Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kit Siang, Justice Bao and the Prime Minister

On Wednesday, parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang when debating the motion to thank the King's opening address, touched on Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's fight against corruption.

He said only a team modelled after a Chinese mayor and his lieutenants could fight corruption in Malaysia. He was referring to Justice Bao which I clearly remembered when a serial drama on the mayor's fight against corruption was aired a couple of years back by a private tv station.

Kit Siang noted that Justice Bao was ably assisted by honest and trustworthy officials such as Zhan Zhao, Gongsun Ce, Wang Chao, Ma Han, Zhang Long and Zhao Hu.

He said that without a team, Justice Bao would have found it tough to wage a fight against corruption. Similarly, without his team of anti-corruption campaigners, there is nothing Abdullah can do to make a dent on the scourge of corruption.

However well meaning, Abdullah is, he would only be a lone and helpless voice.

Who are PM Abdullah's lieutenants? Hardly any, be it in his political party, Umno, or his administration, I am not referring to the civil servants but politicians. Their support, if any, are only artificial and for political gains.

Look at Umno. Can anyone name a leader who is 100 per cent clean? Of course, each and every one of them would proudly say that he or she is clean, honest, trustworthy and working hard for the party. Would a thief admit that he is a thief?

Most of them are well off, compared to before they were active in politics, awarded datukships, appointed to sit on statutory boards, government corporations, government-linked companies, local authorities, listed companies, port authorities and even bus companies. They were given taxi permits, import permits, logging licences and so on and so forth.

Datukships were also easily awarded for "political gains". For example, a division in one state nominated the state leader (chief minister) of another state as its choice for top party post such as vice-president and he won. As a reward, the division head was later awarded the datukship by the state government, in conjunction with the official birthday of the head of state.

Practically, every Umno divisional leader is a datuk, even the Putri leader is a datuk. The datukship, be it a "seri utama, seri, wira, panglima" or what have you, were not given by their own state but by another state. During the early years of the nation, datukships were awarded to people for having excellently served their state. They were honest and dedicated and well respected community leaders not some 30-something-year-old political leader.

Today, a man from Terengganu who had never served or reside in Penang, for example, was awarded datukship by the state. Or a woman from Kuala Lumpur being awarded by the Sabah state government, or a youth leader from Kedah awarded the title by the Melaka state government. These awards are nothig less than political corruption.

I fully supported Kit Siang and I believed that PM Abdullah is fighting a losing battle. He should first of all "clean" Umno from political corruption. There are too many corrupted and dishonest leaders in the party.

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