No more cronyism, organisations say to Ting, corporate sector

Source: The Edge Markets

PETALING JAYA (June 4): As many as 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) have urged Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing and the corporate sector in general to uphold transparency, accountability and integrity in all development projects, regardless whether the projects are publicly, privately or jointly owned and financed.

The CSOs said Ting’s announcement of a mega project that he plans to develop on Langkawi Island without first obtaining the authorities’ approval is disconcerting while raising concerns over compliance with regulatory requirements for such a project. Read more

What a Najib win could mean for Malaysia

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The rule of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional looks set to be extended for many years to come if the Umno-PAS alignment works, according to an editorial in the East Asia Forum.

However, this portends ill for the non-Malay minorities and liberal Muslims, as Umno, increasingly dependent on PAS, dances to the latter’s tunes, it says.

The editorial of the East Asia Forum, which is based in the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, says Najib Razak will almost certainly survive the 1MDB scandal unscathed if Umno’s understanding with PAS holds and its manoeuvring to drive a wedge between the opposition parties continues to succeed.

“Decades of institutional degeneration under Umno rule, and the concentration of power in the office of the prime minister, has seen Najib able to swat away any domestic attempts to hold him to account for his role in the 1MDB affair. The unfortunate importance of identity politics in shaping voter behaviour also helps insulate him from much of the electoral backlash.”  Read more

Malaysia’s Muddle — Shamim Adam

Source: Bloomberg

A lot has changed since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957. The Southeast Asian country has shifted focus from the tin and rubber production coveted by colonists to electronics factories and palm oil plantations. It’s become an Islamic finance hub and home to some of the world’s biggest skyscrapers. But a lot hasn’t changed. Corruption and cronyism persist, along with decades-old laws that disadvantage ethnic minorities. There’s also the money politics that trickles cash down from the party chiefs to the grassroots, helping to keep the ruling coalition in uninterrupted power for six decades. Opposition groups are unlikely to break through anytime soon, even after a multibillion-dollar graft scandal that’s tainted the prime minister, sparked street protests and, critics say, set back Malaysia’s push to become a more open and modern nation. Read more

Dr M admits corruption in his time, but insists policies still led to growth

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Dr Mahathir, who helmed the country from 1981 to 2003, told the portal that he did have some regrets during the time, including his 'failure' in being unable to 'change' the Malays. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Dr Mahathir, who helmed the country from 1981 to 2003, told the portal that he did have some regrets during the time, including his ‘failure’ in being unable to ‘change’ the Malays. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted that his 22 years in office may have been marred by corruption, but the former prime minister contended that the country still flourished under his policies.

In an interview with news portal Malaysiakini, Dr Mahathir admitted that he may have had some bad policies during his time as Malaysia’s prime minister but insisted that it did not stop the country’s development.

“There was corruption, for example, but not to the extent that it stops the development of this country.

“The country grew much faster during my time than before, and that was because some good policies were implemented,” Dr Mahathir was quoted saying.

Dr Mahathir’s administration saw a wave of privatisation in the 1990s, which detractors said have caused cronyism and corruption to flourish among those connected to the status quo. Read more

Malaysia No. 2 on The Economist’s crony capitalism index

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Economist magazine has ranked Malaysia second in its global index of cronyism capitalism. — File pic

The Economist magazine has ranked Malaysia second in its global index of cronyism capitalism. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — Malaysia was ranked as having the second-highest percentage of billionaires’ wealth coming from cronyism in a global survey by The Economist.

According to the 2016 index by the London-based weekly publication measuring 22 economies, Russia topped the list, while Malaysia’s neighbours the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand were third, fourth, seventh and 12th respectively. Read more

Anti-graft group fears Kelantan deforestation will breed corruption, cronyism

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism is concerned over Kelantan’s logging policies after the state approved additional land for logging. – Photo courtesy of Flickr, October 18, 2015.

The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) has raised concerns that the deforestation in Kelantan, following policies by the state government, will breed corruption and cronyism.

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel in a statement today called on the Kelantan government to reveal if the multiple approvals awarded to a private company has breached the state’s annual logging cap.

She said that during the height of the flood crisis in Kelantan last December, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob blamed “illegal land clearing and logging” for the devastating floods in the state, and added the government had always capped logging at 5,960 hectares a year, the standard set by the National Land Council.

“So it comes as a shock to discover that Kelantan recently approved an additional 4,500 hectares to a private company for logging, while 9,000 acres (3,642 hectares) are to be used for oil palm planting.”

PAS Salak assemblyman Datuk Husam Musa recently said that a private company had allegedly obtained several approvals from the state government, raising the question if only crony companies were benefiting from the state’s generosity.

Gabriel said the lack of an open tender system and proper policies outlining the state’s approval procedures for such activities raises more questions. Read more

Going Rogue: Malaysia and the 1MDB Scandal — Danny Quah

Source: The Diplomat

BY DANNY QUAH

Democracy and rule of law won’t magically clear society of cronies and corruption.

Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at LSE. He had previously served on Malaysia’s National Economic Advisory Council, 2009-2011. Pic taken from LSE blog.

Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at LSE. He had previously served on Malaysia’s National Economic Advisory Council, 2009-2011. Pic taken from LSE blog.

In 1971, more than forty years before the world would turn its attention to the so-called one percent and the problem of income inequality, Malaysia embarked on one of history’s boldest and most noble experiments to reduce social disparity. Malaysia’s New Economic Policy, or NEP, would seek to “eradicate poverty for all” and “eliminate identification of race by economic function and geographic location.” This polity that had achieved national independence just over a decade before, this country that was still a low-income emerging economy, was setting out to solve the massive problem of injustice and inequality over which other societies much more mature continued to struggle.

Malaysia was a democracy that hewed to the rule of law. The NEP would be Malaysia’s key political driver. Over the decades that followed, the NEP’s mantra would serve as a backdrop to almost all political discourse in the country. NEP-themed policies would, among much else, flesh out the concept of Bumiputera – an ethnic-driven formulation of native peoples in Malaysia. Read more