Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Wisdom of Enquiry

Now the Government has agreed to give in to the calls of a Commission to enquire into the death of Teoh, the political secretary of a Selangor State Exco, it takes the heat off the backs of the powers that be, for the time being.

From what we have seen before, the Commission of Enquiry on the management and improvement of the Police Force and the one which enquired into the " Lingam Tapes" have not resolved the critical issues which were raised and proposed by them. Of what use is there for another one, to enquire into the standard operating procedures and the methods adopted by the Anti- Corruption Commission in performing it's investigations would be, is surely going to be asked in future.

What needs to be done perhaps is not to enquire into the workings of the newly revamped ( even though just in name and form ) but more to develop a competent leadership and high calibre personnel to perform it's arduous task. It's no use paying lip service to the vital importance of human capital, but taking no drastic action to get the right people to perform the job. Of late we have seen a plethora of publicity on the MACC, but none about the rate of success in getting the corrupt behind bars. The numbers of convictions as compared to those being charged should be their key performance index, amongst other things.

Perhaps the enquiry should be focussed upon measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of MACC in stamping out corruption and benchmark it against the ICAC in Hong Kong.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Call for Enquiry

These past few days the barrage of calls for the Commission of Enquiry to be set up following the death of an aide to a Selangor State Exco member seemed to be gaining momentum.

I would like to reflect upon it's propriety, and in order to do this, a rational thinking process must be adopted. Let's look at the Act which provides for it's establishment, which inter alia says-

Issue of Commissions 2(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, where it appears to him to be expedient so to do, issue a Commission appointing one or more Commissioners and authorizing the Commissioners to enquire into- (a) the conduct of any federal officer; (b) the conduct or management of any department of the public service of Malaysia; (c) the conduct or management of any public institution which is not solely maintained by State funds; or (d) any other matter in which an enquiry would, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, be for the public welfare, not being- (i) a matter not involving any question relating to the Islamic religion or the Malay custom; or (ii) in relation to Sabah or Sarawak, a matter specified in item 10 of the State list: Provided that where any federal officer whose conduct it is proposed to enquire, was, at the time of committing such conduct, serving in a department of the public service of a State, such Commission shall only be issued with the concurrence of the State Authority.( Commission of Enquiry Act, 1950 )

Hence since the death of the individual concerned is being investigated by the Police and it's only 60% completed, the talk of forming a Commission of Enquiry is to all intents and purpose is superfluous. The due process of the law must be allowed to take it's course and the Government must not be pressurised into something which is unlawful.

What is of vital importance is that suspicion can never be a good substitute for substantive evidence, no matter how circumstantial the case may be. If the authorities are not free to conduct an investigation without inteference, then the confidence of the people in the impartiality of the departments in question will suffer and the government's credibilty will be eroded. We must maintain a clear head and not allow our judgement to be overtaken by emotions and sentiments. The rule of law means just that, let the due process be completed and only then the next step should follow. The people must have confidence in the apparatus of the Government or else there will be anarchy.

Train Journey to Prague

I had very much wanted to put the photos of my journey by train to Prague from Vienna a few months ago, unfortunately I had difficulty in arranging them in proper layout.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Civic Hall in PJ

Yesterday I arrived at the MBPJ office at Jalan Yong Shook Lin at 9.00 a.m. sharp, this time not to settle my parking fine but to make enquiries of booking the Dewan Sivik and the attendant conditions attached to it. But after parking my car I went to the lobby of the hall just to find out where the banquet is normally held. The security guard behind the counter politely told me that I have to obtain a letter from the office to do that. So off I went.

When my number was called, I approached the counter and the young lady greeted me and I started the conversation saying that I want to find out what's involved in booking the Dewan. When she was informed that I plan to book it in June 2010, she was hesitant and said that I have to call her again in September because the booking for next year is not yet opened, especially the MBPJ plan to have an anniversary bash at about the same time, but their calendar is not yet fixed.

Anyway I told her just let me have the booking form and tell me what are the conditions attached for it's usage. What she told me was quite absurd. Any preparation for the function can only be done on the same day and not before and for the use of every facility like the waiting room and even to use the hall for the preparation is separately charged and not inclusive of the rental for the occasion. Even for the use of the rostrum is charged RM 50.00! What a ridiculous rate on the scale of charges for a public facility which is paid for from the taxpayer's money. No matter how well the hall had been refurbished, but it just did not make sense to charge for every little thing used. The name should be changed to the Uncivic Hall.