That time of the year again

It is that time of the year again.

No, I am not  referring to the ‘durian’ season, nor  to the festivities like Deepavali, Hari Raya or Mid Autumn Festival.

I am referring to the time when lay men like you and me feel angry and frustrated towards certain ‘wrongs”, but are powerless to do anything.

Every year, since time immemorial, it has evoked the same feeling;  but every year, we just sigh , comment with our ‘coffee kakis’ in ‘Kopitiams’ and shake our heads . People like me with a computer will probably write something to let off steam;  the more important people, like those elected YBs from the other side of the divide, will probably pose some embarrassing questions in the Dewan. 

The end results will be the same; life carries on and nothing changes. We will all forget about and talk on other issues until the time of the year is here again.

I refer to the week in the year when the Annual Auditor General’s report is released.

Many years back, the AG reports revealed that  – those in the 20s and 30s might not remember-  certain items of cutlery were bought for millions of ringgit, the purchasing power of which will be equivalent to the cost of a small new Honda jet now( I googled and found that Honda jets cost US$3.65 millions each a year ago ).

Well, not to be outdone, we have officers in different departments competing with each other to get listed in the AG report every year, as if it is a honour list not to be outdone by others.

This year the honour must go to a college in  Balik Pulau  Penang, which bought 2 laptops for RM $42,320 per piece, according to the Star online here. I do not know what advanced features this lap top has, but I only know that for that amount of money, I can buy more than a dozens of the computer which I am using now to write this.

Then again, if they bought a 19 inch monitor for Rm8,500 per unit, what do you expect? I can buy one for about a thousand ringgit. Not to mention the 450 units of computer CADs which cost RM3.45 million, an amount an average Malaysian can never hope to earn in a lifetime.

What can we all do? I will write and let off steam and this  is now fast becoming a ritual at this time of the year.  Many of my friends who do not like to write will probably go to Kopitiams again, commenting on these  purchases, sighing and cursing, and soon forgetting about the whole thing again.

Do not blame these officers for buying above market prices. When they see the leaders paying tens of millions of commission to middle men in procurements, it is only human to follow suit.

When the top beams are crooked, the lower beams cannot be straight.


This post is also published under my column in Malaysian Insider here.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mycuntree
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 15:20:10

    Dear Dr Hsu,

    And so the government is telling you and me, as taxpayers, ” What are you going to do about it?”

    The situation of such abuses is a Given in the context of the present government.

    And I am thinking of how should I not pay any more taxes to feed and fatten up these people. It’s perhaps more practical and easier to remove the present government as a first step to solve the problem rather than move and live in the jungle.


  2. clearwater
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 15:55:16

    Well ; if dishonesty pays at the top, it will pay at the bottom as well. However, it does not absolve the lower rungs from blame; it makes the crime more understandable but not forgivable. The top sets the culture but the bottom are only too happy to follow to pick up crumbs. Malaysia does not have enough top beams that are straight and our lower beams are prone to crookedness.

    If no remedial action is taken and all get to indulge in this form of no blame corruption, this country will soon be resting on hollowed out wooden beams eaten out by termites. Still looks good from the outside but one strong push and it will topple over. When will that day arrive? Sooner than you think if reforms do not take place. Vote to change this rotten government.


  3. Meng
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 17:03:59

    This is trading in votes futures, money paid and votes secured.

    Investion for the future, I am sure most of you do insurance for your children’s education plan..etc and this is insurance for umno voting plan.


  4. A true Malaysian
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 17:20:22

    Dr. Hsu,

    The comfort is, Auditor General is still a respectful one. Not like other AG. You get what I mean?


  5. disgusted
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 17:32:25

    Yes, the only consolation is a honest auditor-general and hopefully it keeps that way. And everything else remains…..until voting day. But the problem, when GE comes, attention is diverted and nobody else remember the auditor general’s report. Especially when the ringgit rains from the sky.


  6. wassup
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 18:27:06

    Good. We should thank them for not making it RM50,000 for a laptop.


  7. Meng
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 20:04:51

    With so much being money thrown around, if you don’t pick it up, ppl will call you stupid.

    Oh ya I am an honest man but my 6 children are suffering with meager food on the table , no shoes and new clothes for festive season and my neighbour’s children with bicycles, bikes, my wife needs a perm and trimming and I cannot provide them.?? Servicing my car cost me headache and the petrol bills..shit need to go to work…just a clerk doing all the dirty papers work buying computers…

    Ha good, lets team up with the boss..60, it is 60 and 40 for me…thats how it works. ..After all I am the one who prepares the Purchasing Order, payment voucher..Local order. Don’t finish the money, the allocation goes back to treasury and some mininsters will wallop it…Sheeesh not a difficult decision…isn’t it.!!!..just a clerk.


  8. KB
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 20:05:12

    I bought a 19″ LCD monitor for RM569 at Low Yat Plaza 2 month ago (LG brand from Korea).


  9. Yam Siap
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 20:27:44

    In Bolihland anything pun Bolih so if you cannot beat them just join them.


  10. sosong
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 21:05:16

    These are real sickening, Msia govt purchases (big n small) had oledi bcome laughing stock in the eyes of the world. yet so many Msian still support this govt !!!


  11. daffodils
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 22:01:08

    Year in, year out the same old story. Nothing changes. An exercise in futility. Its NATO. No action talk only, so what’s the point.

    No improvement in budgeting and proper financing. Money down the drain or into somebody’s pockets?

    Sigh……….that time of the year, seasons come seasons go and all is forgotten.


  12. Meng
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 22:02:33

    “”The Penang state government has received praise in the auditor general’s 2008 report for its cost-cutting measures and prudent ways, which have resulted in the state’s consolidated funds increasing 21.1% (RM178.45 million) from RM847.45 million in 2007 to RM1.02 billion in 2008.””

    KTK must be burning hot with jealousy..LGE performance has proven how well PR can administer a state. Also reported “priority being given to spending on the people or for people-centric programmes.”” I am sure Penangites are smiling and nodding with satisfaction.

    An honourable performance..


  13. Justin Choo
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 23:39:25

    Dr Hsu,

    Don’t despair. There is always a way out. Let’s campaign for an AG who is not very good in figures or doesn’t have good memory. Then the Report will not cause you any further anguish. Remember, a relaxed mind is a healthy mind. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body.

    Never mind.


  14. Atila
    Oct 22, 2009 @ 23:41:58

    Dr. Hsu

    I am not & never one bit surprised with your write up today.

    Back in mid 1980s, Perda top bosses was fighting for the best table made from wood, etc.

    Year 2006, when i was in the govt mega project in Penang, i pointed out the PD for approving
    a claybrick at RM0.55 per piece and general worker for RM90.00 per day and why V.O for RM20Mil.

    After that, the PD was finding fault with me until one day i told him, either i quit or i shall expose he went to Bali and Phuket to collect “cash” from suppliers, lets say about RM8million.

    The PD was closely related to the previous PM’s wife’s side. He thinks he has the immunity.
    Though he left, he gave me hell at workplace via his left over cronies in the company.

    Its not easy being honest & AMANAH in GLCs.


  15. Atila
    Oct 23, 2009 @ 00:20:29

    Dr. Hsu,

    After GE 2008, many UMNO who were once Contractor Class A with easy come projects
    realised their pockets are shrinking.

    The only way to survive is via GLCs, agencies via MOFs…in short all platforms that solely
    under Fed control.

    As months move away from GE 2008, we as rakyat do expect this nonsense to escalate
    worst in PR controlled states.

    In Penang, after GE2008, there is no way
    these UMNO pax will get contracts from MPPP, MPSP, D.O., etc.

    As at today, what is left for UMNO Penang is
    the only Penang 2nd Link. I hope the experience of RM0.55 per piece of claybrick wont repeat
    in this project.

    When Najib spoke of change and reform last week in UMNO Gen Assembly, we smiled
    “seperti ketam menyuruh anaknya
    berjalan betul”.



  16. Trackback: Where are all the cats? « Dr. Hsu's forum

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