Graft destroys nature as Corrupt officers see no evil as environment is being ravaged


Humans Are Destroying the Environment

PETALING JAYA: They are supposed to be guardians of the environment, and yet “certain enforcement officers” are found to be tolerating illegal activities that are detrimental to nature – all for personal gain.

Pollution and unauthorised felling of trees, for instance, could be traced to those working in cahoots with the culprits, according to sources.

Several recent cases such as the illegal bauxite mining in Kuantan, flash floods in Cameron Highlands and the illegal sawdust factory in Kampung Sungai Lembu, Penanti, Butterworth, were all linked to abuse of power and corruption.

“Some of them are more inclined to soliciting and receiving monetary gains in lieu of their responsibilities in protecting the natural surroundings.

“As a result, it has created greater problems to the fragile environment at the expense of future generations,” said a source.

The source added that stern action needed to be meted out against these irresponsible officers in order to put a stop to the wanton destruction.

If nothing was done, it could lead to adverse effects to the people in terms of public health and safety, the source said.

“All enforcement agencies tasked to preserve the environment must be serious in discharging their duties diligently.

“In this regard, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has done its part to send out a stern warning with numerous arrests and prosecutions in court,” the source said.

Over the past few months, scores of enforcement officers including those from the Customs, Land Office and local councils were nabbed on suspicion of receiving bribes to turn a blind eye on illegal activities detrimental to the environment.

The MACC also held several dialogues with NGOs and environmental groups through an Environmental Protection and Anti-Corruption Caucus to share information on corruption issues.

With this strategic collaboration, illegal activities such as illegal logging, river pollution and clearing of land could be prevented from recurring.

By Simon Khoo The Star/Asian News Network

Authorities fighting an uphill battle against ‘rape of hills’

PETALING JAYA: The authorities are waging an endless war against illegal loggers, with some enforcement officers even labelling the wanton destruction of trees as “raping the hills”.

Cases of such destructive activities in recent years include uncontrolled logging and illegal farming in Cameron Highlands, which polluted several rivers.

In April this year, a former Terengganu Forestry Department director was charged with accepting RM60,000 from a timber contractor four years ago as an inducement to approve a logging application for Hulu Terengganu Forest Reserve.

Two men were detained in the Bukit Bauk Forest Reserve in Dungun in November last year for removing evidence of illegal logging during an ambush by the Forestry Department. Some 400 tonnes of logs were reportedly seized.

In August last year, a Datuk Seri and two others were arrested in connection with illegal logging in the Cerul forest reserve in Terengganu. They produced a letter from a “high-ranking officer” to evade arrest but failed.

In Pahang, 11 people were detained by the Forestry Department for trespassing into forest reserves with the intent to steal high-value timber.

The Auditor-General’s Report 2015 highlighted illegal logging and encroachment in Perak forest reserves and said it was due to the lack of monitoring and effective enforcement by the Perak Forestry Department.

Logging in Kelantan has also come under scrutiny following allegations of illegal and uncontrolled logging being a possible cause of the 2014 floods in Kuala Krai.

In 2013, Kelantan-based NGO Young People against Corruption (Ombak) discovered rampant land clearing and wanton destruction of virgin forests in Kuala Krai and Gua Musang, affecting at least five hills stretching from the Pahang-Kelantan and Kelantan-Perak borders.

Ombak president Wan Khairul Ihsan Wan Muhammad described the destruction as the “rape of the forested hills”, adding that the activities were stealthily done in the middle of forest reserves to avoid detection.

Anti-graft officers out to stop illegal timber business

PETALING JAYA: Illegal logging, which has cost the country billions of ringgit in losses in taxes and revenue, is the latest target of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Remote area: A file picture of a suspected illegal logging site in Bakun, Sarawak, that was raided by the MACC.

Anti-graft officers will be focusing on this issue after tackling illegal land clearing, bauxite mining and unlicensed factories.

It is learnt that incidents of illegal logging are “quite rampant and extensive”, causing a lot of destruction to the nation’s fragile eco-system and environment.

Some of the illegal activities are believed to be taking place deep in the jungle, including forest reserves and catchment areas, hidden from public view.

The problem is made worse when some enforcement officers tasked with taking action against illegal loggers are believed to have turned a blind eye and worked in cahoots with illegal loggers.

In return, the officers are said to be promised a certain percentage from profits from the illegal activities every month, paying no heed to the destruction of the country’s forests.

It is learnt that these unethical officers are raking in tens of thousand of ringgit every month as kickback and side income to finance their lavish lifestyle.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said such illegal activities must be nipped in the bud before they cause irreparable damage.

“We have received very reliable information from the public on illegal logging.

“It is not just in one particular area, but in several states throughout the country, including Sabah and Sarawak.

“We have set up a few flying squads and they are now collecting evidence on the ground,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He said illegal logging has caused serious pollution, while natural disasters, such as flash floods and landslides could occur more rapidly, endangering the lives of the people.

Azam said the main focus of investigations will be on elements of corruption and abuse of power involving several enforcement agencies, their officers and logging companies.

“Once we have gathered all the necessary evidence, a sting operation will be launched to nab the culprits,” he added.

He said MACC would be moving into several states “very soon”, adding that “we are pretty serious in tackling this issue”.

He welcomed tip-offs from the people to assist in putting a stop to illegal logging and other activities detrimental to the environment.

“We will also work closely with NGOs and environmental groups to collect information,” he added.

In November 2014, the then Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem declared war on illegal logging, saying Sarawakians must not tolerate corruption anymore because millions in revenue had been lost.

The state, he said, had gained a bad reputation internationally because of “this robbery which is carried out in broad daylight”.

The MACC swung into action with a massive crackdown dubbed Ops Gergaji the following year, and together with several agencies, some 400 bank accounts belonging to companies and individuals with about RM600mil were frozen.

About RM1mil worth of illegally felled logs were also seized.

By Simon Khoo The Star/ANN
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Corruption has no place in any culture


LATELY, we have been seeing many photographs and a lot of video footage of handcuffed men and women in orange T-shirts bearing the words “Lokap SPRM”.

These are people who have been arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with its investigations. Lokap SPRM is the Bahasa Malaysia term for the MACC lock-up.

Some of these men and women have been or will be charged in court for offences such as offering or soliciting bribes and abuse of power. If they are guilty, they will be punished.
But what if the wrongdoing is partly to do with how the private sector operates?

If businessmen believe that greasing someone’s palm is an acceptable way to get ahead of the competition, and if a company’s culture tolerates or even encourages corrupt practices, why should the employees be the only ones held accountable when the authorities enforce the law?

It is not easy, however, to prove that a company has criminal intent.

This will matter less if there are provisions in the law that deem companies responsible if employees commit certain offences in the course of their work.

This concept of corporate liability for the crimes of employees has been introduced in countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia.

Malaysia has long talked about introducing such provisions.

In July 2013, for example, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said the Government wanted to introduce a “corporate liability law”.

The idea is to hold boards of directors and CEOs of companies responsible for bribes given by their employees unless it is proven that there are measures in place within the organisation to prevent corruption.

Since then, Low and senior MACC officers have several times brought up this matter.

It appears that the plan is to either amend the MACC Act or to come up with a fresh piece of legislation.

At one point, Low said the Bill would be tabled by March this year and that the new provisions would come into effect in 2018.

However, the draft legislation has yet to reach Parliament.

The latest update was from MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki, who was quoted in a Sin Chew Daily report this week saying that the Cabinet had approved the Bill for the Corporate Liability Act and that it would be tabled in October.

It is understandable if the business community is less than enthusiastic about this.

There is always the fear that an employer will be unfairly blamed for an employee’s lack of integrity.

There is also the well-worn argument that complying with additional rules and regulations will increase costs amid already challenging conditions.

It is likely, however, that the new provisions are applicable only if the companies cannot demonstrate that they have done all they can to prevent the offences, or if they are negligent in addressing the risks of such offences being committed.

We will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, businesses should examine their practices and procedures.

It is definitely in the best interest of a company to ensure that its employees understand well that corruption is not part of its corporate culture.

For that matter, corruption should not be part of any culture.

– Sunday Star Says

Amend MACC Act to give it more bite

TRANSPARENCY International Malaysia (TI-M) hails the call by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to amend Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 to give it greater clarity so that corrupt practices and other related offences could be better tackled especially in state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

As stated by MACC deputy commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki, MACC needs more bite to act against corrupt public officials including ministers, assemblymen and politicians.

TI-M also supports MACC on the recently proposed new law known as “Misconduct for Civil Service Act”, where civil servants who caused substantial financial losses to the Government due to negligent acts or non-compliance with official policies or procedures would face criminal charges under this proposed new Act.

TI-M has been advocating for these amendments to the existing MACC Act for the past several years and hopes to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 prohibits “an officer of a public body” or public officials from abusing their power for any gratification for themselves or for their relatives. TI-M shares Azam’s opinion that many politicians are being appointed into SOEs and public interest entities (PIEs).

In addition, TI-M is also looking forward to the inclusion of the corporate liability provisions into the MACC Act 2009, which will ultimately hold companies accountable for corruption cases involving their employees.

Currently, when an employee is caught for corruption or bribery, he or she will face the consequences and can be charged individually. The company which the respective employee works for is not held liable for its employees’ acts, as in law the company not being a human person is not capable of having criminal intent.

With the introduction of the corporate liability provisions, companies can be held accountable for their employees’ involvement in corruption or bribery if they are found to have failed to take adequate steps to prevent such corrupt acts by their employees.

When this becomes a reality, employers in the private sector would have no choice but to initiate anti-corruption programmes in their companies/organisations to mitigate and eventually eradicate corrupt practices.

TI-M, meanwhile, has been encouraging companies in the private sector to adopt the ISO 37001 Anti Bribery Management System as an initiative to put in place all the preventive controls and systems while simultaneously getting the top management to commit to the elimination of any form of bribery in their organisations.

On the proposed Misconduct for Civil Service Act, any effort or law to address misconduct which results in loss of taxpayers’ money should be lauded.

However, we would like to raise the issue of whether the proposed law should only apply to civil servants. What about instances where orders or instructions come from politicians or persons in elected positions? Should they not also be held liable if proven to be involved?

Any proposed law should fairly apply to everyone involved in the decision-making process, and that includes politicians.

Azam has been reported saying that each year, the AuditorGeneral’s Report reveals a litany of malpractices among government departments and agencies, some of which are outrageous, for which the civil servants responsible should be charged with criminal offences instead of just disciplinary action under the domestic rules applicable to them.

TI-M supports these new measures proposed by the MACC and hopes that the Government will give due consideration and also fully support the same by effecting the necessary changes in the law. This would ensure that we plug the existing loopholes in our anti-corruption laws.

DATUK AKHBAR SATAR President Transparency International Malaysia

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Police OCPDs detained: RM800k cash in storeroom; Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes


Caught in the crackdown: (From left) A Melaka-based police corporal was remanded for seven days at the magistrate’s court in Putrajaya to help in a graft probe while former
Inspector P. Kavikumar and L/Kpl Muhammad Harris Mohd Rafe were charged with
receiving bribes at the Sessions Court in Kota Baru.

Police officers on the take allegedly used middlemen – bribes paid into bank account …

RM800,000 shock – cash discovered in storeroom

A whopping RM800,000 in cash was recovered from apolice corporal at a police quarters as the Malaysian Anti-CorruptionCommission continued with its crackdown, which has led to gamblingsyndicates in Melaka shutting down operations and moving out. The blitz is still ongoing with two policemen and two prison warders being charged in Kelantan.

PUTRAJAYA: When RM800,000 in cold, hard cash was found in a police corporal’s Melaka house , it shocked even the most seasoned graft busters. The money is nearly 26 years of his highest-possible salary.

However, the corporal, who is attached to the Melaka police contingent headquarters’ secret societies, gambling and vice division (D7) denied that the money – found in the storeroom of his quarters – was his.

The 52-year-old is the 10th person arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with the case of Melaka police personnel allegedly giving protection to illegal gambling dens and massage parlours.

Sources familiar with the case said the corporal claimed to be holding the money for his superior, an Assistant Superintendent who is now under remand.

“We knew that there was a possibility that we would be finding a substantial amount of money but not that much,” an MACC source told The Star.

The source said the corporal’s claim that he was just holding the money for his superior would be investigated.

“We have both of them in custody, so we will find out more – who the money belongs to, why this man is keeping a lot of cash in his house, and where the money came from,” the source said.

The corporal was picked up at his home at around 2.30pm on Wednesday as the anti-graft body continues its investigation into a protection racket for gambling dens and massage parlours said to be run by senior cops.

He was taken to a court here where magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman issued a one-week remand order until May 24.

So far, six other police personnel – two district police chiefs with the rank of Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Superintendent, two Assistant Superintendents and two Inspectors – have been remanded to help in MACC’s probe.

Three other individuals, two middlemen and an illegal gambling den operator, are also in MACC custody.

In an unrelated case, an officer with the Subang Jaya district police was remanded for six days over allegations of receiving a RM5,000 bribe.

The 35-year-old inspector was arrested at 1.10pm at his office on Wednesday.

He is alleged to have demanded and accepted the money in return for not bringing a criminal intimidation case to court.

Source: The Star

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Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes

The recent case in Puchong may be only the tip of the iceberg, with many illegal outlets operating within the Klang Valley.

IT’S no big secret. Illegal gambling dens are thriving in the Klang Valley.

From time to time, the local councils and district police have conducted raids, but the mushrooming of these vice dens has led many to accuse the authorities of turning a blind eye to such activities.

Hardcore gamblers know where to go to get their gambling fix, but the public in general are only starting to realise the severity of the situation because of a viral video and several high-profile arrests of cops over the last few days.

The viral video shows two men entering a so-called cybercafe in Bandara Kinrara, Puchong. They rob the outlet and then take turns to rape the cashier in a hidden corner of the outlet.

While police have acted swiftly – one suspect identified from the video is now in custody – it has now transpired that the cybercafe was actually an illegal gambling den.

In fact, this is now the modus operandi of these gambling outlets. You will see a lot of desktop computers when you enter the premises, but the jackpot machines are hidden at the back.

The robbery of the cybercafe itself would have been chalked off as another crime statistic in the police district of Serdang, but the sexual assault of the unfortunate cashier and the subsequent furore on social media have thrust the case into public consciousness.

The truth is, these illegal gambling outlets have long been protected and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) current crackdown on rogue cops serves only to highlight this fact.

The Star reported yesterday that two OCPDs from Melaka – one an assistant commissioner and the other a deputy superintendent – were arrested by anti-graft officers for links to organised crime syndicates.

These two high-profile arrests come hot on the heels of a swoop on four other senior officers in an operation codenamed Ops Gopi. All six of these cops are believed to be in cahoots with illegal gambling and vice operators in Melaka.

So far, anti-graft officers have seized RM186,000 in cash and have frozen the bank accounts of all suspects, totalling more than RM459,000. MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said his officers were in the midst of tracing the links.

“Give us some time to unearth the inner networking. There may be more arrests depending on the course of our investigations,” he said.

What is even more alarming is information that officers in Bukit Aman could also be implicated in this protection racket. Sources say these officers had knowledge of illegal gambling and vice activities and were actively involved in collecting money from them.

The MACC should be commended for their crackdown on rogue cops, but they should also be training their guns on the Klang Valley. As I mentioned earlier, illegal gambling dens are operating with impunity in Selangor. These outlets can be found in Rawang, Klang, Selayang, Shah Alam, Sepang and even Petaling Jaya.

A few days ago, eight policemen were taken into custody in separate raids in the Klang Valley by Bukit Aman’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department. But this investigation seems to be focused on drug dealers and their links to crooked cops, the result of which has been a major shake-up in the federal police’s Narcotics Department.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has said that he will not condone or protect those involved in illegal activities. “Stern action will be meted out against any personnel, regardless of rank,” he warned.

Once again, kudos to the cops for trying to get rid of this cancer which has infected the force, but the recent rob-and-rape case at the illegal gambling outlet took place just 1km away from the district police headquarters in Serdang.

Three years ago, StarMetro highlighted the fact that there were up to 40 illegal gambling dens in the Sepang district within a 5km radius. After the exposé, the majority of these outlets were shut down, but recent checks show that a number of them have sprung up again. And almost all them operate behind closed doors.

The outlets could be next to a bank, restaurant, convenience store or even a workshop, but the public remains unaware, thanks to the presence of solid metal shutters and grilles.

However, regular gamblers know that they can get in through a secret door hidden in the stairwell. The door is made of heavily tinted glass with a “no helmet” sticker on it, which serves as a code to identify the outlet.

Another common feature is a switch for a bell on the side of the door. Security is tight as the door and the five-foot way in front of the gambling dens are usually under close surveillance through CCTV.

While fingers are being pointed at police for “overlooking” illegal activities in their midst, questions should also be asked about the roles of the local councils.

The local authorities are quick to take action over unpaid assessment and quit rent, but what about cracking down on illegal gambling outlets that do not have business licences?

The writer believes that these outlets could have obtained legitimate cybercafe operating licences. The onus is on the local authorities to ensure that these business licences are not being abused.

Source: by brian martin

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Corruptions, Conflict of interests, politicians and Malaysian bloated civil service


 

Ministers may face conflict of interest, says Tunku Abdul Aziz: 

 

“If you have no power, you cannot abuse it. Civil servants have a lot more power than their political masters and ministers”

 

‘With a population of 31 million, Malaysia has a ratio of one civil servant to almost 20 people.

‘To compare, the news report cited corresponding figures for several other countries: Singapore (1 to 71 people), Indonesia (1:110), South Korea (1:50), China (1:108), Japan (1:28), Russia (1:84) and
Britain (1:118).’

To keep graft in check, politicians should not be appointed to run government-linked companies, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission advisory board chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim (pic).

He said politicians holding GLC positions may face conflict of interest leading to abuse of power and responsibility.

In an interview with Bernama, he said: “Many appointments are made for political reasons. If you are appointed to a position with unanimous power, there are decisions you have to make on a daily basis, weekly, monthly and whatever.

“And in making these decisions, there will be some demands made on you because of your connections, your relatives, your friends and also your cronies.”

Tunku Abdul Aziz said this trend of abusing power because of conflict of interest has been happening since long ago, and may be stopped if the appointment for a top post in a GLC was conducted with “proper selection and screening”.

Tunku Abdul Aziz said the selection process must include going through the candidate’s background and track record.

He said there were always people out there who wanted special treatment, to have the advantage over their competitors.

“They don’t care how it is done (as long as they get the job)… This is where corruption starts.”

Tunku Abdul Aziz said that proper recruitment procedures and techniques could help achieve transparency and accountability, which are essential for top management.

“We can make corruption unprofitable business by making it more difficult to put your hand in the till.”

He believes that corruption is now taking place at the operating level.

“Ministers cannot sign or award contracts. But directors in some departments can do it. This is where abuse of power takes place,” he said.

“If you have no power, you cannot abuse it. Civil servants have a lot more power than their political masters and ministers (in awarding contracts),” he said.

He noted that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was now catching a lot more “big fish” than before the appointment of Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad as the new head in July last year.

Tunku Abdul Aziz said MACC was a dedicated highly professional team focusing on the root causes of corruption while catching the crooks.

— BERNAMA

 

Time to trim the civil service

FINALLY, the Government has itself described the civil service as bloated.

To his credit, Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani openly and honestly stated that the civil service, although bloated, will not be reduced but will instead be made to multi-task to improve productivity. This statement is serious but also worrisome.

We now have one civil servant serving 19.37 people. The ratio is 1:110 for Indonesia, 1:108 for China, and 1:50 for South Korea. We won’t compare ourselves to the low ratio of 1:71.4 in Singapore because it’s a small island with hardly any rural population.

But why is our civil service so bloated? Firstly, we recruited rapidly to give jobs to the boys when the output from the education system expanded. We even had an “Isi Penuh” programme at one time. That is we rushed to create jobs and filled them fast!

Secondly, unlike the private sector, we rarely retrench staff even in bad times. We hardly sack anyone for inefficiency and even wastage of public funds.

Thirdly, the civil service has become a sacred cow that has to be handled gingerly for fear of reaction against the federal and state governments at the ballot box!

Life is relatively comfortable especially at the lower levels of the civil service. Salaries are better than before, pensions are secure, health provisions are generous, and the drive to be more productive is soft. In fact, there is now a strong manja-manja attitude towards civil servants.

The demand to join the civil service is high but the supply of jobs is slowing down considerably.

The Government should decide to reduce the size of the civil service to prevent the strain on the budget deficits, especially in the future.

Salary and pension bills are going up whereas productivity is not publicly perceived to be improving. Those who deal with civil servants often tell us more about the undue delays, corruption and “tidak apa” or lackadaisical attitude shown on the ground towards the public.

The Government should appoint a high-level task force, if not a royal commission, to examine ways and means of trimming the civil service to an efficient and reasonable size.

To start with, the Government should revise its stand on not reducing “the 1.6 million strong bloated civil service.” If it finds it difficult to reduce the civil service, then please freeze recruitment or make it more sparing and definitely more selective. Please go for more quality rather than quantity!

The civil service is huge because the public sector has been designed to be inordinately large. This has evolved because the private sector has been denied and deprived of greater opportunities to serve the public.

There are many government services, facilities and works and supplies that can be provided more efficiently by the business sector. In fact, this could be the way forward for more bumiputra contractors and other races to participate more actively and competitively to serve our society better.

The cost of maintaining the civil service, at RM74bil in 2016 for salaries and allowances, is not sustainable.

The pension bill of RM19bil per annum, without any contribution to the GDP by retirees, is also unbearable in the longer term. At the same time, according to Johari, revenue from palm oil and other commodities have been falling drastically. So where do we go from here?

It is basic economic and financial logic that we cannot afford to cope with rising salary expenditure and lower revenue. It is much more difficult to raise revenue than to cut expenditure.

The Government has said that our fundamentals are strong. Indeed, they are reasonably healthy at this time. But at this rate of a growing civil service that is now acknowledged as bloated, we cannot afford to assume that the economic and financial fundamentals can continue to be strong for much longer.

My appeal then is for Government to more actively seek to reduce the size of the civil service and to act without undue delay. Our good economic fundamentals are being seriously threatened and we must preserve and protect them from further risks.

TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM , Chairman Asli Center of Public Policy Studies

An effective civil service does not burden Govt

Civil Servants

IN a recent interview with a vernacular newspaper, Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani brought up a matter that is seldom highlighted publicly – the size of the Malaysian public sector.

He said the country’s 1.6 million government employees formed “the world’s largest proportion of civil service”.

With a population of 31 million, Malaysia has a ratio of one civil servant to almost 20 people.

To compare, the news report cited corresponding figures for several other countries: Singapore (1 to 71 people), Indonesia (1:110), South Korea (1:50), China (1:108), Japan (1:28), Russia (1:84) and Britain (1:118).

Johari was making the point that a major challenge for the Government was the rising costs of running the public service system.

This is particularly tough when there is a decline in the taxes and other receipts collected from the oil and gas and palm oil industries.

However, he added that there were no plans to reduce the civil service head count.

The minister has won praise for bringing attention to an issue that many have long felt deserves public awareness and discussion.

Emoluments are by far the biggest component of the Government’s operating expenditure, and that cost has kept expanding.

Back in 2006, emoluments totalling RM28.5bil made up 26.5% of the operating expenditure. A decade later, the percentage is estimated to be 35.7%. To pay its employees this year, the Government has allocated RM77.4bil, which is 36% of the budgeted operating expenditure.

And let us not forget the retired civil servants. According to the Public Services Department, there were 739,000 public service pensioners in 2015, and every year, 23,000 people join this group.

In 2010, the Government spent RM11.5bil on pensions and gratuities, accounting for 7.6% of the operating expenditure. In the Budget 2017, retirement charges will come to RM21.8bil, about 10% of operating expenditure.

Although Johari did not appear to use the phrase in the interview, others were quick to talk about the “bloated civil service”.

It should be pointed out that measuring and comparing the sizes of the public sector can be tricky and misleading. There are different ways of defining a civil servant. And the width and depth of a public service system is very much determined by the country’s prosperity and policies.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development looks at public sector employment as a percentage of total employment. In 2013, the average among its members was slightly above 19%.

In Malaysia, civil servants represent 10.8% of our labour force. Perhaps, the public sector is not bloated after all.

On the other hand, we must bear in mind that the number of government employees is growing faster than the country’s labour force.

But we cannot discuss quantity and ignore quality. The issue here is not about how large our public service system is; it is whether the system is larger than necessary.

No matter how big, the numbers make sense if they yield excellent results and lead to robust revenue growth.

At a time when the Government is pushing hard in areas such as innovation, productivity and good governance, the civil service ought to lead by example.

There are already ongoing efforts to transform public service in Malaysia and surely the hope is that these initiatives will result in greater transparency and accountability, enhanced competitiveness, and a high-performance culture,

What is also absolutely clear to us is that the Government’s financial obligations are increasingly heavy, and much of this has to do with the emoluments and pensions it pays.

It is realistic to expect the Government to be more prudent in its hiring of new employees. It cannot afford to be the country’s default employer and young people are wrong to blame the Government if there are no civil service vacancies for them to fill.

The public sector’s primary role is to serve the country’s needs effectively and efficiently. It cannot do that if it is a burden to the Government and ultimately the people. -The Star Says

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Malaysian Anti-Corruption agency launches probe against Mara chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/M4urYR-7-8A

 

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has launched an investigation into the corruption allegations against Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa (pic) who was asked to go on leave.

MACC confirmed that an inquiry is under way to investigate the “alleged misappropriation and misuse of powers” committed by Annuar.

In a statement issued Tuesday, MACC said it will cooperate with Mara’s internal audit department to investigate the allegations against Annuar.

“It should be noted that the MACC investigation is only focused on the issue of corruption and abuse of power involving the sponsorship of the Kelantan football team,” it said.

Mara’s internal audit team is already investigating Annuar’s governance.

MACC urged all parties not to speculate and to let the commission carry out its investigation.

Earlier, Mara council member Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said Annuar was suspended and asked to go on leave while an internal audit is conducted into allegations over the sponsorship of the Kelantan Football Association (Kafa) by two Mara subsidiaries.

The decision was made during an emergency meeting held at the Mara headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday morning.

Dr Yusof said Annuar was also suspended as the head of Mara Investment Bhd (PMB).

He will assume all the positions held by Annuar.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will call Tan Sri Annuar Musa to record his statement on allegations of power abuse and misappropriation.

Along with the suspended Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairman, other officers and those from the Kelantan Football Association will also be called, said MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki.

“We will want assistance from anyone who can help in our investigation into the case.

“We have yet to schedule a time or date for Tan Sri (Annuar) to give his statement. It’s too early to determine because we have just started,” he said. – By Victoria Brown The Star/ANN

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Take a break, Annuar told

 

PETALING JAYA: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa has been asked to go on “temporary leave” to allow internal investigations over Mara’s sponsorships of the Kelantan Football Association (Kafa).

Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was informed that the Mara Council held a special meeting yesterday to pave the way for an internal audit into the sponsorship as well as other issues that have been going viral on social media.

Ismail was clarifying an earlier announcement that Annuar had been suspended.

“He was advised to go on temporary leave pending the investigations,” Ismail said in a statement issued here yesterday.

He said the Mara legal advisors informed him that the council had full authority to act as it did not involve the question of Annuar’s appointment or sacking, which requires the minister’s consent and the Prime Minister’s approval.

“This investigation is to regain the confidence of the public and Annuar was not invited as the meeting was about him.

“In fact, he was not even called in to give an explanation as the council believes it is only right for him to present his explanation to the audit committee,” he added.

Earlier yesterday, Mara Council member Datuk Dr Yusof Yakob, who chaired the council meeting, announced that Annuar had been asked to go on leave and was suspended.

He said this was to allow the internal audit committee to investigate sponsorships by Pelaburan Mara Bhd and UniKL (Universiti Kuala Lumpur) to the state football association through The Red Warriors Sdn Bhd (TRW).

“Those connected will be called up to give an explanation. The audit meeting will be held next week on Feb 7,” he told a press conference after chairing the special meeting at Bangunan Mara.

Dr Yusof said Annuar’s temporary removal will remain in effect pending findings of the probe.

“The findings of the investigations will be tabled to the council and deliberated.

“As long as Tan Sri Annuar is suspended, he will not have access to information or interest in Mara or its subsidiaries,” he said.

Dr Yusof said the council was not “saying who is wrong or right” pending investigations.

“This is the clarification to the rakyat that we will not compromise with whatever accusations such as what happened with the Mara Inc case in Melbourne,” he added.

Asked how Mara was going to regain its credibility, particularly among the Malays, Dr Yusof said this was why the council decided to act swiftly in this matter.

“We are council members entrusted by the people.

“We cannot keep silent and must take the side of the rakyat to take action to resolve the issue,” he said.

Asked if a report would be made to Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), he said that this had not been considered at the moment. “We will wait and see if there is a need to do so,” he added.

However, Dr Yusof stressed the internal audit was focused on Mara’s internal workings and not the abuse of power.

Annuar, who is in New Zealand, said he accepted the action and said it was the prerogative of the Mara Council to have him suspended.

By Mazwin Nik Anis, Martin Carvalho, D.Kanyakumari, Andsofea Susan Albert Kassim,

The Star/ANN

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Sitting in the lap of luxury: A Mercedes Benz belonging to one of the suspects

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/LYHqhmC5oeknocookie.com/embed/Hap2yFzhxG0 https://youtu.be/LYHqhmC5oek

Five people, including two former senior officers of Felda, are in remand for seven days from today for investigations into alleged misappropriation in connection with a sturgeon fish rearing project worth RM47.6 million. — Bernama

Five Felda officials linked to Felda, one of them a ‘Datuk’ have been arrested in a sting operation dubbed ‘Ops Caviar’ , as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission zeroes in on a RM47.6 million sturgeon farming project which failed to take off in Pahang.

PETALING JAYA: Felda is the latest government-linked company (GLC) to be investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which saw three current and two former officers, one of them a Datuk, being arrested for alleged corruption over a project worth RM47.6mil.

Three of them were former senior executives, who held positions of power when they were still with the GLC.

They are the GLC’s former director-general, ex-deputy director-general (strategic resources), and the former operations officer in charge of the sturgeon project.

Two others detained were its head of London Properties and an assistant administration officer.

All five were picked up in a sting operation, dubbed Ops Caviar, by officers from the anti-graft body between 11.30am and 6pm in several locations around Klang Valley yesterday.

Many valuable items were seized during the raids, including a luxury car and jewellery, estimated to be worth millions of ringgit.

More items are expected to be seized as anti-graft officers visit their homes and obtain details of their assets and personal accounts of their immediate family members to be frozen as part of investigations.

They are being investigated for alleged corruption, abuse of positions and using the GLC for personal gain.

It is learnt that the investigation was zeroing in on the implementation of technology transfer in relation to the sturgeon fish rearing project with a Korean firm.

“We believe all the five suspects are directly involved in the project worth US$10mil (RM47.6mil) since 2014.

Penchant for bling bling: Some of the jewellery seized from the suspects.
Major haul: Some of the items sized by MACC

“Checks showed that in early 2013, a meeting was held to discuss the project.

“But the Felda board of directors told the 53-year-old suspect to first come up with a detailed report and a proposal on the amount of investments for the project before making a decision,” said a source.

But unknown to the Felda directors, financial and legal divisions, a company – Felda Carviative Sdn Bhd (FCSB) – was set up in January 2014.

An agreement, worth US$45mil (RM146.25mil), was then signed between the company and a Korean firm, in relation to sturgeon rearing deal.

Checks by the MACC showed the project did not receive accreditation from the Pahang Department of Environment as per the SOP.

“We found payment made to the Korean firm about one week after the FCSB was set up.

“This was despite no approval being obtained from the Felda directors,” added the source.

So far, funds amounting to RM47.6mil from Felda have been disbursed by the suspects.

It is learnt the deal with the foreign firm involved technology transfer, service agreement and design and construction agreement.

The agreement was said to have been inked by the Datuk and the 53-year-old suspect, both of whom were former directors of FCSB.

Then, the financial division was also under the purview of both suspects.

MACC director of investigations Datuk Simi Abd Ghani confirmed the arrests of the five.

Simi said stacks of documents relating to the project had been seized to assist in the probe.

“The investigation is still in the initial stage. We will need time to sift through the documents and call in more witnesses to gather evidence. Give us some time to work on the case,” he said.

All the five suspects, held overnight at the MACC Putrajaya headquarters, will be remanded today.

Source: The Star/ANN

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Auditor General Ambrin: Losses in publicly funded projects due to graft

Tan Sri Ambrin Buang

KUALA LUMPUR: Mismanage­ment and corruption in publicly funded construction projects have caused potential losses of up to 30% of a project’s investment value, according to the Auditor-General (pic).

Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank showed how corruption in the infrastructure and extractive sectors had led to misallocation of public funds and services that were substandard and insufficient.

“It is difficult to measure the exact cost, but it has been estimated that between 10% and 30% of the investment in publicly funded construction projects may be lost through mismanagement, and about 20% to 30% of project value is lost through corruption,” he said at the Combating Procurement Fraud in the Public and Private Sectors Forum 2017 yesterday.

The forum highlighted the issues in public procurements in Malaysia – a process where the government obtains works, goods or services from companies and one that Ambrin said is most vulnerable to corruption.

Ambrin’s speech was read out by the National Audit Department’s research, corporate and international relations division director Roslan Abu Bakar.

Ambrin also observed that procurement fraud in the public sector is a complex issue, covering a wide range of illegal activities from bid-rigging during the pre-contract award phase through to false invoicing in the post-contract award phase.

He noted that last year, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission had opened up a series of investigations involving government procurements.

“One of these involved senior government officials making false claims and fraud amounting to RM20mil last year, and this was followed by a case involving a senior Youth and Sports Ministry official amounting to RM107mil.

“Another case involved a Sabah Water Department official for fraud amounting to RM153mil, and the latest arrest involved a federal ministry secretary-general,” he said.

The Auditor-General added that based on experience, he could not entirely dismiss the existence of bid-rigging in Malaysia’s public procurement.

“One of the signs is when an equipment price is quoted higher than market value.

“If procurement officers do not research market prices, they will believe that the given price is reasonable.

“For example, in the Audit Report, we highlighted significant differences in prices of certain equipment, ranging from RM1,000 to RM7,200 additional cost for the same types and specifications,” he said.

Post-contract fraud is also a common problem, and Ambrin said the department had identified cases where payment control systems were bypassed to allow for fraud to occur.

Source: The Star/ANN



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Tekun National, a financial services agency’s ex-CEO charged with corruption




https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/2AENwxAVtaAhttps://youtu.be/2AENwxAVtaA

Abdul Rahim escorted to the court room in Shah Alam

SHAH ALAM: Former Tekun Nasional managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Rahim Hassan was charged at the Sessions Court here with two counts of corruption.

He pleaded not guilty to the first charge of soliciting a bribe of RM36,000 via a text message from Abdul Muhsin Abdul Rahman between 8.30pm and 9pm on Jan 13, 2015, as an inducement to help speed up claims made by Pasadana Sdn Bhd, a registered debt collection company.

He also claimed trial to a second charge of accepting a bribe in the form of cash from Abdul Muhsin at about 9.30pm on Jan 15, the same year at Kelab Shah Alam Selangor in Seksyen 13 here.

Both offences were under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

The bribe is equivalent to 10% of the outstanding amount due to Tekun for November 2014.

It is learnt that the company was appointed by the accused to carry out debt collection from defaulters with over two years of outstanding dues.

Tekun Nasional is a financial services agency for micro and small entrepreneurs under the Agriculture & Agro-based Industry Ministry.

Clad in a dark green polo T-shirt and black pants, Abdul Rahim nodded after the charges were read to him by a court interpreter.

The MACC deputy public prosecutor Aida Adhha Abu Bakar suggested that bail be set at RM20,000 for each charge. She also asked that Abdul Rahim be ordered to surrender his passport to the court until the case is over.

Counsel Datuk Hasnal Redzua Merican, assisted by Muzzamir Merican, requested for a single bail sum.

Judge Asmadi Hussin then set bail at RM18,000 with one surety and ordered the accused to surrender his passport.

He also set Feb 8, for case management and set March 13 to 17, for trial.

On Sunday, a team of MACC officers detained the 62-year-old at his house in Bukit Bandaraya, Shah Alam, at 5.15pm.

He was first picked up in Kelab Shah Alam on Jan 15, 2015, after receiving the alleged bribes and was released after the remand order had lapsed.

The MACC only recently obtained consent to charge him.

It was not the first time Abdul Rahim was charged. In November 2015, he was slapped with two corruption charges linked to his family members.

It is learnt that the charges had been withdrawn by the prosecution.

Sources: By Allison Lai The Star/Asia News Network

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Tekun Nasional

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 USAHAWAN TEKUN … SKIM PEMBIAYAAN TEKUN NASIONALTEMAN TEKUNAR-RAHNU TEKUNI-FACTORINGINSTITUT KEUSAHAWANAN TEKUN

Former Tekun boss faces graft charges

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