Crony capitalism is too high a price to pay for development, says PM

Some of the country's development under a former leader had come with an unnecessary price tag in the form of a class of crony capitalists whose wealth came at the cost of ordinary Malaysians, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).

In his keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2018 conference here Tuesday, the prime minister said his government vowed this would end as it had learned lessons from past mistakes in planning Malaysia's economic transformation, confronting many legacy issues along the way.

Citing public transport as an example, he said the matter was neglected for decades resulting in it being incoherent, with different owners and systems, and certainly no integration.

“One man’s obsession with the idea of a national car – which is now being turned round under international joint ownership – led to Malaysia lacking an efficient public transport system.

“This was a serious obstacle to our ambition to achieve high income status and for Kuala Lumpur to be a world class capital. So, we immediately took steps to rectify that and indicated that public transport would be a top priority for the Government,” said Najib who is also finance minister.

Taking aim at the Independent Power Plant (IPP) concessions signed by the Government during that time, Najib said they were so lopsided that consumers had to pay far more for energy than they should have, even energy they were not using.

Read the full original article at The Star Online.

Registration system ‘hit by graft and negligence’

Discrepancies, disorganisation, bribe-taking and carelessness are plaguing the government’s attempts to count how many births, deaths and marriages take place each year in the Kingdom, officials said yesterday.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the country’s disorderly civil registration system has resulted in records rife with misspellings, incorrect ages, duplications and other irregularities – adding that part of the problem is officials taking “unofficial payments” to falsify documents to help people find work overseas.

“Some of our officials who are in charge of records have participated in this,” Kheng said at the ministry’s General Department of Identification year-end meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Cambodia’s civil registration records were destroyed under the Khmer Rouge, and the government has since had to rebuild them from scratch. In 2016, the government launched a $48 million plan to identify and register every Cambodian with a personal ID code in a comprehensive electronic system by 2026. However, officials yesterday acknowledged the plan had been slow to get off the ground due to lack of technical expertise.

Mao Channara, head of the General Department of Identification, said the public’s understanding of the benefits of maintaining such records was still limited – as was the training of local officials.

Read the full original article at The Phnom Penh Post.

Vietnamese leader calls for strengthening fight against corruption

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong Monday said fight against corruption should be continuously accelerated with higher determination, perseverance and efficiency this year.

During the 13th session of the Central Steering Committee on Corruption Prevention and Control, Trong, who is also head of the steering committee, called for hastening the process of refining mechanisms on socio-economic management and corruption prevention and control.

He also called for raising public awareness in fighting corruption, Vietnam News Agency reported.

It is also necessary to strengthen inspecting and auditing fields, he said.

Late last year, the steering committee agreed on plans to finalize the investigation, prosecution and judgment regarding 23 corruption and economic cases in 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018.

Read the full original article at Xinhuanet.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong Monday said fight against corruption should be continuously accelerated with higher determination, perseverance and efficiency this year.

During the 13th session of the Central Steering Committee on Corruption Prevention and Control, Trong, who is also head of the steering committee, called for hastening the process of refining mechanisms on socio-economic management and corruption prevention and control.

He also called for raising public awareness in fighting corruption, Vietnam News Agency reported.

It is also necessary to strengthen inspecting and auditing fields, he said.

Late last year, the steering committee agreed on plans to finalize the investigation, prosecution and judgment regarding 23 corruption and economic cases in 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018.

Mazlan yet to produce ‘6,000 letters’ linking Karpal, Anwar to graft, court told

Until today, Umno politician Mazlan Ismail had not produced the thousands of letters he claimed he possessed which allegedly linked the late Karpal Singh and Anwar Ibrahim to corruption, the court heard today.

"The PKR office, my office and Karpal's office never received any letters. Karpal and I did not receive any information that he (Mazlan) has delivered (the letters) to our office. Up until today he has not handed over any letters," said Anwar, in reply to a question from his lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo during a hearing on his defamation suit against Mazlan, TV3 and Utusan.

Mazlan is the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chief operating officer, and the former Barisan Nasional Permatang Pauh candidate.

Anwar is suing the three parties for defamation over TV3 and Utusan’s reports of Mazlan’s claim that more than 6,000 letters linking Anwar and Karpal to graft were in his possession.

Read the full original article at The Malaysian Insight.

Runaway oil exec sentenced to life as PetroVietnam corruption trial wraps up

A notorious runaway oil executive and the former chairman of PetroVietnam were both handed jail sentences on Monday morning in Hanoi at the conclusion of an unprecedented trial that has drawn international attention.

Trinh Xuan Thanh, former board chairman and general director of PetroVietnam Construction Corporation, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his pivotal role in million-dollar losses incurred at power plants the firm was in charge of.

Thanh, 51, was convicted of embezzlement and deliberately acting against State regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.

Thanh drew international attention by fleeing to Germany in 2016 after an investigation was opened into his wealth. Police in Hanoi claim he returned last year and handed himself in.

Dinh La Thang, a former political star and board chairman of PetroVietnam, was sentenced to 13 years in jail for economic management violations.

Read the full original article at VnExpress.net.

[Opinion] Vote against bribery and corruption

One clear but obvious concern for most Malaysian Christians is the “agenda of backdoor Islamisation by PAS”.

Malaysia, from its inception, has been a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society defined by a Federal Constitution which amplifies and clarifies our rules of law and due processes.

Therefore, and thereby, we were, and must only always be understood as a secular country. No particular or specific religious values can consequently be used to define public space morality.

Premised upon the secular interpretation of our foundation points within the Constitution, it is untenable that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s RUU34 can even be tabled in Parliament. Therefore, a good friend of mine and son of a former Deputy Prime Minister, Tawfik Ismail, has gone to Court over this wrong-doing.

From the word go, it contradicts the Federal Constitution on many counts. Most importantly, and rather unfortunately, the current draft will only muddy the clarity even further, raising the topic into a federal jurisdictional matter. Our constitution clearly states that Islam is only a 9-States matter, under Schedule II of Federal Constitution.

RUU355 would then become license for extreme PAS-UMNO alliance of conservative-types to push for what becomes new federal Islamic rules or guidelines for enforcement into the public and common spaces.

Read the full original article at The Malaysian Insight.

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