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Tag: corruption (page 1 of 3)

Kudos to Kazuo Ishiguro!

One of my favourite writers, Ishiguro has won the Nobel prize in literature! I have been a big fan since I read Remains of the Day during my university days. His Japanese theme stories are awesome; Pale View of the Hills and An Artist of the Floating World. The subsequent novels were good but did nothing much for me. However, last year, I read possibly his best ever novel, the Buried Giant. I was just incredibly moved for days after finishing it. The sense of intense loss in a fog of feelings, real and yet ethereal.

It is strange to read books of your favourite writers. I have been reading Ishiguro, Auster, Marquez, Kundera, Carey over 30 years. You can sort of track their language, their writing, some disappointing, some inspiring, all steadily aging in tandem to your own physical state.

When I was in early twenties, I was influenced much by Ishiguro’s An Artist. I was, for a period of 10 odd years from high school to becoming a practising lawyer, fixated with the idea of pursuing painting seriously. Ideas of art as struggle, art as a craft, and art as absurd lightness, preoccupied my thoughts. Life was simpler, purer without much material concerns. One day, when I retire from politics, I might just pick up where I left off.

At the moment, there is just so much more to do. The enemy manifests itself in the shape of UMNO BN, but the tangles of corruption and abuses of power are much, much deeper. Mentoring my staff and interns on a straight path of politics and how to think about public policies keeps me going. This political life is shaping to be a much longer fight than I had anticipated.…/kazuo-ishiguro-wins-the-nobel…

“Rajinnya”, our MACC!

It is very good to know that the MACC has been working very hard to seize corrupt monies and assets. Keep it up!

According to Malaysiakini, the MACC boss Dzulkifli claims that RM21.43 million has been seized this year up till September and that represents a 400% increase from last year. He said the amount is “staggering”.

A 400% increase means that the entire last year, you only managed to recover a miserable RM5 million!

Also your liberal use of the word “staggering” is absolutely misleading. Staggering means something very difficult to believe.

RM21 million is not staggering-lah, however RM2.6 billion is indeed staggering! What is even more staggering is the US$1 billion (RM4.3 billion) that is in the US DoJ that your government has yet to request to be returned to Malaysia.

Corruption: A Rumination

Good morning. I want to talk about the subject matter of corruption this morning. Corruption is the single most important issue facing Malaysia and has been a topic of many of our Monday Night Chats.

While I was in Jakarta last week, I learned of the story about the Samsung heir being sentenced to 5 years jail for corrupting the S.Korean President. And during my conference in Jakarta, the common woe told by MPs from Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines was of corruption and abuses of power. Then last Saturday, I was part of a group of judges for the KPUM finals, where the topic was on the MACC and Whistleblower Act.

What is the state of corruption in Malaysia? Has the level of corruption increased or decreased? Is corruption so widespread that it encompasses both sides, the federal government and also the Opposition governments?

Common people and the chattering professionals talk about “one side steals millions and the other side steals billions”. There is a lot of despair and disillusionment out there. What future is there for real change, if the next PM may just be another shade of the same, what one of friends describe as “UMNO light”.

Well, I just came back from Indonesia and had the chance to speak to Indonesian policy advisors to Jokowi as well as Indonesian MPs. They tell a story of gradual but fundamental change, and it is a story of hope and a call for patience.

The Indonesian experience in combatting corruption has many valuable lessons for us. Indonesian culture is similar to that of the Malay culture here, therefore there is a belief that change must be gradual to make room for consensus building. On the other hand, the Singapore culture is also similar to the Malaysian Chinese culture here, there is therefore an expectation that with stern leadership we can quickly achieve a corrupt free society.

The key point is whoever comes to power, there must be a commitment to carry out 3 key policy reforms. Policy 1: Establish press freedom, let the press shame and name corrupt politicians without fear or favour. Policy 2: Empower MACC to be completely professional and independent, accountable only to Parliament. Policy 3: Pay your MPs reasonably well so that you eliminate the need to be corrupt.

The 1998 Indonesian Reformasi planted these policy reform seeds and it then took close to 10 to 15 years before the anti corruption system became fully functional. Today, everyone in Indonesia, including the ruling politicians, fears the KPK (the Indon MACC).

It is my belief that the two big cultural and policy influences of Indonesia and Singapore, will see Malaysia achieving significant anti corruption results faster than Indonesia, that is within 5 to 10 years.

So if you are part of the despairing public on the state of corruption in both federal and opposition politics, don’t give up! Demand your MPs to do better and monitor them carefully. Scrutinise their asset declaration forms. Note if they are living beyond their means; the cars they drive and the watches they wear always invariably gives them away!

Lastly, voting UMNO BN will bring zero prospects of any change. Despite the existence of bad apples, voting Opposition will at least guarantee the planting of the seeds of anti-corruption reforms. We then have to wait 5 to 10 years for full results. The Indonesian experience tells a positive story of hope moderated by patience.

That’s it for my long Monday morning chat (stay tuned for tonight’s Monday Night Chat video), I wish all a very productive week ahead.

Am attaching our latest P104 family photo of current and past staff, volunteers and interns. Our P104 family has grown to about 70 plus now from 4 years ago!

CNBC: Cut the Wastage, Cut the Corruption

Here is Wong Chen’s interview with CNBC, filmed last Thursday and just aired yesterday.

In this three-minute segment, he covers:
– Improving long-term investor confidence, a zero-GST plan, and higher wages to solve Malaysia’s fiscal problem;
– Targeting Malaysia’s rural voters: how Mahathir’s involvement with help gain rural votes; and
– Malaysia’s coalition politics.

Monday Night Chat with Wong Chen: Episode 32

Hi everyone! This is Megan here! And below is the 32nd episode of this week’s Monday Night Chat! We hope you enjoy!

Q&A [00:45] – Jho Low Scandal Update; PKNS Field Sport City; Plan B after the freezing of my office accounts
Public Policy Focus [05:00] – Examining where the loopholes of corruption, abuse of power and wastage is found in local & state governments
The Intern Experience [10:52] – The Interns relaying their experience when they were interviewing the urban poor in Desa Mentari