without enlarging the building and that reduces costs.
So the main costs for the expansion would be to order new upholstered seats that should not cost more than RM2000 per seat. At present we have 222MPs so we should cater for 300 seats. Include microphone etc let's work on a budget of RM2500x300 or RM750,000.
The minister should be asked to provide the details of what constitutes the RM150mil repairs as the number looks rather dodgy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wrong PRIORITIES of the Bankrupsi Negara Government....

Two stories making their rounds that show how inept the Bankrupsi Negara government is.
One story is about the RM800mil+ new palace being constructed for the Agong - you can read malaysiakini's readers' responses here.
Has anyone read any possible justifications for another grand palace? Also another negotiated "I help you, you help me" dubious tender. What could possibly be wrong with the existing palace?
Don't be surprised if in another 6 months we read of another negotiated deal for the redevelopment of the old palace site,a prime location near the Klang River,this time at a price way BELOW market rates.
The other story that involves thousands of young Malaysians is the decision to cut back on PSD scholarships overseas for undergraduate studies.
If you put the 2 stories together, it seems the Bankrupsi Negara government has got its priorities wrong and is really sending confusing messages to Malaysians.
While it complains about the high costs of subsidies, it also appears to be oblivious that the RM800+ palace is another reminder that voters must exorcise this BN government in the next elections.
Unless you really want to become a citizen of Asia's Zimbabwe before you do anything? It may then be too late to salvage the economy for many, many years.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Every FATHER Should Teach his SON This......

No I am not talking about the birds and the bees but this is a motoring story - a little diversion from the usual rant about politics.
My son who is studying in KL was given a Myvi to drive around the city as public transport is rather inefficient.
At first I wanted him to drive a manual car just like my daughter a few years earlier but a friend told him to ask us to get him one with automatic transmission.
I delivered the car to him about six months ago; with the usual blurb about regular checking of the oil level, battery water and tyre pressure.
About 2 months ago, he had a minor accident after he changed lanes without looking over his shoulder but it seemed the other driver did not even bother to stop and hence the front passenger side has a slight grazing damage - perhaps RM400 to make good.
About 2 weeks ago, we visited him and I drove his car out for dinner. The steering had a most peculiar wobble and I thought it was the result of the accident - a case of misalignment or even a damaged shock absorber. So we asked him to send the car to the tyre shop to rectify the wobble.
Last night, my son phoned his mother and advised that the problem had been solved.
He had gone to the petrol station to pump the tyres and a guy observed that he was not pumping the tyres correctly.
My son was a science student in school but he does not understand the principle of how a tyre pump works!
You see he reckoned that you pump the tyre until you hear the air escaping! That means the tyre is full just like how a bucket of water overflows when it is full. He did not know that the tyre needs to be pumped until no more "ting-ting" sound is heard which means that the pressure in the tyre is balanced by the air pump.
That kind gentleman showed my son how to pump the tyres properly.
It is heart-warming to know that KL folks can still display such care. I really appreciate that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Agree We Should Have a NEW Parliament.

Let's face the naked truth.
The modus operandi of the Bankrupsi Negara government is to launch meaningless projects that do not benefit the citizens but to create opportunities for BN cronies to make mega-ringgit through the means of dubious projects like Putrajaya and now the proposed new Parliament building.
"According to malaysiakini readers,the Rakyat to 'subsidise' new RM800 mil Parliament this could be just another white elephant that will join Malaysia's growing herd of white elephants.
However I would like to correct another reader's comment that even Singapore has kept its old Parliament building.
According to wikipedia, Singapore replaced its buidling in 1999. One interesting detail of the project is that the budget approved was S$148.2m in 1992 and completed in 1999 with final cost of S$115.2m.
Now the BN(Bankrupsi Negara) government mentions a project cost of RM800m but do you think after many delays and the usual project problems the cost will be less than RM1.2b?
YES! I say we need a new Parliament - NO not a new building but a new government to sit in that old building.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is There SOMETHING in Malacca's Drinking Water?

Some years back there was a high profile case involving the rape of a minor in Malacca, for which the Chief Minister of Penang was jailed; not for the rape but for standing for his principles in fighting to protect the girl.
Today's headlines in the Star Sex for asam pedas shop permit tells the story of how a young woman had to provide sexual favours just to obtain a business licence.
It is good that this case has been highlighted and the police should ensure this woman will be able to testify in court so that other sex predators in high office are deterred.
And hopefully the AG's office will not botch up this case or classify it as NFA.

Friday, June 4, 2010

malaysia Continues to Create Medical HISTORY!

It is possible that the rest of the world may think that Malaysians have gone MAD.
How is it possible that our universities have been able to produce doctors who make incredulous observations under oath?
I am referring to a doctor who is testifying in the case against Anwar Ibrahim. You can read malaysiakini readers' comments here Is semen in anus evidence of penetration?
According to the forensics report there was no conclusive clinical evidence of penetration, so why did the doctor say there could have been penetration?
If you recall in the Teoh Beng Hock inquiry, another doctor also claimed that Teoh had not been strangled even though there was injury to the neck area.
It seems these 2 doctors are not testifying according to scientific evidence but against it.
Regarding the semen story, it is like this:
Suppose you smeared or somebody smeared jam on your face. Can you take that to prove that you had eaten the jam?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

41% Civil Servants CORRUPT? No Wonder Malaysia is Going Bankrupt....

I wonder just how the CUEPACS President can come up with such a figure when the BN government itself does not know the figures or maybe does not care after 50 years in power.
After all, many Malaysians believe that the government too is guilty of the corruption game by paying crony contractors dubious commissions like the RM600mil just to facilitate the purchase of our two submarines.

If CUEPACS wants to work with the MACC, here are some pointers:
1.Check out all the negotiated projects with no open tenders.
2.Check officers who delay approvals or pass projects with express delivery. Departments now have such KPI and check those unusual deals that are outside KPI by +-10%.
3.Do a house check on all department heads for housing grandeur, exotic cars or expensive holidays plus those of immediate family like parents and children.
4.If #3 looks suspicious demand to audit all their bank accounts.
5.Check the land office for properties owned.

One of the basic reasons for so much corruption is that the government did not practise the "divide and rule" principle. In the old days, it was usual to find different races at the top levels of departments and people were scared to accept bribes. Managers were more prepared to report such cases as getting rid of corrupt officials could result in a promotion.
Nowadays civil servants are about 90% mono-racial and it seems the government also treats it like a fixed deposit during elections and unwilling to weed out the corrupt officers.
Just like how the PDRM thumbed their noses at the IPCMC, the civil servants can do the same to the MACC.
ALLAH help us all!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Deaths in TRAINING....Why such a long Period?

I wonder what is the annual budget for the 6-month long training that the PSD provides for PTD officers.
According to this article PSD: Training not as tough as it is for police, military Intan has trained 10,000 PTD staff since 1977 or about 300 staff per year on average.
Let us assume the cost per head for food and lodging is RM50 per day per trainee.
So each year, the basic cost for training is 300x50x6x30 equals RM2.7m.
Add in transport costs and trainer overheads we could be spending RM3m each year.
I am not suggesting that training is bad but I just wonder why it takes so long to train the PTD employees?
We should only take in the cream of the crop for PTD duties and I suggest that such people do not need 6 months training. I think a period of the 1-month OBS stint would enable the government to weed out unsuitable candidates.
After all a study of extra-curricular activities would give a quite accurate estimate of the candidates suitability and all the information that needs to be imparted can be done in the 2 to 3 months supervised work before people are posted overseas.
In a way this similar to the NS scheme - I reckon the 3-month period is simply too long and only gives us even more deficit spending. A 1-month training period is quite adequate if the program is properly devised.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The BN WAY to Bankrupt Malaysia.....

The declaration by the Minister Idris Jala that Malaysia could become bankrupt is certainly startling as we have been told consistently that we will attain developed nation status by 2020 if we let the BN government carry out with its policies of nation-building.malaysiakini readers vent their anger and frustration in this article Idris spot on about nation going bankrupt.
For any nation to remain strong, it has to manage all its resources well and in Malaysia's case, the government has become too complacent about managing the economy.
According to one reader,
Habib RAK: There is every reason to believe what Idris Jala said about the government's total debt. The government is clearly on course to get into very serious money trouble.

Idris Jala presented the actual debt at year-end from 1997 to 2009 (12 years). Consistently, it has grown, each year, at an average of over 12% per year. For the past 12 years, the current government had led it grow. Do you think they are going to change their ways overnight? No way. In fact, at year-end 2008 and 2009, it had grown 14.6% and 18.3%, respectively.

This shows that the government has not been able to able to balance the national budget the past 12 years but instead had to borrow to meet expenditure or losses like the RM12bil PKFZ scandal - don't be surprised if that is carried off the balance sheet.
In other words, the budgets have not been properly managed even when the GDP has stagnated about 6% annually, the government has not made adjustments to its operating expenses but resorted to risking our future with spending that has little economic returns.

If a government borrows money to increase capability to generate income, the borrowing may be worthwhile but simply for expenses is foolhardy.
To me the biggest savings that can be made is in the civil service where we have at least 20% to 25% overstaffing.

A major review of the civil service is long overdue. I propose the following measures can be implemented now.

1.Freeze all NEW posts. Transfer staff from surplus departments to other departments that need more manpower.
2.Stop giving extended contracts to retirees.
3.Stop giving pensions to NEW employess but put them on EPF.
4.NEW employees to be given limited medical benefits on co-pay say 25/75 employee/employer ratio.

Other measures can include:
1.Reducing the numbers of managers that are entitled to secretaries and drivers.
In Singapore, only the MDs of large companies are provided drivers and only the top 3% managers have private secretaries.

On tax relief, I will only grant ONE tax-free pension for those who earn more than one pension.

The other major step the government can do is to operate on OPEN TENDER system. Even today there is news that one company is suggesting the RM50bil buy-out of all tolled roads in the country.
The most appopriate solution would be for the government to publish all the criteria that such a proposal should include and then have an OPEN BID by different companies like:

1.Cash Offer to be paid for takeover, including the minority shareholders.
2.Toll rates freeze for say 10 years.
3.Period of toll concession like 30 years, after which a new open tender will be carried out.
4.The financial support the company will require from the government, if any.
5.Traffic forecast for various roads for next 5 years.

Seriously, if the government cannot control spending beyond our means, we need to change the government in the next elections.