The arrest of a former CEO of an Iskandar Investment Berhad’s (IIB) subsidiary company, suspected to be involved in a RM400,000 bribery case, by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is laudable.
It is believed that the case involved the Kampung Sungai Pendas Laut road development project. This should send a chill across to the country that the MACC is serious about anti-corruption, and the message is loud and clear that people who take bribes will be punished. The right thing to do is for the company or its CEO to report to the MACC if there was any attempt to bribe by contractors instead of taking the bribes. The project involves the construction of an alternative road in Kampung Sungai Pendas Laut worth about RM2.7 million in 2011. Corruption is the reason why the cost of projects has always escalated, and this has to be stopped. Corruption hurts everyone.
All credits should go to MACC’s Chief Commissioner, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed and its Investigations and Special Operations Director, Datuk Mohd Jamidan Abdullah for doing a fine job in the investigation.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) also praises the Board of Iskandar Investment Berhad for having the courage to lodge a police report on the possibility of fiduciary lapses among certain members of the previous senior management of the company. We hope that the Board will continue to meet the expectations of investors in ensuring that the company’s finances are properly managed. Such issues cannot be swept under the carpet anymore as RM400,000 is about 14% of the cost incurred in the project.
However, MACC should not just stop there. In the recent Auditor-General’s reports, the MACC should investigate cases where huge sum of money has “leaked” out whatever the reason may be. Instead of blaming it on ‘stupid’ people, the MACC should look for leads that would allow them to investigate the cases. Without the whistle-blowers, it is hard sometimes for evidences to be recovered unless a thorough forensic audit is being carried out.
It is therefore necessary for the Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak to realise the importance of whistle-blowers, and rein in the amendments to Section 203A of the Penal Code on disclosure of information as well as look at the need to withdraw the Official Secrets Act, which is a bane to transparency.
On a separate matter, TI-M wishes to congratulate one Malaysian civil engineer and entrepreneur, Dr Nehemiah Lee Chee Hai, who is Founder Chairman of a local specialist construction company, Nehemiah Reinforced Soil Sdn Bhd, for being awarded the International Award by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), UK.
The Nanyang Daily had on October 21 highlighted that Dr Lee was probably the first Malaysian to have bagged the award. According to the citation, Dr Lee was nominated for making “a unique contribution to the civil engineering profession: that of a professional civil engineer in Asia who has developed both a market leading construction firm and a well-recognised reputation for not paying bribes.”
TI-M urges more Malaysian companies to practise zero corruption, and stop paying bribes for jobs. Instead, they should work hard and develop their own core competencies in order to compete for the jobs. Like Nehemiah Reinforced Soil Sdn Bhd, it will someday earn its own merits and be able to compete globally.
The initiative has to come from the chief executive officers themselves. One of the ways to encourage zero corruption is to print on every name card the company’s commitment, such as that carried on the name cards of Nehemiah Reinforced Soil staff, “We pledge to conduct business with integrity. We shall not get involved in any corrupt practice.” Quality Anti-Corruption Policy!
Issued by :
Dato’ Akhbar Satar, President Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Transparency International Malaysia
Dr KM Loi, Secretary-General Email : email@example.com
Transparency International Malaysia