Immigration corruption is just the tip of the iceberg?

July 13th, 2008 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Another off-topic posting.

Ask around your friends, relatives, anyone – what is the perception of corruption in the government departments? Will you be surprised with the reply you get? This is the perception (not necessarily the truth) that people have. Immigration, Road Transport (JPJ), Customs, Police, and even the ACA themselves are viewed with a suspicious eye.

The recent arrest of top two Immigration officers plus another 20 or so people had caught the interest of the nation. Why now? From what I heard, it started with the many stranded Bangladeshi workers in Bangladesh itself who can’t enter the country because the “calling visa” were not issue over here. The reason is because the previous minister (Syed Radzi) is not around anymore (it seems he had authority to issue approval via computerized system) and had been replaced by new minister (Syed Hamid Albar),  after the general elections . Suffice to say that the responsibility of approving these visas were passed around until someone agreed to handle it. In the meantime, the agents and businessmen were stuck because they had taken payment from Bangladeshi counterparts and the workers were not able to come in. (The role of previous minister, government officers etc. is not covered here, but you guys are welcomed to ask any agents or runners that deal with Immigration dept. They have many many stories to tell, without giving proof of course.)

Secondly, when tourists from China were caught with 6 months visa extension during raids in Penang, few months back, the authorities were baffled with the original stamping in the passports. This triggered investigations, and the result is what we read in papers. I saw that Chinese paper splashed photos of the DG and his deputy, while some like NST blurred the pictures.

As of today, I heard that investigation have been expanded to the “pembantu rumah” (domestic help” section and ACA is all over the house of the directors and in HQ. I hope that the ACA is able to track back into the last 10 years, and not just focus on current officers.

I think just by interviewing the runners and agents, ACA can probably arrest a big number of Immigration staff. Just send some guys as undercover for few months to built up the case. If even public like us can get some much information and end up frightened with the size of corruption from the counter services right up to the top person, surely the ACA can do better.

I got this all this information from a guy who is an agent that deals with foreign worker employment. Was talking to him casually today. He had no reason to lie, but maybe he heard the stories from other agents or officers. Not sure how true it is, but “charges” for a calling visa approval is RM350/worker. Renewal of visa application (valid for 4 months) is about RM200.

How can graft be overcome? One way is to automate processes, integrate with systems from other departments/agencies and reduce human intervention. There should be minimal approval power in hands of individuals.

There was an interesting observation in the Star today. Why don’t ministers take responsibility for the mistakes, crime, negligence or shortcomings that happen in the agencies under their portfolio? Instead some government officer is the one who is punished. The writer refers to the Westminister principle of ministerial responsibility:

The Westminster principle of individual ministerial responsibility,
however, is probably of greater concern to Malaysians. It is explained
by Rodney Brazier in his 1997 book, Ministers of the Crown:

“Broadly, each Minister is responsible for

(1) his private conduct,

(2) the general conduct of his department, and

(3) acts done (or left undone) by officials in his department.”

Example of the first case is resignation of Chua Soi Lek over his personal conduct. It seems 125 British minister resigned in the last century, with a dozen for private scandals and two from private financial arrangements.

But case (2) and (3) is more important.

More from the article:

As Noore Alam Siddiquee of South Australia’s Flinders University wrote in 2006 in the International Public Management Review,
“the principle of ministerial responsibility as seen in mature
democracies is either weak or missing in Malaysia. The principle means
that the minister accepts responsibility for any lapses or
irregularities within his ministry and resigns from the office.

“Despite
reports of numerous irregularities in various agencies at different
levels, misappropriation of funds by individuals and groups and
increasing volume of complaints received from the public on the quality
of services and responsiveness, rarely has a minister chosen to accept
responsibility for such irregularities.”

Siddiquee points out
that despite the 2004 public outcry over shoddy construction projects,
the then Works Minister “not only rebuffed calls for him to step down,
he practically took no responsibility for the defective projects and
other anomalies, and has had no problem retaining his ministerial
office.”

But Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was able to rebuff those
calls for resignation – which came not just from civil society groups
and Opposition lawmakers, but also from BN backbenchers – in large part
due to the unwillingness of his Cabinet colleagues to apply the
doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility to him, perhaps lest
they themselves be judged by the same standards.

In Cabinet Governing in Malaysia
(2006), Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim reveals how they protected Samy Vellu:
“Finally, after what was a prolonged episode that almost cost him his
job, the Cabinet found that he took it upon himself more than he should
have shouldered. The Cabinet session of 20th October 2004, chaired
by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak,
discussed at length the background of this public outcry. Datuk Seri
Samy Vellu’s extensive reports to the session were noted by the Cabinet
with the view that the Minister ought not to take it upon himself all
the blame hurled by the public as there were various parties that were
responsible like consultants, contractors, engineers, architects, etc.”

Following
this logic, it would appear that a Minister only need resign if he were
a one-man ministry, doing everything himself. In reality other parties,
whether external or in the civil service, are always there to take the
blame.

Do you remember when was the last time a minister resigned (other that Chua Soi Lek)? Feel free to share.

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8 comments

  1. Aryaputra says:

    other than Chua Soi Lek, i don’t remember any but Ong Ka Ting refused any post after loosing in The G.E – 12 , 2008. Does that count?

    Samy will never resign, he needs protection..how else can he get protection w/o post or “kaasu”.

  2. Killer says:

    Aryaputra

    This is not just with ministers but also Oppo as well. Just look at DAP for example. They did badly in the past but LKS never stepped down and still ruling the party ala Lee Kuan Yew.

    I can’t speak for others, but I don’t see why Samy should resign when the fault lies with others ? Perhaps Samy’s mistake was to keep silent in order to protect others. Because of this he was blamed. I can give so many examples.

    One of the big problem Samy had was with the Ministries of Education, Finance and MITI. Due to the influence of Anwar and Daim, the projects under these ministries managed all their projects without the control of Works Ministry. Of course the reason for this was to give cronies business. As such we have seen many of these projects fail or having cost over-runs or delay.

    Second is the influence of third party interest. While I can’t name the state, there was a new highway after opening had many design flaws. The problem was that the highway was constructed by a firm which was partially owned by the Sultan of that state. As such, PWD was over-ruled.

    Don’t accuse Samy is out for $$ without understanding the man. Many people don’t know that Samy has used his position as Works Minister to make the contractors build temples, class rooms, schools, community halls for the Indian community.

    Now that we don’t control the Ministry, the biggest loser is not Samy but we Indians….

  3. Aryaputra says:

    Killer

    Quote : Now that we don’t control the Ministry, the biggest loser is not Samy but we Indians….

    Why didn’t our only indian minister opt or be recommemded to Works Ministry instead of Human Resource ? I bet he chose Human Resource himself, otherwise he has to be Samy’s puppet.

    • Killer says:

      Dear Aryaputra

      It doesn’t take much IQ to figure this out. I have already predicted this before the GE.

      MIC did badly in the GE and the current rep is S.Subra who is a junior in the govt. No one is going to give him an important ministry like Works Ministry because of his lack of experience and MIC’s performance.

      • Aryaputra says:

        Dear Killer,

        Sorry, my IQ is probably at a lower level than yours, and i am very much interested in your other PREDICTIONS. I hope you don’t mind sharing..

        • Killer says:

          No problomo senor…

          My other predictions :

          1. HINDRAF will break off with PR
          2. Most PR Indian reps will stay in PR and will not leave the party
          3. Anwar will fail in his bid to capture the Federal govt
          4. PR will break up
          5. Perak PR govt will fall
          6. Serious in-fighting in Selangor PR and PKR
          7. Changes in the leadership of Selangor govt (either at MB and/or exco level)
          8. Selangor state govt either will rule with weak majority or fall altogether
          9. Prof Rama will fail in his job as DCM2 and also as the state Indian leader
          10. HINDRAF will lose support and direction and eventually become irrelevant
          11. MIC resurgence will start after Samy’s resignation as the Boss

        • Killi Valavan says:

          hello Killer , these are not predictions . Do you know what prediction meant ?? Ask Nostradamus ….ok never mind too hard for you to understand .

          What you have stated is merely ‘may or may not’ kind of statements based on current chain of incidents . Any Tom and Harry could do that . Guess what , i saw a group of Form6 students sharing similar statements based of current events . It’s like 4D gambling . Everyone can predict and eventually someone will hit jackpot and it doesnt mean that he is God of Prediction .

          Noticed one thing based on your 11 statements . I believe all ‘thinking’ people could see that too. You continue sarcastic mentality over Indians in particular . You cant even stand seeing an Indian becoming DCM .
          I’ll vomit if anyone reading your comments support you ! Wht a disgrace !

  4. Aryaputra says:

    Dear Killer @ High IQ,

    I asked you about your predictions based on your quote : “I have already predicted this before the GE”.

    You’re saying you “predicted” the above 11 before the GE?

    How do you get this “prediction” ? like walking and suddenly you have headache and everything flashes in front of you or….???

    Is all your “prediction” politically motivated or can you “predict” sports results as well?

    What about you? where do you think you’ll be in the next 5 or 10 years ?

    When will No. 11 happen?

    Sir, when the other races are looking down on us, and we’re being neglected even by our own government from equal rights, you of all people are the real killer, a real “KILLER” of Indians i should add.

    From your 11, i see that for you..Indians must be with MIC or BN or else they will not succeed as Indians ? Hmmm, we have more success stories of Indians w/o the interference of MIC!!!

    We want change? not so call “predictors” like you, who will say , “yes, i predicted about this long ago” after smthg has happened and never before.

    How i wish i could use my “French” here…:D