Transparency: Corporate Malaysia doing better than government — Terence Fernandez

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY TERENCE FERNANDEZ

AUGUST 15 ― On August 8, the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG) launched its inaugural report on transparency in corporate reporting among Malaysia’s top 100 public listed companies (PLCs).

As expected, and feared, many companies fell short of the three areas in which they were assessed: anti-corruption programmes (40 per cent); organisational transparency (30 per cent); and sustainability practices (30 per cent).

Out of a possible score of 10, the average company score was a mere 4.6.

But to be fair, some of these companies had already put in place or were in the process of putting in place the desired standards which were not taken into account and included in the final report.

But the results, nonetheless, were not surprising and generally represented the perception of public listed companies having some ways to go in areas of transparent processes including tender procedures and anti-corruption measures where only two companies had cohesive anti-graft training for staff and directors. Read more

Reforming MACC : A Road to Good Governance & Human Rights

Venue : Meeting Room 2, First Floor, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Address : No 1, Jalan Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur (Next to the Monorail Maharajalela station)
Organizer : Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
Language : English, Bahasa Malaysia

Speakers :
Maria Chin Abdullah, Bersih 2.0 Chairperson
George Varughese, Malaysian Bar President
Saari Sungib, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pilihan Agensi, Badan Berkanun dan Anak Syarikat (JP-ABAS) Negeri Selangor, ADUN Hulu Kelang
Ngeow Chow Ying, Board Member of Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
MACC Representative (Invited)

It has been 8 years that the Malaysian government failed to bring the perpertrator of Teoh to justice, yet the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers involved in his death were promoted to senior positions. The section 30 of the MACC Act that allows endless and torturous interrogation, which violates human rights and caused the death of Teoh, is still existed and potentially jeopardised the life of MACC detainees. The murder of Teoh was ensued by the death of Ahmad Sarbani at MACC Kuala Lumpur, which shows flagrant violations of human rights and lack of accountability of the MACC.

The 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal has not only shown how the kleptocracy robbed public fund, more importantly it raise the question of double standard and selective persecution by the public-funded MACC. Unlike Teoh, the Malaysian Official 1 neither subjected to immediate detention, nor prolonged interrogation until midnight, even though the amount siphoned from the government coffer is as much as RM2.6 billion. However, the false accusation against Teoh’s employer, with the amount as little as RM2,400, cost the life of the young political activist.

The performance of the MACC since its inception is a disappointment, both in term of good governance and human rights. Given that the 14th general election is around the corner, the 8th anniversary memorial of Teoh Beng Hock will simultenously hold this public forum to deliberate the reform measures to be taken by the MACC, in order to strengthen its capacity in tackling corruption and to protect human rights of detainees under its custody.


In addition, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy cordially invites Malaysians to join the 8th anniversary memorial of the late Teoh Beng Hock, which is scheduled as follows :

Date : 16 July 2017 (Sunday)
Time : 8:00 pm
Venue : Meeting Room 2, First Floor, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Address : No 1, Jalan Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur (Next to the Monorail Maharajalela station)
Organizer : Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy

Program Schedule

8:00 pm Welcome speech
8:04 pm Moment of Silence
8:05 pm Speech by A. Samad Said, Chairperson of Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
8:12 pm Speech by Teoh Lee Lan, Teoh family representative
8:20 pm Performance by Meor Yusof
8:30 pm Public Forum : Reforming MACC : A Road to Good Governance and Human Rights
10:30 pm End

Please contact 01110909808 or info@teohbenghock.org if you have further queries.

Malaysia: Forex loss probe ‘welcome’ but have one for 1MDB too – opposition

Source: Asian Correspondent

THE Malaysian government must reopen domestic investigations into the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund scandal to prove its latest probe involving former prime minister-turned critic Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not a “diversion”, the opposition said.

Federal Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said this in response to the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into billions of ringgit in losses incurred by the central Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) via foreign exchange trading during the Dr Mahathir’s rule in the 1980s and 1990s.

“The Cabinet‘s decision to set up a RCI to investigate the foreign exchange trading loss by Bank Negara is most welcome,” the People Justice Party’s (PKR) president told a press conference on Thursday, as quoted by Free Malaysia Today. Dr Wan Azizah is also the wife of Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader currently in jail for sodomy who is still seen as a major threat to the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno).

“Based on the same principle, I demand a RCI be set up to investigate allegations by the DoJ (US Department of Justice) concerning the 1MDB scandal.” Read more

Wan Azizah: Now let’s have RCI on DoJ allegations

Source: FMT News

Opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says government should now agree to form a RCI to probe 1MDB in a bid to prove the RCI on forex losses is not intended as a diversion. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Following the government’s announcement of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the massive foreign exchange (forex) loss decades ago, the opposition today demanded a similar RCI to look into allegations by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) that billions had been stolen from 1MDB.

“The Cabinet‘s decision to set up a RCI to investigate the foreign exchange trading loss by Bank Negara is most welcome,” said Opposition Leader and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

“Based on the same principle, I demand a RCI be set up to investigate allegations by the DoJ concerning the 1MDB scandal,” she said at a media conference at the PKR headquarters.

The Cabinet yesterday announced the establishment of the RCI to investigate the central bank’s forex loss in the 1980s and 1990s, a period coinciding with the premiership of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Read more

Public sector governance: Filling the gaps — Latifah Merican Cheong

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY LATIFAH MERICAN CHEONG

opinion-clipart-k12118272MARCH 1 — Good governance is not a panacea for strong economic performance. But good, well designed economic policies show bad results when the implementation is not done with a good governance framework.

Case studies show that countries which prioritises developing governance capabilities of the public sector and the political leadership enables strong sustainable growth to happen.

At the forum on governance of Parliament to exercise oversight over the Executive in August 2016, the Malaysian Economic Association brought in MPs and parliamentary experts from the UK, Australia, India, Indonesia and our own MPs to debate on the value of parliamentary committees as an enabling mechanism for MPs to exercise oversight over the Executive and ensure accountability of government.

On February 13-14, 2017, MEA followed up with its second forum on economic governance with a discussion on the governance of the public sector itself.

The public forum and the closed-door round-table covered the evolution of the public sector governance framework, the ethics and transparency dimension of this framework and the efficacy of the governance framework for the implementation of economic and financial policies. Read more

Police again viewed as most corrupt in transparency survey

Source: FMT News

Religious leaders also take a beating, with 31% of respondents in Transparency-International Malaysia’s Global Corruption Barometer survey saying they are corrupt.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) President Datuk Akhbar Satar — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) President Datuk Akhbar Satar — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR: The police force is yet again perceived as the most corrupt institution in the country.

About 57% of the 1,009 Malaysian participants of Transparency-International Malaysia’s (TI-M) Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) survey felt the police department was the most corrupt.

The survey results also showed that 13% of respondents who had encountered the police in the past had paid a bribe to the men and women in blue.

But even this number is doubtful. According to TI-M president Akhbar Satar: “The problem is that some Malaysians are scared to say they have either bribed or attempted to bribe an officer of the government.

“They want to show that they have integrity.”

Akhbar was speaking at the release of the survey results here. Read more

Change the way top civil service appointments are made – Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim

Source: FMT News

Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim - Pic from FMT News

\ Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim – Pic from FMT News

BY MOHD SHERIFF MOHD KASSIM

I agree with those who say that it is unfair to jump to conclusions about the appointment of Madinah Mohamad as the new auditor-general because of her husband’s political links.

She should be given the chance to prove her integrity as a person who the public can trust to carry out this heavy responsibility of auditing the management of public funds by government ministries and agencies and reporting to parliament faithfully and professionally, without fear or favour, as her predecessor Ambrin Buang had done in the auditor-general’s annual reports.

His exposure of the weaknesses in financial management and the abuse of power at the administrative and political levels have made him one of the most respected civil servants. Read more

Openness, Transparency and Accountability are Indispensable to Eradicate Corruption — Steven Thiru

PRESS RELEASE: Openness, Transparency and Accountability are Indispensable to Eradicate Corruption
Source: The Malaysian Bar

Logo-majlis-peguam-malaysia-malaysian-bar-councilThe Malaysian Bar is very perturbed by recent reports that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”)’s special operations division is being downsized[1], six of its senior officers are being transferred,[2] and its director Bahri Mohamad Zin has taken optional retirement, reportedly due to his unhappiness over the alleged inaction in respect of investigations into SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.[3]  The division reportedly handled high-profile cases relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”) and Federal Land Development Authority (“FELDA”).

These developments are disquieting because they reinforce the public perception that although one-and-a-half years have passed since it was revealed that funds of about USD700 million (approximately MYR2.7 billion) were transferred between private banks, offshore companies and funds linked to 1MDB, and then deposited into the personal accounts of the Prime Minister in AmIslamic Bank Berhad,[4] the authorities are reluctant or unwilling to get to the bottom of the serious allegations of financial impropriety concerning 1MDB, and bring action against those guilty of any wrongdoing.

This is in stark contrast to the developments in at least 11 countries — Australia, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Venezuela — where there have been investigations, measures imposed on financial institutions, criminal prosecutions and convictions, and proceedings for forfeiture of assets.

These actions raise serious questions regarding the investigations that are apparently being conducted in our own jurisdiction, and expose the lack of transparency regarding the findings.  It is indeed unsettling that no one has yet been prosecuted in Malaysia for any of the allegations. Read more

Ideas: Why is Felda paying so much for Indonesian company?

Source: FMT News

There are lots of questions about the deal and the premium price fuels speculation, says Ideas CEO. Pic taken from FMT News.

There are lots of questions about the deal and the premium price fuels speculation, says Ideas CEO. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) must answer why it chose to pay a high price to acquire PT Eagle High Plantations.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who heads the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), said the main focus right now is the risks the deal may pose to taxpayers.

“It is mysterious to me how better shareholder value will be created when it looks like Felda is paying a very high price for Eagle High’s shares.

“Felda has to answer why they agreed to this high premium. There is already a lot of questions about the deal and this premium adds to the negative speculation about it,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Transparency for arms deals – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

I RECENTLY finished reading Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World. Together with Anthony Sampson’s The Arms Bazaar, they provide deep insights into how the arms trade operates.

Malaysia’s vast financial outlays – the most recent RM2.92 billion in procuring arms, and RM9 billion for six new marine combat ships – raises certain fundamental questions on transparency and accountability. While there is, of course, some need to maintain national security and commercial confidentiality, secrecy enshrouds most arms deals. This all-encompassing secrecy, says Feinstein, “hides corruption, conflicts of interest, poor decision-making and inappropriate national security choices”.

This trade seems to be one of the least scrutinised and accountable areas of government and private activity – when it should be among the most highly controlled and regulated. Read more