Friday, February 16, 2007

Kleptocracy? No Way!

But Beware Anyway
There is a letter by "Concerned Citizen" from Shah Alam in the Sun today (Speak Up! page 16), expressing the writer's concern that if public officials in this beloved country of ours (last four words are mine) continue to abuse their powers, we may go the "kleptocracy" way. Oh! Heaven Forbids!
"Concerned citizen" was thanking the Sun for the paper's good work in publishing what he describes as "all the interesting (and frustrating) no-holds-barred news".
He went on to say that he was reminded of an international Monetary Fund report in a financial magazine in 1985 referring to an African country as a "kleptocracy", which the magazine described as "a government of thieves".
"Concerned citizen" said: "Unless something is done by the powers-that-be about the way things are happening, I am afraid the above word may be used to describe our country."
Touch wood, I say!
Here's what Wikipedia says:
"Kleptocracies are often dictatorships or some other form of autocratic government, or lapsed democracies that have transformed into oligarchies, since democracy makes outright thievery for direct personal gain slightly more difficult to sustain in the long term and still remain in power, more subtlety is employed. Some kleptocracies are a reponse to jingoism, and frequent bullying in the government place itself.
......The protection society has against kleptocracy is largely dependent on the effectiveness of the rule of law to prevent political leaders abusing their powers, the free flow of information (necessary to properly identify kleptocrats) and ability of the population to remove corrupt leaders from office. Many such protections are included in legal documents such as a constitution or a bill of rights and are also found in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17."

And here's what our old friend, Dubya, said not too long ago (Aug 10, 2006) on kleptocracy. You may or may not take his word for it:
"For too long, the culture of corruption has undercut development and good governance and bred criminality and mistrust around the world. High-level corruption by senior government officials, or kleptocracy, is a grave and corrosive abuse of power and represents the most invidious type of public corruption. It threatens our national interest and violates our values. It impedes our efforts to promote freedom and democracy, end poverty, and combat international crime and terrorism. Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress, undermines faith in government institutions, and steals prosperity from the people. Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda."

Well, folks. I suppose we have to ask ourselves this -- Is our government characterised by rampant greed and corruption?
You think this is a stupid question?

18 comments:

Darren said...

I think it is an unnecessary question. A better question would be "What can you do about it?"

Darren said...

Leaders/ministers in this country have forgotten what is the meaning of "Public Servant".

Darren said...

What we see here is a result of not-earning-what-u-deserve policy. False democracy gives birth to corruption and greed.

lubok melayu said...

Bukan soalan bodoh. No, not a stupid question at all.
Tapi jangan ditanya pada Bapak Menteri kita. Nanti disillykan dan dirubbishkan mereka.
Atau mereka akan berkata:
"Saya lupa".
Dulu Perdana Menteri selalu berkata "Saya Tak Tahu".

Bapak Tak Tahu,
Anak Lupa.
Itulah demokrasi Malaysia Kita.

Anonymous said...

Nuraina! How to deny. This came in the other day, reported by Bernama..

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is not denying the latest Transparency International 2006 Corruption Perception Index which places the country at 44th compared to 38th in 2005, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Malaysia was among 163 countries surveyed by Transparency International for its 2006 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), scoring five out of 10 points.

A score of 10 points denotes a clean economy while one point refers to a highly corrupt state.

"The position is not too bad. We are not in denial, there are certain obstacles that we face", he told reporters after officiating the World Ethics and Transparency Forum here Monday.

The two-day forum is jointly organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) and Transparency International Malaysia.

Without revealing what he meant by obstacles, Dompok said there were shortcomings that needed to be addressed.

"That is why we are supportive of a forum like this," he said referring to today's forum.

The CPI also places Malaysia on 10th out of 25 economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dompok said although there were certain weakness in the study's methodology, he said Malaysia was working harder to improve its corruption perception index.

Dompok repeated the government's stand to act firmly without fear or favour against corrupt practices.

On the suggestion that the government reveals the contents of the agreement involving privatisation projects such as the highway projects in order to show transparency on the part of the government, Dompok said the matter had been brought up at the Cabinet meeting.

-- BERNAMA

Anonymous said...

Nuraina, I disagree with your comment, "Well, folks. I suppose we have to ask ourselves this -- Is our government characterised by rampant greed and corruption?
You think this is a stupid question?
"

The two questions should have been:

1. Is our government characterised by stupid Ministers?
2. You think this is a question of rampant greed and corruption?

zewt said...

there are many questions that we ask where we already know the answer. there's many news that we know it's untrue but we need it anyway. there are many things we can and should do but we never do it.

A Voice said...

From my experiance, most leaders has their beginning as community leaders, activists, and student leaders. They start out with a strong sense of idealism and decide to take their "perjuangan" via partisan politics.

To our detriment, the structure and practise of partisan politics slowly dilute them. Their idealism and aspiration could not even get to first base, without position in the party or better in government.

To meet their long term goal, they justified the compromise for short term partisan and political objectives. As the road ahead gets tough, more compromises will be made and breaching into hypocrasy.

Seldom most get stuck into maintainign their political position and this require juggling their followers support.

This is where we are stuck in an in-built feudel cultural legacy that is difficult to erase in the mindset. Leaders are expected to be providers and public office comes with bigger expectation from the followers.

There is always those opprtunist that entered politics without an idealism and aspiration but an appetite. This just aggravate the situation. Unfortunately, the attraction to be provider without any original spirit to "berjuang"(somehow no English word seem to fit the words juang well) is on the rise.

There many other angles of looking at this feudel legacy. Most end up to justify malpractices in Government.

RealPolitik is about compromises and practicality. This reality could not be separated that easily. The least that we could hope for is to have k-politics (similar to k-economy). Hopefully, there is more logic, moral value, and fair justification in their decisions and action.

My position above is not biased to any particular political party. I believe all Malaysian, if not Asian, political parties have such problems.

I had a lot of expectation for Abdullah Ahmad Badawi but he turn out to be a big directionless dissappointment. He preached reform but did not address this vicious cultural cycle. In fact, he amplified and compressed the wave cycle, and gave us new term to our political vocabulary - nepotism and dynasty.

To break this cycle, it needs a major personality. Who? I'll leave that to each and everyone's interpretation and choice. Definately it is not AAB and he has to go ....

For me, I remain true to my political persuasion. I want to see it remains as UMNO but with the necessary changes.

Penarik Beca said...

"Kerja baik-baik, jangan selalu berbangga diri dan jangan lupakan orang bawah.."

"Saya Perdana Menteri!"

Ibu said...

Blog hop and found yours, to much delight. To me, it's not a stupid question at all, rethoric rather.

Today on news, assessing to ban ads on fast food pulak dah? Yg terang2 tak sihat & tak halal still at large. In my mind I could imagine what the leaders of Mr Ronald and Mr Chickie eateries have to budget more for from now onwards.

But then again... it's just my mind talking...

Mr. Smith said...

A voice said , "For me, I remain true to my political persuasion. I want to see it remains as UMNO but with the necessary changes."
Tell me how could you recover rice from porridge?

We citizens are fleeced from all directions. I will just name a few.
1. Telcos forfeiting credits from prepaid cards if not topped up within 30 days.
2. Indah water demanding fees for "heaven knows what service" from consumers who had never signed a contact with them.
3. TMNet failure to provide the bandwidth agreed to in the contract and yet tie up the subscriber to a minimum one year period.
4. Police issuing summons for exceeding speed limit in an area where there is no speed limit sign at all.
5. Highway TOLL without doubt is daylight robbery.
6. Excess duty/Taxes on foreign cars just to protect local car manufacturers.

When ordinary politicians become millionaires with a few years, I cannot imagine how one could want UMNO to keep on governing us.

a voice said...

KLEPTOCRACY .......Hmmm........ that's a new word for me. I am sure new words will keep crawling into the dictionary with new ways politicians try to outwink the Rakyat.

There's a limit to greed and corruption. Never mind if it's your money. But don't try tricks with the Rakyats money especially now that the blogs are around. Everything you do and say is up for grabs. No more corruption, Hooray!

I think the blogs are todays best checks against politicians who abuse power. Didn't someone say Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

Why need a fifth plane when there's already four up in the hangar?
According to RPK, there's:

1. 1 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ)
2. 1 Bombadier Global Express
3. 1 Dassault Falcon
4. 1 Fokker F28

And what's a yacht for anyway?

A Voice said...

I don't recall writing that 10:18 am posting although the posting sounds like me. It has nn "Blogger United" logo.

Is there a kleptomaniac stealing nic?

Maverick SM said...

Kleptocrats are person with corruptive behavior. However, these behaviors are condoned and accepted within our system who renamed it Money Politics.

It's important fact to differentiate between Justice according to Law and Justice of the Law of which the former relates to procedural justice and is inherent-accepted justice of kleptorism. As unjust and corruptive policies had been procedurally adopted and accorded legal validity within the system and administered as natural justice or due process even though the bulk of its legally valid policies and conventions are substantively unjust in accordance with the rule of law and the philosophy of jurisprudence.

If justice was an integral part of our system, then justice according to law should ensure that justice is of the law.

Happy New Year, Noraini.

Anonymous said...

aint going to be any changes with BN. tentacles of corruption too widespread and has spread to the lympnodes. it has reached the critical stage and its evident by the actions of the suppossedly clean PM himself.
only way out is to have a change in the governing party and I dont see that in my lifetime.
sad but thats reality now.

Abu Turab said...

Salam. Selamat Tahun Baru China. Most of UMNO-BN MPs, ADUNs and ministers are not to standard. TM said so. They are not "Public Servant", they are "towkay servant". We can call them " kleptomania".

rakyat pasirpanjang said...

A more relevent quesion..

Have we, the general public, accepted that greed and corruption is part of our lives and there is nothing we can do about it?

Its so scary!!!

Thanks Ena....Peace!

freelunch2020 said...

hey nuraina,
tks for dropping by my blog and your touching comment.
it's nice to know that there are others who are also going through what i did.
cancer is terrible. the body simply degenerates and the stress caused by the care scrapes at your sanity every minute.
but in such times, we look to God and in God we trust and find strength.

re kleptocracy~ sounds like erm..hmmmmmmm.....better not, after get accused of defaming certain parties and get slapped by a lawsuit ~~