A most commendable act

Transparent International Malaysia chapter Chief Datuk Paul Low has resigned over the release of the TI report, which he took upon himself o release without discussing with the whole committee.

His action is commendable.

initially when he was elected to be the head of the exco committee of TI Malaysia, and news reports had it that he was a MCA member, I was quite worried because  there might be a conflict of interest. He has since resigned as MCA life member.

After the release of the TI report on corruption perception index , it was reported that many exco members of TI-M was not happy because the report was never tabled for discussion.

We would never know if there would be any objections for it to be released  had the report been  discussed in the exco, since this has become academic.

But as a corruption watchdog, I would think that there was really nothing to hide and since in the past, perception indices were released year after year and the yearly index is widely available in the net, I do not think that there would be any objections from any members over the release of the report.

So it is really a technical matter to table and discuss it in the exco. But this technical matter is important, as firstly it is the tradition to do so, and secondly, by discussing it, the exco assumes collective responsibility and exco members exercise their rights entrusted to them by the members.

So even though this might be technical, it is indeed very important to table the report in the exco and seek views from members, and any organisation that prides itself on collective leadership would do so.

So by failing to do so, Paul Low has made a  mistake, and it is therefore honourable for him to resign over this mistake.

It would serve the nation well if leaders in politics and other NGOs can follow this practice of taking responsibility and resign over their mistakes.

Instead, we have leaders who have committed not only mistakes  but ‘crimes’ , suspended and still trying  to make a political comeback.

Compared to these leaders, Paul Low stands tall, and whatever technical mistakes that he has done, has been nullified by his noble action of taking accountability and stepping down

TI-M is an important watch dog, and since it is back by TI networks all over the world, it is a powerful body. The report that comes out of TI serves as guideline to a lot of organisations and corporations when they consider where to put their money to invest.

The corruption perception index compiled by TI is ‘the’ index that most businessmen and researchers follow in their work.

Malaysia’s TI corruption perception rankings has become worse and worse, as in most other rankings that I have pointed out in this blog.

Without transparency and accountability, this TI ranking is going to go down further.

Read this also:  Winning the penny and losing the pound


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 12:10:18

    The reason for the infighting in TI-M is that the people there are afraid of offending the people in power. They will want to adjust the numbers in the internal discussion before publishing it. (Remember the sympathy points for poor performing bumi students).

    I agree with Dr. Hsu. At least Paul Low can stand tall.

    I will take a bet that there will not be a TI perception survey next year. Maybe Malaysia will withdraw from participation in TI. No mention means no problem.


  2. Meng
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 14:35:07

    I am sure the exco members and their staff were involved in compiling the report. Each exco member would have been assigned a specific task and these are later joined up to compile the whole report.

    I am sure discussion were made and If there were any disagreement, it would have been discussed prior to completing the final copy. If this is the case then the final report should be accepted formally…compiled by the whole team.

    Tabling in the exco is just formality and minutes it as being accepted. There must be some hidden hands instigating the exco members. Someone outside TI not happy….


  3. A true Malaysian
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 15:22:50

    What if the TI report released without discussing with the whole committee are in favour of the government? I am sure, this resignation will not happen.

    The TI report released touched on PKFZ scandal and praising LGE Penang government for its CAT policy.

    The whole TI committee should resigned en masse, not just Paul Low.

    All parties must treat TI-M as an independent body and respect its report without doubt. If not, TI report carries no value.

    No one should interfere in its function, no even the Executive, Judiciary or the Legislature. Only people of high integrity, morality, apolitical should be in the TI committee.


  4. mycuntree
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 21:17:37

    I believe Paul made a deliberate decision not to table the report for vetting by the committee. Maybe he doesn’t want it to be watered down version if the committee were to review it before it’s release.

    The protest by the committee itself indicated that not all members agreed with it.

    Paul’s latest statement pertaining to his reason for resigning alludes to the actual reason for his decision. His actions tell a lot more than what we may see on the surface of it.

    Bravo to Paul for doing what he did. This country needs a lot more people like Paul for it to have any future.


  5. A true Malaysian
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 21:42:22

    Dr. Hsu and all,

    There is one article by another good doctor, Dr. Chris Anthony in Malaysiakini. For the benefit of all, I reproduce it over here,
    The dark clouds that shrouded Port Dickson on nomination day may be an indication of the uncertainty of the Bagan Pinang by-election and the nation as a whole come the 13th general election. The historic elections of March 8, 2008 has drastically changed the political landscape in the country.

    In a country divided and ruled along ethnic lines, a multiracial and a two-party system of governance, which was unthinkable before, have suddenly become a possible reality.

    Bagan Pinang may be a Barisan Nasional (BN), in particular Umno, stronghold with its candidate Mohd Isa Samad enjoying mass popularity among the constituents but these days victory for BN is far from guaranteed as it used to be before in the pre-March 8 era.

    The battle has to be fought with all their might and resources at their disposal. For BN, its main asset for this by-election, besides money, is the experience and popularity of its candidate on whom it depends to redeem its wavering support among the people.

    For Pakatan Rakyat (PR), it is the call for change to eradicate corruption, abuse of power and to promote multi-racialism. The people in Bagan Pinang must decide on behalf of the 27 million Malaysians which of the two should emerge the victor.

    It is interesting that Bagan Pinang is a racially-balanced constituency with 62.7% Malays, 20.7% Indians, 10.9% Chinese and 5.5% others. That means that the composition of Malays (63%) and non-Malays(37%) reflects the overall racial makeup of the nation.

    The voting pattern in this election may be an indication of the support the BN and PR enjoy among the various communities. It may further indicate the possible trend in the next general elections that is not too far away.

    Another significant factor is that the Indians, who have many grouses with the BN, make up a larger than usual proportion of the constituents which offers them a tangible voice this time around that could determine the winner.

    Realising their strength this time, there have been calls by Indian rights groups for the Indians to boycott the by-election as they feel both BN and Pakatan have failed to help the Indians. Their boycott will definitely give a much-needed victory for BN but will that in anyway benefit the Indians who claim they have been marginalised for the last 52 years under Umno-BN?

    The only way Indians can get long-term benefits is for BN to do away with their present race- based politics and adopt one based on merit and need regardless of race or creed. Is the ruling Umno-BN ready or willing to adopt such a system? It does not appear to be so although it says it wants to in its ‘1Malaysia’ policy.

    Even on the day of nomination, race politics started to rear its ugly head. Racist books attacking Pakatan were being distributed though of course, we do not expect any action against those responsible. No Umno leaders see it fit and right to condemn such seditious acts but they expect full support from the non-Malays this time around. That is the irony, attacking those whose support they need badly.

    The battle may be between a political heavyweight, Isa, a veteran with wide experience but who has been found guilty of money politics, and Zulkefly Mohd Omar, a political novice who is yet to be tested for his capabilities and integrity, but the main issue in this election is corruption.

    By nominating Isa who has been found guilty of money politics, what message is BN trying to convey to the people? Is it alright to be corrupt as long as you can win an election? Wouldn’t a win for Isa set a dangerous precedencent?

    It is interesting how the perception of corruption has changed over the years. When we were young, we were taught the no-nonsense approach to corruption which was described as illegal, bad or dishonest behaviour, especially by people in positions of power. We were taught that corruption is terribly wrong in whatever form or magnitude it may take.

    However today, we are now told by our top leaders that corruption may be a ‘technical’, moral or legal offence and if one is found guilty on ‘technical’ grounds, then it is not a real offence. If our leaders have such compromising views on corruption, there is no way this cancer can be eradicated and we are doomed.

    The people of Bagan Pinang have the opportunity to send a clear message to our national leaders that they will not tolerate corruption in whatever from it takes or whoever perpetrates it. They must choose the candidate who is in a better position to fight corruption that has plagued the nation for too long and is undermining every effort to elevate the nation to developed status.

    Only a candidate who himself is free of corruption, is trustworthy, and is willing to go down to serve the rakyat will be best suited to represent their interests. The people must be the judge to decide who that is.

    Our politicians have taken the voters wisdom and maturity for granted for far too long. The people today are mature enough to decide for themselves the good and bad of each candidate. They cannot be hoodwinked by the antics and empty promises by the political parties anymore.

    The country is undergoing some difficult times in inter-ethnic relations and its transformation into a two-party multiracial nation and the people of Bagan Pinang can help the process by sending a strong message on behalf of all Malaysians that they want a nation that is multiethnic and corruption-free where everyone regardless of race, creed or political ideology can live side by side in peace and harmony.

    The onus is on the people of Bagan Pinang to demonstrate their wisdom and maturity in no uncertain terms come Oct 11.

    This article brings a very good message to all, in particular Bagan Pinang voters.


  6. A true Malaysian
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 23:06:48

    Dr. Hsu,

    So far you are silent on Bagan Pinang by-election. Can share some of it?

    To me, the result will see far reaching impacts or consequences to our country. I hope the result will be in PR favour.

    Voters in Bagan Pinang should vote with their clear conscience. The results will not affect you only but the whole country.


  7. Dr Hsu
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 23:15:51

    see my article ‘winning the penny and losing the pound’ you will know how i stand on this issue….

    We can only give a person a second chance when we know that he has really repented and he has been in good conduct for some time.. The same cannot be said for this candidate as well as the party he belongs to.

    I just came back from a Hari raya Open house, and I told some of the people there that we need to look 10 to 15 years ahead.. and I said this again.. That it would be good for BN to lose the next general election, for only then, can there be real hope for change and can there be a a party system of check and balance.

    Malaysia must eveolve towards a less partisan type of politics. Oppositon parties should not be called opposition but rahter Government in waiting. So we should ahve a government party and a government in waiting party. A 2 party system. If we call the one that is not holding power opposition, it denotes an enemy. Why should people on the other side be considered enemy when all they want is for the betterment of the country…


  8. A true Malaysian
    Oct 07, 2009 @ 23:50:17

    The problem is, no one seems to be repented? I don’t see them repented even if they lose the next GE.

    Examples like MCA dvd episode, technically not an offence, Perak fiasco, cow head demo and so on…urgency is there for all of us if we want to see such antics stopped. Resistant are all over for us to see ….


  9. Atila
    Oct 08, 2009 @ 13:31:08

    Dr. Hsu

    Many politicians & mega rich businessman
    escaped corruption.

    Even if the Fed Govt becomes PR next GE,
    these people mentioned above have tonnes
    of money pile up overseas.

    By then, there will be lots of accusing to the previous govt (like what Penang CM DAP saying of KTK) but what good does it for rakyat?

    My ex-Executive Chairman has tonnes of money park overseas including Dubayy and so are other businessmen during the era of TunM and PakLah. You think when PR rules Fed, the money can come back to Malaysia?

    Rakyat has still got to live work hard to make ends meet everyday including myself & we got
    to accept the fact that the mega rich are
    above Law on top of the damage done.

    Life has to go on for me & many poor ones.


  10. d'evil
    Oct 08, 2009 @ 14:33:47

    Atila. Not only the politicians and rich park their money overseas. Even the Along are doing this. Do you think the Along will bring the money back if PR win the next election, much less BN politicians and the mega rich.

    I have very little money. I am thinking of taking what little I have outside the country. 🙂


  11. Atila
    Oct 08, 2009 @ 14:39:35

    d’evil, i have very little money too.


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