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Firm action by PM needed as MPPP and MPK scandals and Mongolian model murder case involving high political connections point to a government losing control which can only frighten off FDIs
(Penang, Sunday) : The Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) outraged the modesty of a woman reporter from New Straits Times when its closed-circuit television (CCTV) operator focused on her thighs during its council meeting on Friday, which should be debating why two councillors, Shah Headan Ayoob Shah and Datuk Ahmad Ismail, attended only two and three meetings respectively out of 11 full council meetings over the past 10 months.
The MPPP President, Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan, further outraged all Malaysians when he blamed women journalists for being attired “sexily” while covering the full council meeting at the council chamber or the incident would not have happened.
This is reminiscent of certain political and religious leaders who blamed rape and sex crimes on the victims on the way they dress, completely ignoring the fact that fully-clothed victims regardless of age including children had been victims of rape and sex crimes.
In Klang, one of the trio of “stars” in the Zakaria Mat Deros scandal in the Klang Municipal Council (KMP) which had even caused consternation of the Sultan of Selangor for the istana to publicly intervene in a political controversy, was the centre of another chapter of the mushrooming “culture of immunity and impunity”.
Datuk Mazlynoor Abdul Latiff, who has been renominated for the MPK, scuffled with two reporters and a photographer from Guang Ming and Sin Chew Daily when they went to his bungalow, which was nearing completion in Kampung Raja Uda, Port Klang on Friday, damaging a RM8,000 digital camera in the melee.
Police reports have been lodged in both cases. Both these incidents are not isolated cases but part of a pattern which demonstrate that something is very wrong with local government in particular and good governance in general under the Abdullah premiership.
In April, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chided the “Little Napoleons” in the public service who threw their weight around showing off their power as if they are a law unto themselves, forgetting that they are servants of the people.
In the six months since his “Little Napoleons” warning, more “Little Napoleons” have come out of the woodworks, whether at the federal, state or local government level as illustrated by the two MPPP and MPK incidents.
In the past week, national concern reached the gravest level over the serious breakdown of the system of governance apart from the deteriorating condition of law and order where Malaysians have lost their traditional rights of freedom from crime and fear of crime, not only over the MPPP and MPK incidents, but the gripping reports in the past week on the Mongolian model believed to have been shot dead and blown to bits in Malaysia with political connections stretching to the top of the government, and implicating police officers and the easy availability of C4 explosives.
As Shaariibuu Setev, the father of the 28-year-old murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaaribuu said in the press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday: "By now the whole world knows about this incident."
Malaysia is never more famous or infamous now – google “Altantuya Shaariibuu” will return 9,400 files, “malaysia Altantuya Shaariibuu” 11,600 files and “malaysia murdered mongolian model” 180,000 files.
With Malaysia hogging world news with the reports on the murdered Mongolian model and the highly-connected Malaysian “political analyst”, the Special Message from the Prime Minister in the mainstream print media today on the “Visit Malaysia 2007 Year” to “showcase the fact that Malaysian hospitality ranks among the best in the world” could not have chosen a worse timing.
Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) northern branch chairman Datuk Nazir Ariff is only partly right when he said yesterday that foreign direct investment (FDI) to Malaysia has dropped because certain quarters are unable to tolerate dissenting views and contrary opinions.
He said: “If we cannot discuss sensitive issues without politicizing them, such as bumiputra equity issue, how can we attract high-end investors?
“I am not
suggesting changing our policies to suit the needs of a foreign investor but
for Malaysians to demonstrate a higher level of maturity.”
FDI inflows to Malaysia shrank by 14.21% from RM17.56 billion (US$4.62 bil) in 2004 to RM15.09 billion (US$3.97 bil) in 2005.
Nazir is partly right because other factors undermining public confidence and driving away foreign direct investment from Malaysia include growing concerns both in the nation and internationally, of a government losing control of the situation, as marked by a serious breakdown of the system of governance and the deteriorating law and order highlighted in the past week by the three incidents of MPPP, MPK and Mongolian model murder cases.
There is an urgent need for Abdullah not just to say that he is “in control” but to demonstrate that he is actually exercising control over his administration, whether at federal, state or local government level which are run by the Barisan Nasional after securing over 91 per cent of parliamentary seats in the last general election.
Firm action by the Prime Minister is urgently needed as MPPP and MPK scandals and the Mongolian model murder case involving high political connections point to a government losing control which can only further frighten off FDIs
In the case of MPPP and MPK, decisive action must be taken against the “Little Napoleons” whether MPPP President or Datuk Mazlynoor Abdul Latiff, while public concerns arising from the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case must be allayed with a clear commitment by Abdullah on the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission before Parliament ends next month so as to be able to exercise independent external oversight over the police, starting with the Mongolian model murder case.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman