Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DAP wants independent panel to tackle government financial abuse

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — DAP publicity chief Tony Pua has called for the creation of a Financial Accountability Commission (FAC) to take action against government officers found guilty of financial abuse and mismanagement.

Professionals like the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) and Transparency International Malaysia (TI) should lead this body, according to Pua, and exclude civil servants to avoid conflicts of interest.

Pua (picture) said the FAC, which would be put under parliamentary control, was necessary as most errant officers were only reprimanded while the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was limited to produce recommendations.

His proposal follows the release of the Auditor-General’s Report yesterday, which he said had highlighted many instances of continuing financial abuse and incompetence despite an overall upgrade in the financial management ratings of government ministries and agencies.

He pointed out that the audit report had found that the Marine Parks Department paid RM56,350 for a binoculars not worth more than RM1,940, more than 28 times the market price.

The department also purchased common items like laptops, printers, DVD players and LCD televisions for RM192,694 when their total value should not have exceeded RM20,193.

“The logical conclusion from the Auditor-General’s Report is that heads must roll, but it rarely or never happens,” Pua said in a statement.

Unless disciplinary action was taken against offending officers, there would be little incentive for them to increase competence and reduce waste “since the rewards far outweigh the potential punishment”, he stressed.

Nine federal ministries and departments overspent last year’s overall operational allocation by a total of RM3.73 billion, according to the 2010 Auditor-General’s Report.

They include the Education Ministry, Health Ministry, Home Ministry, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry, Public Service Department, Attorney-General’s Department, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Services Commission.

The report stated that the overspending was unavoidable due to additional activities and unscheduled payments.

“According to financial rules, an expenditure can only be carried out if the approved financial allocation was enough. The audit checks found that this rule was not fully abided by several ministries who have overspent beyond what has been allocated.

“This shows that there is still weakness in the planning and management of expenditures even though this issue has been frequently raised,” said the report.

The report also found 75 cases of over-expenditure in 14 different ministries in terms of service payments and supplies amounting to RM306.01 million.

There were also 17 cases within eight ministries last year where a total of RM98.8 million in allocations went unspent.

The PAC has said it will probe seven ministries and agencies for weak financial management.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dakwaan atas anak Guan Eng tidak benar, kata pengetua Heng Ee

Pengetua SMK Heng Ee menegaskan dakwaan kononnya anak lelaki Lim Guan Eng pernah mengganggu seorang pelajar perempuan sekolah itu secara seksual tidak benar sama sekali.

Goon Boon Poh berkata beliau terkejut apabila membaca dakwaan itu dalam akhbar dan mahu mengakhiri isu ini kerana ia boleh menjejaskan nama baik sekolah.

“Dakwaan ini sama sekali tidak benar. Sangat mudah, ia tidak benar sama sekali,” kata Goh kepada The Malaysian Insider.

Pengetua SMK Heng Ee menegaskan dakwaan kononnya anak lelaki Lim Guan Eng pernah mengganggu seorang pelajar perempuan sekolah itu secara seksual tidak benar sama sekali.Goon Boon Poh berkata beliau terkejut apabila membaca dakwaan itu dalam akhbar dan mahu mengakhiri isu ini kerana ia boleh menjejaskan nama baik sekolah.
“Dakwaan ini sama sekali tidak benar. Sangat mudah, ia tidak benar sama sekali,” kata Goh kepada media.

Sementara itu, DAP awal hari ini mendedahkan gambar, yang digunakan oleh blog-blog pro-Umno untuk melontarkan dakwaan serangan seksual terhadap anak lelaki Lim Guan Eng, sebenarnya merupakan juara catur berusia 21 tahun, Anya Sun Corke dari Hong Kong.

Corke (gambar bawah) yang kini mewakili England tiada kaitan dengan Pulau Pinang dan tidak pernah belajar bersama dengan anak lelaki Lim di George Town.
Sebaliknya dia sedang mengikuti pengajian di Wellesley College, Amerika Syarikat.

Pemblog-pemblog pro-Umno termasuk ketua Umno Bukit Gelugor Dr Novandri Hasan Basri mendakwa anak lelaki Ketua Menteri telah mengganggu rakan satu kelas yang berusia 16 tahun dan telah cuba mengelak hukuman dengan menggunakan nama bapanya.

Setiausaha Publisiti DAP Tony Pua menunjukkan paparan skrin dari blog Dr Novandri dan Papagomo dan dipadankan dengan gambar-gambar dari laman web
“Papan catur telah dipadamkan. Tanpa ragu-ragu, ia menunjukkan bahawa dakwaan mereka tidak lain tidak bukan hanya satu pembohongan yang kejam,” katanya.

“Mereka telah cuba untuk memfitnah anak lelaki Lim Guan Eng dan mengaibkan keluarganya dengan (menyebarkan) berita gangguan seks yang sengaja direka,” kata Pua yang juga Ahli Parlimen Petaling Jaya Utara.

Menurut laman web Wikipedia, Corke memenangi Kejuaraan Kebangsaan Hong Kong pada 2004, 2005, 2006 dan 2008. Dia merupakan juara kebangsaan paling muda.

Allegations against Guan Eng’s son ‘completely untrue,’ says school principal

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 – The principal of SMK Heng Ee in George Town today moved to put an end to accusations that Lim Guan Eng’s son had sexually harassed a female student of the school, calling it “completely untrue.”

Goon Boon Poh told The Malaysian Insider that he was “shocked” when he read news reports of the allegation, and that he wanted to put an end to the matter as it could affect the image of the high school.

Pro-Umno bloggers including Bukit Gelugor Umno division chief Dr Novandri Hasan Basri had claimed that the Penang chief minister’s son had assaulted a 16-year-old schoolmate and tried to escape punishment by using his father’s name.

“The allegations are completely untrue. It is very simple, there’s absolutely no truth to it,” Goh told The Malaysian Insider today.

“The blogs said the incident occurred in May this year. CM’s son has not been a student of my school since the beginning of this year,” he added.

Goh said that the pictures posted on the blogs were not of Lim’s son, and that pictures of the alleged victim was not even a student of Heng Ee.

The principal said that officers from the state education department had conducted an investigation into the allegations on Monday, and were satisfied with his explanation on the matter.

“If I had kept quiet, the silence would have put me, the school in an embarrassing situation. Very simple if it had happened I would have known about it, wouldn’t I?

“No students had complained about any such case and the girl is supposed to be a classmate, so I want to just clarify the matter,” said Goh.

The girl whose photograph was used by Umno bloggers to level accusations of sexual harassment against Lim’s son has been identified as 21-year-old chess Grandmaster Anya Sun Corke.

Corke, who represents England in chess, has no ties with Penang and has never been a classmate of Lim’s son as alleged by Umno blogs, the DAP said in a press conference in Parliament today.

The girl is understood to be currently an undergraduate of Wellesley College in the United States.

Without revealing details of the allegation, the Penang CM  said yesterday he was furious with the “barbaric lies” made about his teenage son by “pro-Umno ferocious beasts,” singling out Khairy Jamaluddin and other ruling party leaders for perpetuating the allegations through snide comments on blogs and social media sites.

The Rembau MP had written on micro-blogging site Twitter on Monday, “Mungkin dia roboh Kampung Buah Pala sebab nak ganti dengan Kampung Buah Dada” in response to another tweet by PapaGomo. [English translation: Maybe he destroyed Kampung Buah Pala because he wants to replace it with Kampung Buah Dada].

The DAP called on Khairy today to “retract his snide remarks and apologise to Lim’s son, who is an innocent victim.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ketua Umno: Rakyat tolak MCA, Gerakan

PETALING JAYA: Umno Pulau Pinang menegaskan BN tidak akan mampu merampas Pulau Pinang jika Gerakan dan MCA terus ditolak pengundi dalam pilihan raya ke 13 nanti.

Ketua Umno Bukit Gelugor Datuk Omar Faudzar berkata, Gerakan dan MCA kalah besar dalam pilihan raya umum 2008.

Menurutnya, Umno cuma kalah empat kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) dari 15 yang ditandingi dan dua dari empat kerusi Parlimen pada 2008.

“Tetapi kemenangan Umno sendirian tidak cukup kerana Gerakan dan MCA kalah semua kerusi yang mereka bertanding.

“Prestasi kedua-dua parti itu sangat buruk dalam pilihan raya umum 2008. Pulau Pinang mempunyai 40 kerusi DUN” katanya hari ini.

Omar mengulas keyakinan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak bahawa BN mampu merampas Pulau Pinang dalam pilihan raua umum akan datang.

Najib membuat kenyataan demikian ketika berucap merasmikan perasmian perhimpunan  agung Gerakan di Kuala Lumpur semalam.

Janji Umno kepada Gerakan, MCA

Ketua Umno Bukit Gelugor itu juga mengulas kenyataan Najib bahawa pemimpin Umno tidak akan dilantik sebagai Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang jika BN menang dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Omar berkata, Umno telah membuat perjanjian dengan Gerakan dan MCA bahawa parti orang Melayu itu tidak akan menjadi Ketua Menteri.

“Umno akan berpegang teguh dengan janji yang telah dibuat  dengan Gerakan dan MCA itu,” tambahnya.
Sementara itu, Ketua Umno Bukit Mertajam Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir berkata, Umno bercadang bertanding lebih banyak kerusi DUN dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Menurutnya, ini kerana prestasi baik yang ditunjukkan parti itu dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.
Mengenai Gerakan dan MIC, Musa berkata, kedua-dua parti berkerja kuat untuk mendapatkan semula sokongan pengundi Cina.

“Ada kemungkinan mereka akan menang semula dalam pilihan raya umum ke 13 kelak,” tambahnya.
Pakatan Rakyat merampas Pulau Pinang setelah menang besar dalam pilihan raya 2008. FMT

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Barisan Nasional's Budget 2012 is like a sugar-coated placebo

- makes you feel good after taking it, only to tax you more later
It is difficult not to "feel good" after a record-breaking pre-election budget where goodies big and small, were liberally handed out to practically all segments of society. The question is, beneath the sweeteners, are there substantive reforms proposed in the Budget 2012 to make "transformative" changes to our economy to achieve the goal of becoming a "high-income nation" by 2020.

The answer, when compared side by side with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Alternative Budget is obvious. There is little in the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government's budget that indicates a determination to slaughter sacred cows and take the Malaysian economy to the next level.

Both the PR and BN's budgets had proposed cash grants to various deserving segments of society in order to help alleviate their increasingly heavy burdens. However, PR matched its welfare benefits with policies to rectify the distortions created by the current government to reduce inflationary pressures and the cost of living over the longer term.

PR has called for the abolition of artificial monopolies licensed by the Government such as Bernas which monopolises the sale and distribution of local and imported rice. In addition, predatory market strategies by Telekom Malaysia to stifle competition will be made illegal while the monopoly of satellite and cable television will be abolished.

On top of that we will dismantle cartels in the telecommunication, media, airline, oil and gas as well as other industries to ensure a genuine competitive market which will benefit the man on the street with lower prices.
What's more, we have promised drastic changes to the current privatisation policies which are opaque, uncompetitive and clearly benefit the concessionaires at the expense of the Government and the rakyat. The 2-prong strategy demands the renegotiation or expropriation of current concession assets such as independent power producers, highway and water companies, while putting in place an open, transparent and competitive framework to ensure only the parties with the best services at the lowest price will be awarded the relevant contracts in the future.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Soi Lek and MCA are now completely dependent on Najib and Umno

MCA president Chua Soi Lek gushed praises for Prime Minister Najib Razak at the party's annual general meeting, while taking pot-shots at "one or two" BN leaders who made his life a misery the past year since it became apparent he was not the man who could help MCA regain the hearts and minds of the Chinese community.

Indeed, Soi Lek's weaknesses were evident in the 166-point speech sprinkled all over with 'Sir' but glaringly lacking in crtical issues, to the extent that many in the huge auditorium at the MCA building in Kuala Lumpur felt their faces going pink.

"Sir, you have undertaken the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme to ensure that we become a high-income nation by 2020," Soi Lek told party delegates who had come from all over the country.

"I applaud you for the changes you announced in conjunction with Malaysia Day to do away with the ISA and Emergency Laws and to liberalise the Printing Presses and Publications Act. You have done what the public wants but what previous Prime Ministers were not willing to do. You have shown courage and leadership. It takes political will and MCA supports you 100 per cent on this.

Giant step forward but to where?

The 64-year Soi Lek also patted himself on the back for raising a 'New Deal and having the courage to urge Najib to take "one giant step forward".

"I know there will be groups who will attack me for even suggesting it. But let us be bold and brave enough to rework it to make it more suitable for the times and to meet the aspirations of all Malaysians. The aspirations of the younger generation may not be the same as ours. As the government and leaders of the country, we must tailor our policies and programmes to the young," said the MCA president.

He then rattled off what he envisioned the New Deal would be like in terms of democracy, press freedom, the economy, minimum wage policy, cost of living, engagaing the people and education. (scroll below for the full text of his speech)

But sad to say for him and the MCA, he steered clear of the core issues of worsening corruption, the ineffectiveness of Najib's pie-in-the-sky economic policies and the issue of racial equality. On these critical matters, he did not or as his rivals said "dared not" touch.

Closing an eye on all matters that do not suit him

Soi Lek also had no sympathy for the family of the late Teoh Beng Hock, brushing it aside as a political gimmick stirred up by the Pakatan Rakyat. This despite the second deathfall that took place in the MACC earlier this year - of Ahmad Sarbaini, a senior Customs officer whose family, just like Beng Hock's, have insisted foul play was involved.

"Soi Lek has tried to create the impression of being bold, to speak out without fear and favour against the hegemony of the Umno but his New Deal doesn't contain anything new at all," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
"Soi Lek is accusing the Pakatan of playing with emotions. Yet, his own speech is aimed at making himself look good with Najib. Worse still, on closer scrutiny, where is the new deal on corruption, meritocracy and competitiveness? If this is the best Soi Lek can do, he is not the man who can effect any change for the Chinese or transform the MCA, that's the disappointment for the MCA members."

Himself being bullied

But Soi Lek did try to show he could pack a wallop in his punches. He did not name any names or even the party involved, but it was clear he was referring to Umno Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz when he mentioned "one or two" BN leaders, who were recalcitrant in national unity efforts.

Nazri had likened him and the MCA to being "abused wives" who did not have the courage to leave their husbands (Umno) even though they were being abused. Soi Lek and his team had shot back then but their angry statements were promptly dismissed as mere squeaks of gas, even by the Chinese community.

Today, he revisted the insult, which many Chinese watchers said should have been the last call for the MCA to walk out from the BN. But Soi Lek, whose sex scandal has forced him to toe the Umno line or face prosecution for unnatural sex charges, could only managed a watery rebuke.

"Sadly, it has been perceived that one or two BN leaders are aloof, arrogant and abusive. Some are also known to be loose cannons. They get into the headlines for the wrong reasons. For the sake of stability in BN, the MCA has not responded in a way it perhaps should. The attitude of this small group of BN leaders has not gone down well with the rakyat. They project themselves as a “big brother” or rather bullies," complained Soi Lek.

"Sir, they seem to have been afflicted with the “four diseases” you have diagnosed - delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance. If allowed to fester, it will heighten the people's anger and negative perceptions of the BN and the government."

Indeed, Soi Lek should have saved his breath since he could not share with 'Sir' and the rest of the audience exactly what could be done to stop Umno from bullying the MCA, let alone the Chinese community. -MalaysiaChronicle