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As the King’s call to wipe out graft and to have a competent public service have been ignored for three months, these two objectives must top the agenda of the new public service delivery system which Abdullah is to announce on Thursday

Ceramah Speech       
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Ipoh, Sunday): At the official opening of the third session of Parliament on March 19, the new Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin called for the elimination of corruption and said the monitoring of government projects must be reinforced to ensure they benefited the target groups, particularly the poor and marginalized. 

“Wipe out graft, ensure projects well monitored” was the headline of the New Straits Times report the next day, but in the past three months, the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s call have been ignored by the public service itself. 

On the anti-corruption front, Malaysia is losing out to other countries in the war against corruption undermining the country’s international competitiveness.   

For instance, Malaysia had been well ahead of China in international corruption perception surveys, but China is making leaps and bounds in its anti-corruption drive as compared to Malaysia which had been backsliding despite the pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to make anti-corruption the main plank of his premiership when he assumed the highest office in the land some 44 months ago. 

In one recent corruption survey of Asian nations, the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risks Consultancy (PERC) survey, China has almost caught up with Malaysia and unless Malaysia pulls up its bootstraps and demonstrate a political will to wipe out corruption and produce results, it will not be long when Malaysia will be trailing behind China in regional or international corruption perception surveys. 

Recent developments do not give cause for optimism that Malaysia can fight off the challenge from China. For instance, in the past few days alone, there have been news reinforcing the image that China is indeed serious in its anti-corruption drive, however formidable the problem. There were  reports of one of the most senior Chinese official committing suicide over corruption in three decades, Song Pingshun, 61, from Tianjin and the death sentence for the former head of China Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, convicted of accepting bribes from drug companies and dereliction of duty. 

On government efficiency and competence, the public service recently became the butt of jokes both nationally and internationally, with almost daily revelations of one government building or public construction mishap or defect or another, showing a very “sick” public service despite the latest RM8 billion salary revision. 

Today, Malaysians are very happy for the Prime Minister who is happily re-married to Jeane Abdullah yesterday. 

Malaysians hope that Abdullah can make Malaysian happy, especially in his important announcement on Thursday (June 14) of a new government delivery systems he had pointedly told Ministers, Mentris Besar, Chief Ministers and top government officials last week to be prepared to fully implement the new public service delivery system. 

As the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s call at the official opening of Parliament in March to wipe out graft and for a competent public service have been ignored for three months, these two objectives must top the agenda of the new public service delivery system which Abdullah is to announce on Thursday.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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