Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The just-released Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) couldn't have come at a worse time for the government. Only two days ago at the launch of the ETP, the PM was sprouting impressive numbers to draw investor confidence in the ETP.

Foreign investors study CPI rankings before they decide whether to invest in a country. With a ranking of 56th out of 178 countries surveyed, it explains why Malaysia's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has fallen from a high of RM46.6 billion in 2008 to RM22.1 billion in 2009. It also explains why the PM is counting on Domestic Direct Investment rather than FDI as the key driver of the ETP.

The government should get its priorities right. No need to spend millions on glossy promotional materials and paying international marketing consultancies. Also no need to waste taxpayers' money on lawatan sambil belajar (overseas study trips). Just take a short trip down to Singapore. Find out what it has been doing right to top the CPI rankings.

If the government is serious about fighting corruption, start with the public service. The recently released Auditor-General's Report offers more than enough evidence of all kinds of hanky-panky, graft and mismanagement of funds in the public sector.

A few weeks ago my niece was stopped at KLIA immigration checkpoint. She was told she was on PTPTN's black-list of loan defaulters. According to the officers, she had taken a loan to cover tuition fees for her studies at University of Malaya. Now get this - she never applied for any loan, and she graduated from the National University of Singapore years ago. She asked for proof of the loan application and approval. She was told they couldn't trace the documents.

My question is where did the loan money go? Why is there no accountability for this misappropriation of public funds?

I doubt I'll find an answer.

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