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Bangsa Malaysia Berikan pendapat anda bagi mewujudkan BANGSA MALAYSIA!

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  #1  
Old 28-11-2009, 09:40 PM
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Default Malaysia could be very rich

How the gov't 'looted' up to US$100 bil
Nov 28, 09 11:28am

The multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone scandal may be big, but it is only the latest in a long line of scandals going back to the early 1980s.

Time magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asia economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore, saying that the country might have lost “as much as US$100 billion since the early 1980s to corruption”.

The scandals listed below are only a small sample of the looting of the country's coffers:

In July of 1983, what was then the biggest banking scandal in world history erupted in Hong Kong, when it was discovered that Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF), a unit of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd, had lost as much as US$1 billion which had been siphoned off by prominent public figures into private bank accounts.

The story involved murder, suicide and the involvement of officials at the very top of the Malaysian government. Ultimately it involved a bailout by the Malaysian government amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mak Foon Tan, the murderer of Jalil Ibraim, a Bank Bumi assistant manager who was sent to Hong Kong to investigate the disappearance of the money, was given the death sentence, and Malaysian businessman George Tan who had participated in looting most of the funds, was jailed after his Carrian Group collapsed in what was then Hong Kong's biggest bankruptcy, and a handful of others were charged.

No major politician was ever punished in Malaysia despite a white paper prepared by an independent commission that cited cabinet minutes of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving an okay to a request to throw more money into the scandal in an effort to contain it.

That was just the first Bank Bumi scandal. The government-owned bank had to be rescued twice more with additional losses of nearly US$600 million in today's dollars.

Ultimately government officials gave up and the bank was absorbed into CIMB Group, currently headed by Nazir Razak, the sitting prime minister's brother.

Bank Negara lost RM20 bil

That scandal, which stretched over several years before its denouement in 1985, set the tone for 24 years of similar scandals related to top Malaysian officials and was the first to prove that in Malaysia, you can not only get away with murder, you can get away with looting the treasury as well.

Perwaja Steel, for instance, lost US$800 million and its boss, Eric Chia, a crony of Mahathir's, was charged with looting the company. He stood trial, but was acquitted without having to put on a defense.

In the mid-1980s, the Co-operative Central Bank, a bank set up to aid the Indian smallholder community, had to be rescued by Bank Negara, the country's central bank, after hundreds of millions of ringgit in loans granted to a flock of Umno and MIC politicians became non-performing.

Some had never been serviced at all. Although the chief executive and general manager were charged with criminal breach of trust, none of the politicians were ever charged.

Before that, the Malaysian government was believed to have lost US$500 million in an attempt at Mahathir's urging to corner the London tin market through a company called Maminco, driving the world price of tin from US$4.50 per tonne to US$7.50.

It then sought to cover up the loss by establishing a US$2 company called Mukawasa from which allocations of new share issues to the government's Employees Provident Fund (EPF) were diverted. Mukawasa expected to sell the shares at a windfall profit to hide the tin speculation.

Mahathir also was behind an attempt by the then governor of Bank Negara, the central bank, to aggressively speculate in the global foreign exchange market. Bank Negara ended up losing an estimated RM20 billion. The governor, Jaffar Hussein, and the head of forex trading, Nor Mohamed Yakcop were forced to resign.

'Malaysia's Enron scandal

There have been many other political and financial scandals since. In 2005, Bank Islam Malaysia, the country's flagship Islamic bank, reported losses of RM457 million mainly due to provisioning totaling RM774 million as a result of bad loans and investments incurred by its Labuan branch.

Cumulatively, Bank Islam ran up non-performing loans of RM2.2 billion, partly from mismanagement and poor internal controls but also "years of regulatory indifference fueled by the misconceived notion of an untouchable Bank Islam because it was a favourite child of the Malaysian government, being the first and model Islamic bank in the country and region," according to a December 19, 2005 article in Arab News.

"Bank Islam had a reputation in the market for being the spoilt child of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance; and the perception of the bank was more of a Muslim financial fraternity or government development financial institution," the report said.

In 2007, in what was called Malaysia's Enron scandal, the publicly traded Transmile Group Bhd, whose chairman was former MCA president and cabinet minister Ling Liong Sik, was caught having overstated its revenue by RM530 million.

A pretax profit from RM207 million in 2006 was actually a loss of RM126 million, and a pretax profit of RM120 million in 2005 was a loss of RM77 million, causing the government postal company Pos Malaysia & Services Holdings Bhd to warn that its earnings for the 2006 financial year might be affected by the reported overstatement, as the postal group owned 15.3 percent of Transmile.

Bailouts and more bailouts

Over the years 2001 to 2006, the government had to spend billions to rescue seven privatised projects including Kuala Lumpur's two public transport systems, the perennially ailing Malaysia Airlines, the national sewage system and a variety of others that, in the words of one study, "had been privatised prematurely."

The government also repeatedly bailed out highway construction concessionaires, all of them closely connected to Umno, to the tune of another RM38.5 billion.

In 2008, it was revealed that Rafidah Aziz, who had served as trade and industry minister for 18 years, had been peddling approved permits for duty-free car sales and allegedly lining her pockets.

Two companies which didn't even have showrooms – one of which belonged to the husband of Rafidah's niece – received scores of permits.

Although Rafidah came in for heavy criticism from within Umno, she remained in office until she was defeated in party elections.

In the 1960s, federal prosecutors in the United States who were attempting to jail the late labour boss Jimmy Hoffa for looting the Teamsters Pension Fund of millions of dollars with his cronies were puzzled by the fact that their revelations appeared to have little effect on the union's rank and file.

It was because no matter how much money Hoffa and his cronies stole, there was always money left because the fund was so rich. That appears to be the case with Malaysia.
The above first appeared in Asia Sentinel.
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  #2  
Old 29-11-2009, 05:01 PM
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MIRI, MALAYSIA - The Sarawak Cabinet has ordered an internal investigation into claims made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that up to 60% of government allocations - running into billions of ringgit - meant for vital infrastructure projects between 2002 and 2008 have been misappropriated.

MACC investigations showed that only 40% of the money set aside by the Government were spent on the projects. The remaining 60% were said to have been 'leaked elsewhere.'

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said yesterday the state government's internal audit department would carry out a detailed probe into the allegations.

'The state government is investigating. We also want the MACC to give us a full and detailed briefing on these claims. We (state government) view these claims very seriously and if such abuse of government funds had taken place, we must find out who was responsible and take appropriate action against them.

'This is government money that comes from taxpayers. If indeed funds from the Government meant for projects for the rakyat and the poor had been misappropriated, the state government wants action taken,' he said yesterday.

He was commenting on a statement by MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Zakaria Jaffar that the MACC had uncovered cases in Sarawak where up to 60% of government allocations had been 'diverted' away from the projects.

Zakaria had said this in Kuching during an anti-corruption seminar a few days ago. He claimed that the misappropriation of funds took place between 2002 and last year, adding that MACC investigations showed that only 40% of the money allocated by the Government were spent on the projects.

He, however, did not disclose what the projects were or which part of Sarawak the projects were being carried out.

He noted that the projects involved infrastructure constructions for roads, housing schemes and mosques, among other things.

Zakaria said MACC investigations found that many of these projects were poorly-implemented while some had not even begun despite the fact that the Government had already channelled the money for them.

'The MACC found that there were fake claims made by officials and contractors involved in these projects,' Zakaria said.

Dr Chan, who is State Industrial Development Minister and State Minister for Agriculture Modernisation, said yesterday that the state government had always been very strict with how allocations from the Federal Government are used.

He said the Sarawak Cabinet had always been transparent with taxpayers' money.

'I am happy that the MACC had exposed the issue. If they are doing their job properly, we are thankful because this is for the good of the rakyat,' he said.

State Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg wants the MACC to give him more details about the housing projects said to be affected by the misappropriation of government funds.
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  #3  
Old 30-11-2009, 03:07 PM
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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has found himself in a pickle over his alleged transfer of RM10 million to London, due to the perception that he should have known better than to send the money through a money changer.

The Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar’s use of a money changer has thrown up a host of questions, most of which involve corruption allegations that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) — and even his enemies in Umno — are already exploiting.

Mohamad’s predicament has invited comparisons to another Umno politician — Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, the former Selangor MB — who was caught in Brisbane in 1997 for failing to declare nearly RM4 million worth of Australian dollars.

Muhammad admitted in court later that he had bought several properties worth nearly RM17 million. He was eventually acquitted after he claimed ignorance of Australian laws because he could not understand English.

But Mohamad does not have the same option.

Before he was made Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar in 2004, he was the managing director of Cycle & Carriage.

Mohamad has followed the footsteps of Muhammad. — file pic
As a major corporate figure, Mohamad is familiar with the laws surrounding money transactions.

The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Mohamad is understood to have privately blamed his own staff for making him use the services of a money changer.

But the questions surrounding him now is not just that he used a money changer instead of a bank, where he would have had to make an official declaration, but why he chose the illegal option.

Mohamad, who became mentri besar in 2004, is currently under Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) probe for allegedly transferring funds amounting to RM10 million to London through a money changer, Salamath Ali.

Mohamad’s illegal transaction surfaced because of Bank Negara’s drive to go after hot money sent through Indian-Muslim money changers in the system known as hawala — which financial authorities and even the United Nations had promised to eradicate as a conduit for financing global terrorism and crime.

Mohamad had avoided answering questions about the transaction from DAP lawmaker Anthony Loke in the Negri Sembilan state assembly sitting last week.

But he cannot stay silent for long, now that the knives are out for him in his own party.

Yesterday, The Malaysian Insider reported that Negri Sembilan Umno warlords are using allegations of the illegal money transfer to unseat the unpopular Mohamad.

PR lawmakers are also pressing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to initiate an investigation.

In 1997, Muhammad was forced to resign as Selangor Mentri Besar after his failure to declare the cash he was carrying surfaced.

Mohamad’s enemies in Umno will want him to do the same as Muhammad, and possibly install the popular Tan Sri Isa Samad as his replacement.

But The Malaysian Insider understands that Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not likely to push for his removal.

The original plan was always to have a new MB in Negri Sembilan only after the next general elections.

But both Mohamad and Najib will have to come up with convincing arguments to appease the state’s party warlords and also to avert a potential backlash from the public.
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:05 PM
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Govt to pay RM3.8billion to 'rent' cars from Spanco over a period of 25 years.

Paying 150 millions a year just to rent Proton cars from this company!


http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/118781
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2009, 02:00 PM
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Police deputy head can retired with so much money. Then how about deputy Minister, Minister and...........higher up.
Really Malaysia is a land of plenty.

Battle over ex-top cop's RM47m estate

2009/12/04

V. Anbalagan

KUALA LUMPUR: A bitter legal tussle is brewing between a brother and the son of a former deputy inspector-general of police who left RM47.3 million in property on his death in September.

Jeffri Jaffar, son of Tan Sri Jaafar Abdul, obtained an interim order against Ahmad Dedol from the Syariah High Court in Muar on Nov 4 to freeze all movable and immovable properties of his father until a decision by the court.

He also obtained an injunction to prohibit Ahmad from transferring or disposing of the property.

Jeffri, 39, wants Ahmad’s bank accounts frozen besides banks and and also that of banks and financial institutions, including Lembaga Urusan Tabung Haji, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Bursa Malaysia and enforcement agencies, to adhere to the syariah court order.

He also wants Islamic religious enforcement agencies, the police, the court and other relevant departments to help him enforce the order.

Jaffar, 77, died on Sept 1 at the Gleneagles Hospital after massive upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

He joined the police force in 1951, rosing rising to become the director of the Federal police Anti-Narcotics Department in 1982.

Within several months, Jaffar was promoted to chief police officer of Johor.

In 1984, he was made the Federal police director of management and the deputy inspector-general of police the following year until his retirement in May.

After his retirement, he became the chairman of Cosway Corporation Berhad, Dutaland Berhad (formerly known as Mycom Berhad) and Yinson Holdings Berhad.

He was also a director of Olympia Industries Berhad, Silverstone Corporation Berhad, Parkson Holdings Berhad (formerly known as Amalgamated Containers Berhad) and several other private limited companies.

Jaffar’s wife, died three years ago.

In late October, Ahmad, 70, obtained a letter of administration from the High Court in Muar to administer Jaffar’s property.

Ahmad was entrusted with identifying Jaffar’s properties, settle his debts and distribute the balance of the wealth according to Islamic religious law.
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However, Jeffri went to the syariah court to file an action to stop Ahmad from performing the task.

The New Straits Times understands the syariah court has fixed Dec 7 to hear the dispute which could include Ahmad’s application to set aside the order obtained by Jeffri.

According to the list of property in the letter of ad ministration, Jaffar has 36 landed properties worth RM9.7 million in Johor and Malacca.

This includes three clusters of property in Muar worth RM7.1 million.

He left behind RM37.3 million in Tabung Haji, savings and fixed deposits in Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM) and Amanah Saham Wawasan 2020 (ASW), Bank Rakyat, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) and several commercial banks.

Among the larger amounts are RM3.8 million in Tabung Haji, RM6.5 million savings in ASW, RM1.3 million in Amanah Saham Didik, RM2 million fixed deposit in Bank Rakyat and three fixed deposits of RM1 million each in BSN.

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/N...cle/index_html

Last edited by fortune : 04-12-2009 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:26 PM
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Malaysian doctor: Singapore should be grateful to Malaysians for its success

December 6, 2009 by admin
Filed under Headlines

Written by Our Correspondent

A Malaysian doctor by the name of Chen Jiayi who had chosen to return to Malaysia after working for a number of years in Singapore wrote in the Malaysian Chinese newspaper Sin Chew yesterday that Singapore should be grateful to the Malaysians for its success today.

Dr Chen did not reveal the reason behind his return except that “the answer would be revealed in time to come.”

When he first came to work in a Singapore government hospital as a house officer, Dr Chen soon realized that he was working with many of compatriots, some of whom are his highest level superiors. Even the Singapore Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan was a former Malaysian citizen.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the press that half the number of medical specialists at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital are Malaysians during his recent visit to Singapore to attend the APEC Summit.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:17 AM
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Will KL step up to the plate?

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The public acknowledgement by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah last week that Malaysia had lost its competitive edge because it had stagnated in the past decade and is now in urgent need of wide-ranging reform to get out of the rut was belated admission of a well-known fact.

Unable to sustain continuous pump priming because of its ballooning budget deficit, the government would like the private sector to step up to the plate. That will take some persuading, if the past decade serves as a guide.

According to Ahmad Husni, the services sector is underdeveloped, private investment is half the level before the 1997-98 Asian crisis, while the mainstay manufacturing sector is suffering from a lack of investment.

Not only has foreign direct investment (FDI) been on the downtrend, local businesses are eschewing the country for better prospects overseas. “We can't blame investors for not increasing their investments locally when the cost of operation in Malaysia is escalating disproportionately due to corruption, red tape, flip-flop policies, a small consumer market, mismatched labour force, etc. It is even harder to grow big when the private sector has to compete with GLCs (government-linked companies) that monopolise many essential services,” an observer posted online.

Ahmad Husni's hard-hitting speech at an economic outlook conference called for meritocracy and an equal opportunity to participate in the economy — an obvious if indirect reference to the affirmative-action New Economic Policy (NEP), which critics say has been long abused, leading to economic inefficiencies and leakages which bleed the nation.

“The long-term success of the nation's economy must take precedence over the short-term interests of a few protected groups,” stated Ahmad Husni, who as former trade deputy minister, would be only too cognisant of globalisation and the fierce competition globally for investment and talent. Other emerging economies have pulled ahead while insular policies have held Malaysia back.

At ground level, the response to Ahmad Husni's disclosure ran along the lines of “tell us something new”.

Truth be told, the myriad problems plaguing the local economy is anything but. Whether it be an over-reliance on low-skilled foreign labour, corruption, crime, graduate employability, brain drain, untenable subsidies, erosion of confidence in key institutions, religious extremism, a bloated civil service, etc, the numerous structural issues were apparent more than a decade ago.

But owing to complacency and a lack of political will to address the issues, the problems were allowed to fester and grow so much so that today, as National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) board member Zainal Aznam Yusof observed in an unusually frank assessment: “There are lots of things to be fixed. The roof is not leaking; we do not need a plumber. It is the foundation of the house. Probably the whole house needs to be rebuilt.”

The new economic model which is to guide Malaysia towards competitiveness and its aim of being a high- income economy by 2020 is to be unveiled this month. NEAC chairman and head of the economic planning unit Amirsham Aziz has indicated it's not easy to quickly establish a model because the problems are complex and the council wants to ensure the proposals submitted “can withstand the expected public scrutiny”.

“In my opinion, what the prime minister wants is an honest appraisal of where we are today, where do we go from here, and, most importantly, how do we get there.”

Because the issues are long-standing, it would be surprising if feedback on the problems and recommendations are all that different from what has been gleaned in the past.

That the political spirit and flesh are weak is evident in many a capitulation when push comes to shove — the latest being the extension of the much maligned AP (approved permits) system.

Although the vehicle import permit scheme was to be scrapped next year, the government recently saw fit to extend it until 2015. How Malaysia's leaders reconcile this market-unfriendly policy with its stated intent of “the nation's economy taking precedence over the short-term interests of a few protected groups” boggles the mind.

In the era of ICT and the Internet, investors can easily access and share information. Unfortunately for Malaysia, its tendency to oversell and underdeliver, resulting in a sizeable disconnect between policy execution and rhetoric, has resulted in investors preferring to wait-and-see.

That Malaysia stands at a crucial crossroads — or economic emergency, as some see it — is evident. For all the setbacks over the years, the country still has tremendous talents and the ability to help it achieve its stated goals. Acknowledging the challenges is one thing; but if measures to overcome them are not followed through, it is “a sheer waste of time and effort”, as opposition members have observed.

Let Malaysians not have to mourn the loss of yet another lost decade. — Business Times Singapore
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:14 PM
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The borrowed success of Singapore

I met up with some old classmates several times since my university graduation, and discovered that over half of my Form V classmates had gone to study, work, or even settle down in Singapore.

I knew many of the top talents from my school ended up in Singapore, but I was not aware that the number could be so big.

Those secondary school classmates of mine were among the most brilliant in school, and Singapore was more than happy to bring these independent Chinese secondary school students there so that they could get the opportunity to advance their ambitions.

Still on my internship at a government hospital here, I had a mixed bag of feelings, and to my own disbelief, I joined their rank several years later.

Only a few days in Singapore, I was told by my superior that there were plenty of my compatriots around me.

Indeed, beginning with my colleagues and looking upward level by level, I found that many of my highest level superiors were Malaysians.

They were doing their work conscientiously and had contributed significantly towards the success of the tiny city-state.

I suddenly had that feeling of pride that Singapore owed much of its success to the contributions made by Malaysian citizens.

I was told by colleagues that Malaysian talents were the most sought after in Singapore.

Due to cultural and geographical proximity, we are actually that group of foreigners who can best assimilate themselves into the Singapore society.

This can't be more true, as the two countries were forced apart by nothing but politics!

Due to the nature of my job, I came to know many patients. Singapore is a multicultural, more so a multinational country. To these migrant workers, fundamental communication is never a problem: Chinese Malaysians are well versed in three languages plus an array of Chinese dialects.

Not all Singaporean doctors have this linguistic gift! Due to their educational system, the younger generation of Singaporeans are proficient in English, mediocre only in Chinese. For Malay language, they are largely outsiders; as for Chinese dialects, that will have to depend on whether their gandpas and grannies are still around.

As such, young Singaporean doctors face communciation problems when they encounter aged patients, resorting to hand language at times just to get their messages across.

To Singapore, Malaysian talents are what they are most avid to tout for.

Singapore's meritocratic system knows no skin colours. But if it does, I could have bagged in more perks.

I later decided to return to my country. Many have asked me why I wanted to come back to Malaysia, which is filthy, messy, hard to make a good living, and plagued with partial government policies.

Why did I make such an unnatural decision? Perhaps the answer would be revealed in time to come, I was thinking.

The more successful Singapore has become, the more I feel proud of my Malaysian compatriots who have crossed the Causeway to serve in the Lion City.

But sometimes I would have this perverted idea: You Singaporeans need to be grateful to us, the "Made in Malaysia" yet forsaken lot, for what you have achieved!

By Chen Jiaqi (reader)/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:17 PM
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Big debate going on in this forum on this topic


http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=23437

Last edited by fortune : 07-12-2009 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:21 PM
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Slow death of a splendid country
Josh Hong

Dec 4, 09
2:17pm

A friend of mine runs a small eatery in Ipoh.When I visited him recently, he related a confrontation with the police.

"They wanted to take my undocumented worker away. I tried to intervene, saying that the guy from Myanmar was simply trying to eke out a living, having fled persecution at home.

"They refused to listen. One of them even said he had no time for sympathy as such, or all Malaysians would soon be out of job. I reminded him what he had just said was un-Islamic.

"That really raised his hackles and he wanted to hit me, only to be stopped by his colleagues," said my friend.

"What happened to the worker?" I asked.

"They abandoned him in the middle of nowhere after they failed to get any money from him. The poor chap walked all the way back to my shop the next morning."

"It was rather audacious of you to accuse the police of being un-Islamic!" said I.

"I had no choice. Umno and PAS have been competing to intensify religiosity in this country, so they'd better make sure all law enforcement officers live by their terribly high standards!"

For those unfamiliar with Malaysia, my friend's experience is not unique. In fact, it has become a norm.

Two years ago, another friend was forced to abort plans to open a nursery after local government officers hinted at "extra costs".

He toyed with the idea again when Pakatan Rakyat came to power in Perak, but hesitated long enough for the new government to be toppled last February.

Malaysian civil servants are largely failing the public. When massive floods hit southeastern Johor about three years ago, rescue workers refused to help unless they were paid.

Syed Hamid Albar, the MP for Kota Tinggi, was taken to task for this and thanks to the presence of the then PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the MP did not talk back, which was out of character.

Now that Najib Abdul Razak hopes to introduce more incentives and attractive initiatives to woo dwindling foreign investment, small and medium industries and local businesses continue to be plagued with bloated bureaucracy and corruption.

Without the support of domestic enterprises, foreigners will find it unsustainable to invest in Malaysia. But local industries have clearly lost their momentum and competitiveness in the last decade.

Politically, our civic culture remains in a sorry state despite the euphoria of the 12th General Election. And this is even more of a concern to me than anything else.

Ill mannered behaviour

Recently a group of BN youth leaders staged a protest outside the Penang legislative assembly, with an unidentified protestor stomping and torching a poster of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The latter was piqued and said: "I hope the police would exercise the same tolerance towards other demonstrations."

Since when did the notorious Malaysian police show tolerance towards any form of protest? What Lim stopped short of saying was that he would probably love to see the protestors dispersed, with teargas and water cannons if necessary.

Since taking over the Penang state government in March 2008, the DAP has boycotted Merdeka Review (a Chinese-language news portal) and Utusan Malaysia, while reneging on its promise to restore the Third Vote.

All these acts truly call into question the party's commitment to freedom of information and civil liberties. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once famously wrote: 'Man is free, but not if he does not believe it.'

I detest the mainstream media for twisting news in subservience to the BN government, but I must conscientiously respect their right to report.

It is the public that has the ultimate authority to decide the contents and quality of reporting, not politicians of either side.

Worse, the DAP continues to behave like a populist party in the wilderness, rather than an effective government in waiting.

While Lim may have been genuinely hurt by the act of torching and stomping, he nevertheless conveniently forgot that party leaders in Perak had on the day before, placed a 'doormat' bearing the faces of the three defectors for others to step on.

Lim chose to jump over the banner, saying that he did not want to get his feet tainted with something "filthy". This mean-spiritedness is utterly uncalled for, and unbecoming of a politician aspiring to lead the nation one day.

Ngeh Koo Ham, the DAP Perak chief, gleefully "confessed" that he did step on the banner "at the request of the press".

As a staunch Christian, Ngeh really should have refrained from doing things that would not only tarnish the image of the Christian community, but betray the trust of the people also.

To create a more mature political culture, we need more rational debate and level-headed reflection on policy-making, rather than incessant name-calling and ill mannered behaviour.

Both sides of the political divide, as well as their respective supporters, should therefore learn to embrace peaceful assembly and freedom of thought, while rejecting hatred and malicious acts.

Down through human history, many nations have risen and fallen because of populism. A mature democracy ensures the right to express differently without humiliating one's humanity.

Koid Teng Guan, the Sungai Pinang assemblyperson, therefore showed acted in poor taste by sending out text messages cursing the MCA and Gerakan to hell.

Evil begets evil, and a distasteful stunt is the last thing that the Malaysian electorate deserves.

One may ask: What about BN representatives who had misbehaved? What about those like Azhar Ibrahim (left), who allegedly showed his butt during a state assembly sitting, and Bung Mokhtar, who is (in)famous for sexist remarks?

To be honest, I have given up on them long ago, and look forward to the new breed of politicians. The expectations are hence higher in regard to Pakatan because many are resigned to the fate that the BN is beyond rescue.

Yet it does not mean that Pakatan leaders can take our trust for granted and squander it!

Given the unruly law enforcement officers and cantankerous political leaders, I'm least surprised at the revelation by the government that the number of Malaysians migrating abroad has almost doubled since last year year.

The truth is, our country is becoming poorer by the day, otherwise the government would not be exhausting all measures to boost tax coffers.

Like a rich Chinese family in the olden times, we are eating high off the hog while the wealth is in fact fast depleting.

And it will only leave the future generations, who have neither the means nor capability to migrate, to suffer.

JOSH HONG studied politics at London Metropolitan University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. A keen watcher of domestic and international politics, he longs for a day when Malaysians will learn and master the art of self-mockery, and enjoy life to the full in spite of politicians.
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