Citizen Nades - New mantras for old bad habits

“We have decided to take action under Section 182 of the Penal Code for lodging a false report if we find any party purposely using the police for their own political interest.” – Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar commenting on people who make false and frivolous reports.

“The review will focus on the procurement procedures and monitoring of all state departments and agencies involved in the management of funds that are outside the state government budget and channelled through the ministry, department and outside agencies.” – Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said in directing the state secretary and state Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary to carry out an immediate review to ensure every state department and agency complies with the financial management and procedures’ regulation at every stage.

“Government projects costing RM500 million and more should involve the auditor-general and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in order to curb abuses and corruption. He said the auditor-general and MACC’s deputy-director could be included as exco members in the meetings for the government projects, including the Mass Rapid Transport.” – Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa in saying the involvement of both these agencies was necessary as a proactive measure to avoid abuses in the public sector.

THESE three men appear to be shouting “eureka” as if they had jointly and severally just reinvented the wheel. And if the Patent Office has kept itself open 24/7 for the registration of the invention, Malaysians are expected to open their mouths in awe and applaud as if the cameras are rolling.

Which planet are they from? What is being proposed is not reinventing the wheel but effectively enforcing laws, rules and regulations which already exist Malaysia.

In April this year and several times previously, I had asked the police to take action against those making reports at the drop of a hat.

It has become so rampant that there is no person claiming to have made the largest number of requests which has sent publishers of record books scampering for details.

Why was Section 182 not used from Day One?

This is the danger and the precedent which the police courted, welcomed and encouraged. They remained silent as these makers of police reports enjoyed their five minutes of fame on television.

Today it has back-fired. Everyone and anyone who wants his pound of flesh gets it and a copy of the police report is supposed to be the truth – justifying whatever untruths it contains.

The police are paying for it in terms of manpower, effort and money. Several man-hours are spent on recording, accepting and acknowledging such spurious reports.

The sentries at police station are overwhelmed by (sometimes) the rent-a-crowd. Scores accompany the sole signatory to the report which is supposed to give moral support impress the public he has his group of vigilantes.

Civil servants are governed by the General Orders and Financial Orders and other circulars issued by the Public Services Department, the Treasury and the relevant agencies.

These documents specify the manner in which tenders should be advertised, received and opened. There are also standards for the evaluating team which have to be followed.

Therefore the issue of the chief secretary requiring the presence of third parties only adds fuel to the fire that when such big contracts are awarded, there is a preponderance not to observe the norms.

Is he insinuating that everything is hunky dory on contracts below RM500 million?

Tan Sri, this column has highlighted the issue of the Health Ministry over-paying and accepting the supply of sub-standard equipment including life-saving paraphernalia.

This may just amount to a few hundred thousand ringgit and it already exists and is thriving because of the lack of integrity on the part of certain parties.

When former heads of department and senior officials become a front for suppliers, the inevitable happens.

Shouldn’t there be safeguards in all tender exercises?

As cabinet secretary, he must have been present when two years ago, the council of ministers decreed that open tenders should be called for the supply of goods and services to the government.

Almost immediately, this was trumpeted by the minister in the PM’s Department, Datuk Paul Low.

That was for the consumption of the masses and the media. In reality, Low would be the first one to admit it is not working because there are Little Napoleons who rule the roost. How else could the discrepancies go undetected?

This has been repeatedly said by so many people on so many occasions – we don’t need additional laws or legislation. Just enforce what is already in the books and we will go a long way.

Over in Sabah, Musa ordered a review and monitoring of contracts.

Oh blimey! Is this not a basic requirement when contracts are awarded and monies are being paid?

This gives the impression that many people in high places were having their siesta as the looters have been continuously putting their hands in the till.

Are we being given the impression that all this while a lawless, cowboy administration was in place in Sabah? I leave it to the bigwigs to provide the answers.

R. Nadeswaran is aghast that suddenly, after the Sabah affair, everyone is awakening from their slumber. Comments: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com