Whack The Wrongdoers Hard, Please!


Read these first:-

spending__ramirez021810_full

(Here lies the problem – some people have no sense of responsibility whatsoever just because they are spending money that does not belong to them and they know that if they can waste the taxpayers money without any care or prudence, they will not be punished even if it was reported by the Auditor General. Image source: http://tarpon.wordpress.com)

I guess those who had voted for the Barang Naik (BN) politicians in the last general election must be regretting their decision now. You know, somehow, “I told you so” just doesn’t quite say it, ah? Already there are multiple news in the net on how some people in disguise of “consultants” have been taking the Government and the taxpayers for a ride but there have been only silence and inaction on the part of these politicians. The obvious ones are these:-

Hazmi sits at the top of the pyramid of greed and takes a 10% on each program cost

Under him, he has several assistants to identify runners to identify those contractors and suppliers with the right license or kepala (heading) to be main contractors or suppliers or just a mere front. At the assistants, runners, and front contractors and suppliers level, they rake in a cumulative of 20% of the program’s budget. The balance is likely to be for the real contractors and manufacturers doing the work.

To get themselves paid, Hazmi’s assistants take care of the payment but it is not paid direct but only to the front. The money due to the real contractors and suppliers is released by the front companies after deducting for everyone’s cut. It means there are paper trails everywhere. Hazmi designed the budget for programs to be usually few ringgit short of RM5,000 or RM100,000. Above that, the control system is stringent and manipulable.

If this does not make your blood boil, we do not know what else.

(Source)

And this:-

Two DAP lawmakers want the Education Ministry to explain why it spent RM20 million hiring a private consultant to prepare the National Education Blueprint when it could have been done by “capable personnel” within the government.

Describing the RM20 million as a complete waste of taxpayers’ money, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming and Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari said the management consultant, McKinsey and Co, should not have been hired as the company was a general management consultant and did not specialise in education.

(Source)

And timing could not be better to dig up more crap from current Government’s total lack of transparency, enforcement and punishment of the wrongdoers. It has become a sheer wastage of taxpayers fund on a regular basis. The recent publication of the Auditor-General’s report was nothing new and only adds to the “good name” of the current Government. If the half-past six politicians are still under a delusion that everything is still OK in the Bolehland and they can sleep in peace at night, let me tell you that the AG’s report is very, very damaging. A responsible Government would have come in the open to admit the findings and announce strong measures to curtail them. Politicians who care about this nation will not sleep until they had made enough noise for the wrong doers to be caught and punished and existing laws & procedures tighten to avoid a repetition in the future. Unfortunately, in reality (and predictably), nothing have been said till now and everything being kept as hush, probably hoping the taxpayers and the opposition will soon forget about the findings.

The malpractices highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report keep repeating because of inadequate planning in procurement, poor drafting of specifications and lack of monitoring and evaluation, said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

To address this, Ideas chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan has suggested that curbing political interference and using open tender systems would help in plugging the inefficiencies in government procurement which has resulted in millions of ringgit being wasted.

He cited examples in the 2012 AG report which had resulted in wasteful spending, such as the 20 wall clocks which were bought by for RM3,810 each when it cost RM100 each and the three A4 size scanners bought for RM14,760 each which was supposed to cost RM200 each.

He said Ideas was now conducting a study on transparency in how government agencies and department carry out their procurement. “These problems are repeated because there are inadequate procurement planning, poor drafting of specifications, insufficient use of competitive tenders and lack of monitoring and evaluation.

(Source)

Shouldn’t inadequate planning in procurement, poor drafting of specifications and lack of monitoring and evaluation which have been highlighted many times before in the past AG reports been resolved by now? Don’t each Government departments have some kind of operation guide and standard operating procedures? Don’t they have their internal audit processes to follow and meet? Don’t tell me that we are going to pay millions to some foreign consultants to propose the same thing? And if nothing been done in the past, then what difference it makes now? As long we don’t see the wrong doers and those mismanaged millions of taxpayers’ money punished and held accountable, we going to have the same problems reported year in, year out.

To add further, Malaysia have now been named as the most corrupt country in the world – I am sure some thick skinned politicians would have been very happy with this kind of achievements (they probably have dismissed it as an opposition tactics instead of seriously looking into the possible truth). However it was not a big surprise though – it was just a matter of time before we got that title. The sooner the Government wakes up from its slumber sleep, it is better for the rest of us.

Despite Malaysia’s high-profile anti-corruption crusade, half of the corporate executives surveyed by a global corruption watchdog believe that competitors have obtained business in the country through bribery.

Transparency International said Malaysia scored worst in the 2012 Bribe Payers Survey. It asked nearly 3,000 executives from 30 countries whether they had lost a contract in the past year because competitors paid a bribe, and in Malaysia, 50% of them said ‘yes’. Second on the dubious honor roll was Mexico, which was at 48%.

(Source)

And this is where race based NGOs such as Perkasa show their sheer ignorance and dumbness. They jump like their balls been run over by a steamroller when common Malaysians question the need to prolong race based policies and “giveaways” in the name of “empowering” the community economy, knowing very well that such policies have been manipulated to enrich a few and their cronies in past and continues to this day. But the same NGOs had said nothing or jumped in protest when millions is wasted by lack of enforcement and corruption – doesn’t the same community set to lose a lot more if such leakage is not stopped and the wrong-doers are not booked to stop the repeated wastage? Or are they simply going to ignore this just because those who cause such leakages and do nothing to curtail the leakages are from the same community? It looks like that is the case many times over. No wonder whatever they say and do does not carry any sense of creditability and is a total waste of space.

And when the AG report bring the crap into the open, instead of accepting the hard cold fact and whack the wrong doers hard & ensuring that this will be the last time such incident happens, sadly, some politicians (never mind if they are dumb enough to be caught on video supporting criminal gangs and admission of breach of rule of law) now tries to even justify the wrong doing:-

On Friday, when asked by the press about the firearms mysteriously missing from the police armory, as discovered by the Auditor-Genera, Zahid was quick to pitch himself as the champion and defender of the ‘maligned’ police force.

Insisting that the weapons ‘lost’ by the police were due to human error and not foul play, Zahid rather high-handedly forbade any more discussion on the matter. He even picked on and publicly berated a reporter to emphasize his point.

“I think this is ridiculous behavior from a minister. It is blatantly self-serving. As the Home Minister, the police have to answer to Zahid in many matters but who is he to forgive their wrongdoings. Firstly, this was reported by the Auditor-General, not fabricated by the Opposition. Secondly, have the police carried out an internal probe, why are the findings not released,” Opposition MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

(Source)

And it seems like the whole of the Government seems powerless (no thanks to their own shortcomings) to bring about the drastic measures needed to stop the rot for once and for all:-

The Auditor-General’s report for 2012 is alarming. And this is so not only because it exposed huge wastage committed by government departments last year, but also because nothing seems to have changed all these many years.

Year after year, the A-G tells us of cases of improper payment; of purchases made at astronomical prices; of unreasonable project delays; of poor asset management; of non-adherence to procedures, etc, etc. But year after year, nothing is done to address the shortcomings.

It seems as if our civil service just continues to plod on, continues to waste, continues to be inefficient, continues to make corrupt transactions. And the overriding controller – i.e. the Government – just lets it be.

The Government knows from the A-G’s reports that corruption is rife in the civil service, but it probably realises it doesn’t have the moral standing to haul in the culprits. After all, the civil servants are following the example of the country’s leadership. And since the Government has also not shown itself to be accountable for a lot of things, how can we stop the rot?

Worse, our civil servants seem to have acquired a tidak apa mindset because the money that is being wasted, that it being improperly used, that is going into the pockets of some of them, is not theirs. When I was in school, we used to characterise such an attitude with the jeering taunt: “You think this is your grandfather’s money ah?” It’s still applicable here and now.

(Source)

I say this again and I have said it many times before – if the Government feel that they need to increase the taxes and reduces the subsidies just to ensure that they have enough to keep the country going, that is fine and fair. But what is the point of the people need to pay more of everything if the blatant waste and mismanagement by the Government itself on the other hand remains high and continues to bleed the nation of its resources. After all, if unnecessary expenses are not curtailed (spending RM3,810 for a RM100 clock for example), the Government will have no choice but to reduce the various subsidies, borrow more money and keep taxes high. At the end of the day, the rot must stop. The “tidak apa” attitude must stop. The blatant wastage of taxpayers’ money must stop. The super unbelievable leniency on the wrong doers must stop. The day of hiring thirsty vampires to guard our blood banks must stop.

Those who commit wastage and corrupt must be charged with criminal breach of trust, bank accounts frozen, their property seized and they are made to spent a good number of their years behind bars. Investigations on the paper trails must be made so that all those involved one way or another are caught and punished. Those politicians who allow (by action, omission or sheer stupidness) this to continue to happen must face the same consequences. Punish the wrong-doers at both ends without any fear or mercy. Malaysia does not need these traitors running the show – we are becoming champions of the world for wrong reasons. The AG have done a very good job highlighting the shortcomings in managing taxpayers funds. The only thing that is needed now is a change of attitude and political will power to take out the cane and start whacking the wrong doers hard so that the rest will be more careful when dealing with taxpayers money. If this failed, then it is evident that the Government itself have failed the trust of the people and is corrupt to the core and thus, must be removed in the next general election.

Can this be done now and without the “ifs and buts”?

Advertisements

Political Public Fund Managers


Update 1: The advertisement below lists the criteria for the RM180 million fund

Back to the original post

There has to be a better way to manage our limited resources and public funds, right?

(How true! Sometime we forget that the money we get is actually from our own pockets and to make things worse, some of it ends up in the politicians’ pockets as well. Image source: http://www.sodahead.com)

First read this:-

MIC President Datuk Seri G. Palanivel has been given the task of managing a RM180mil special government allocation meant to help Indian entrepreneurs. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the decision for him to take charge of small and medium enterprise (SME) projects for Indians was made by the Cabinet last week.

“The RM180mil fund is intended to assist all segments of Indian entrepreneurs, including micro-enterprises,” Palanivel told a press conference yesterday after handing out cheques to recipients of Community Builders Foundation (CBF) pre-schoolers aid. He said his responsibility would be to monitor the loan applications as well as engage with the public.

“This is to ensure that genuine and deserving Indian entrepreneurs have access to finance to grow their business,” he said, adding that those interested to apply should contact SME Corporation Malaysia.

(Source)

In 2010, as part of reforms to be implemented by the Najib’s Administration, the Government introduced the Transformation Programme to address 7 key areas concerning the people of the country. They should have added one more – Elimination of Unwanted Political Hands on Tax-Payers Money.

I know it is not the first time we are reading these kind of nonsense in the papers but one need to ask why in the world, the Government want to trust millions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money to a political party to “manage it” when we already have a more effective of doing it by using the various departments of the Government? How can one be held accountable for the money managed? Yes, one may ask what’s new in Malaysia – the abuse of tax-payers funds have been going on for many, many years now. True I say but then again, for how long we want to allow this to go on where public funds somehow ends up as political party’s personal fund.

Same case here with the RM180 million fund – no doubt the final handling of the fund may be done via SME Corp (or some agencies or NGOs who has the proper resources, logistics and professional fund managers) but why the need for middle man for the so-call management of the funds? If it is an act of public relationship (in view of the general elections – i.e. to show that MIC is relevant and takes care of the community), how certain we are that:-

  1. All of the funds allocated by the Government will end up in real entrepreneurs’ pockets and not siphoned off under the disguise of administration charges and commission or phony entrepreneurs or worse – as personal funds for the up-coming elections and shopping? Remember that all these money comes from the tax-payers fund and must be held accountable for every cents used; AND
  2. Whether all the funds will be disbursed regardless of the political stand of those who need the funds? We have heard cases in the past where opposition supporters have been denied to certain benefits even though they are entitled to. With MIC behind the manager’s seat, will they be professional enough to ensure dirty politics and political affiliations biasness stays out from the management of the funds?

This is because allegations of abuse of public funds by politicians or the manner in which the said money was disbursed have surfaced before:-

PKR today claimed that public money meant to fund activities of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has been channelled to pay for the activities of Wanita Umno . PKR Wanita chief Zuraidah Kamaruddin today said the funds were channelled to the Council of Women and Family Development under the ministry.

The council was established in 2001 during the tenure of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as its minister. Shahrizat is also the Wanita Umno chief. According to Zuraidah, the council was initially made up of women state executive council (exco) members nationally. But she claimed that over time the membership of the council has been hijacked by Wanita Umno.

(Source)

And;

The government has promised millions of ringgit to upgrade Tamil schools in the country but one question still remains. Would the millions really be spent on the reconstruction of these schools or would it go to crony contractors; or be channeled back to the government? The lack of transparency in releasing the funds had raised heckles from non-governmental organisations, who wanted a system to streamline funds to ensure it reached the “target” group fast.

He said going by these estimates, in actual fact the government would only complete work amounting to RM33 million out of the RM100 million set aside under the 2012 Budget. “This is because the relevant authorities especially JKR has quoted three-fold prices. While work will be done for RM35 million, the remainder of the allocation will either go back to the government or into the pockets of contractors or cronies given the contracts,” he added.

(Source)

And whilst the “how” and “who” is being worked out, there is another question need to be considered – how and when MIC (or any other political party) will be involved in the management of the funds? Are they going to be the decision makers on who will get what? Are they going to be just managers on paper (for publicity sake) but the real work will be done by professional fund managers?

I am not accusing anything here but we want to know how MIC as the “managers of the fund” is going to ensure that the tax-payers money will be used for the right reasons and for the right persons. This is because whilst the objective and the creation of the RM180 million special fund is welcomed but the manner it will be disbursed and monitored may leave rooms for abuse and for that, we need to ask if we have the best practices in place to manage and deal with public funds? Have we addressed the shortcomings, plugged the leakages and improve on the end delivery in accordance to the objectives that it was intended to? And we should start by not allowing any politicians from one side of the political divide managing these public funds.

And whilst we have been talking about the management of existing funds, Rafizi Ramli from PKR raised another interesting point – where does the Government gets all the money for these ad-hoc funds? Certainly some of these ad-hoc funds has not been budgeted for in the last Budget presentation in the Parliament so where does these allocations are coming from?-

PKR’s Rafizi Ramli today slammed the prime minister for his heavy “vote-buying” spending of RM5.77 billion, saying that the money comes from taxpayers. Rafizi said the loss of yearly revenue from Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) proposed car tax cuts would be eclipsed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s unplanned spending.

“(T)he total sweets simply used by the prime minister in just the first six months (of this year) to buy the people’s votes is RM5.77 billion,” said Rafizi at a press conference today. He based his calculations by adding up the RM2.2 billion civil service bonus recently announced and various “one-off” spending by Najib’s administration which he claimed had reached RM3.57 billion. Under the RM3.57 billion “unplanned spending”, he gave examples of the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M), Bantuan Kembali Ke Sekolah 1 Malaysia and Bantuan Buku 1 Malaysia. He said these schemes respectively cost the government RM2.6 billion, RM530 million and RM260 million.

He also referred to “various schemes to buy votes under the 1 Malaysia brand, and various announcements of “instant noodle projects” throughout the Jelajah Janji Ditepati (Promises Fulfilled Tour) estimated to reach RM180 million.”

(Source)

Considering the amount of money being spent on ad-hoc funds and being passed into the hands of politicians to manage the said fund, we are left to wonder when this nonsense will stop especially when same group of people who have doing this nonsense are bent on bringing in 2 pandas and pay millions for their up-keeping (for more interesting insight, read this as well – “15 Silliest Uses of Taxpayers Money“). We need more control and we need it to be done on an urgent basis before we end up bankrupting the country with unnecessary expenses and leakages of public funds.

Being Polite Part 2


Read Part 1 here

(Customer – does it sounds familiar? Cartoon source: http://www.whalecottage.com)

I still recall stand-up comedian Kumar’s joke – when he walked into a high class boutique, the salesgirl looked at him from head to toe with a puzzled face that asked “do you have money to buy things?” He of course got annoyed with the treatment that he got from the salesgirl that he proceeded to buy something very expensive and paid for it with coins.

Kumar’s joke may sound funny but it is reality in some places. Just how many of the business places that you been to (say a restaurant, shopping complex, workshop, etc) have been very polite and treated you like a real customer? Have you been to places where you were treated like a stray dog from the street and as if you owe the business the money? Where the very clothes you wear – colourful flip-flops, short pants (with torn edges) and dirty looking T-shirt is looked at rather suspiciously (despite you are paying for the items with hard cold cash)? Where words like “thanks” and “please” are looked up as it is some kind of forbidden words?

I have been to restaurants where you have to wait for a long time before somebody comes along to attend you (and in case you were wondering, the restaurant is almost empty). There is one time, I went with couple of my friends (one was too drunk to say anything, others just sober enough to be decent) to a restaurant. We were so hungry and this was one of the places that were still opened at time of the hour. We tried calling the staff to take our orders but no one came. My friend who was too drunk say anything earlier immediately got annoyed and started to shout vulgar words at the restaurant staff. That brought 2 – 3 staffs rushing to our place to take our orders but we had enough of this nonsense and we walked out (RM50 – RM70 of potential business lost).

Sometimes the staffs get the orders wrong but do nothing to apologise for the mistake. They even insist you eating the wrong dish and pay for it. And when you go up to the counter to pay, you end up facing an arrogant looking man who take your bill and your money (some even counter check the note several times in front of you – as if you have given them some counterfeit notes) without a smile and without even looking at your face and then double, triple count the balance to return (as if we are trying to cheat the shop for couple of cents) and put it on the counter for you to take it (try going to some of the mamak restaurant counters and you will see what I mean).

Sometimes, the problem with staff is not that they are rude people by nature (some looked too nervous to smile) but the problem is there may be a lack of training or supervision or lead by example to get these lowly ranked staff to be polite and courteous to the customers. Like the example of the Chinese restaurant in Part 1 – I gathered that because the owner is always try his best to be very polite to the customers, that somehow got stuck with his staff as well – a classic case of leadership by example.

For those places where we are not treated with some respect and where words like “thanks”, “please”, “sorry” are considered “forbidden”, we often say “screw them” – we do not go back to the same place twice and we even tell others on our bad experience with the business. It is not like we are asking for items or services for free. We are paying for it with our hard earned money and we deserve some respect. So, sorry to say this but for those places where they are simply rude to the customers, we just hope that these businesses lose more customers and end up closing shop permanently.

Being Polite Part 1


(How often you have people behind the counter treating you like you owe them something? – Cartoon source: http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/)

Just the other day, I watched the movie “Invictus” and noticed that Nelson Mandela (excellently acted by Morgan Freeman) was a very polite man. He was courteous and well mannered even to his “ex-enemies”. In case you missed Invictus, the movie was about a leader who was trying to get his country united – bringing people from various background, culture and race as one nation (this movie should be watched by some so-called leaders in Malaysia – they can learn a thing or two if their ego is not bigger than their brain) through the game of rugby (played by a majority white).

Somehow after watching the movie, something about Nelson Mandela being polite stuck with me. And I start to reflect on my daily encounters with people. No need to look at how some people behave on the road – using the emergency lane, cutting queues, changing lanes without proper signal, hogging the road, using no-entry lanes, etc – they are nothing but selfish filthy bastards. No, I am not talking about them – for them, we need the strong hand of the law to deal with them (either increased in traffic fines – screw that for now or one hard whack on their bare buttocks once caught red-handed).

No, I am talking about the people who provide goods and services. How they treat us, the end purchasers or users? Do we get to hear the all important “please”, “sorry” and “thanks”?

2 weeks ago, I took my family out for dinner – we decided to go for the Chinese Restaurant near our house (we love this place – the food is good and reasonably priced and if we order takeaways, we get free drinks). Unfortunately when we arrived, there were no empty tables. The restaurant was so pack with large families. We were about to leave when we noticed one large group had finished their dinner and was leaving. We quickly took over the table. On the table, it was a mess, left by the earlier group – we wanted the restaurant staff to quickly clear the table.

However due to the crowd, the restaurant staff was busy but the owner had noticed us and came apologising to us and explained on the situation and asked us to be patient. He said he will get someone to clear the table as soon as possible. He apologised again. Soon after one staff came over, apologising for being late to clear the table and immediately cleared our table. Another came down and took our orders and we did not really need to wait long for dinner to be cooked. We did not mind waiting for our dinner as we understood that the kitchen had to cope with large orders for the night. We did not mind because we felt appreciated.

A week earlier, I took my car for service to my usual workshop (the place where I am usually known as the boss). After I had parked my car, I came out and told the mechanic that I wanted to service my car. The mechanic looked back at the number of cars at the shop and asked whether I was willing to wait for my turn. I said I had no problem. The workshop owner came in and decided to help out to clear the cars – soon he was working on my car. Advice and suggestions were given promptly and he even pointed out to my tires which was almost bald. I wanted to also add the fuel booster and I informed him and he thanked me. Service was done up fast and during that time and until I left the shop, I lost count of the “thanks” that I got from the owner.

The above is two simple examples where the businesses are simply being polite to its customers and in return get customers who wishes to go back to the same place in the future (even if at times, the cost of items in these places can be more expensive from other places).

To be continued…