Monday, May 20, 2013
Tun Razak paid for his own toothpaste, admonishes aide for suggesting that it be paid using government funds
'Integrity shortfall behind eroding support for BN'
The regent of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, has pointed to the gap between expectations and delivery of integrity as a factor behind eroding public support for the BN-led federal government.
Referring to the 2004 general election, Raja Nazrin (left) noted that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had led the BN to a landslide victory after placing integrity and anti-corruption measures on his agenda when he took office from November 2003.
This had led to the formation of the Integrity Institute Malaysia and the royal commission of inquiry on the operations of the police force.
Three prominent individuals - the Kangar Municipal Council president, Perwaja chairperson Eric Chia and former rural development minister Kasitah Gaddam - were also charged with alleged graft.
“The public received these reforms well, as manifested in the 11th general election when the BN obtained 198 parliamentary seats and 63.9 percent of the popular vote in 2004. (The promises) rekindled hope in the people and this was translated into support (for the BN),” the regent said.
“In the 12th general election (in 2008), the public felt that the (government) had failed to fulfill their high expectations. The people felt that promises remained unfulfilled. They became sceptical of speeches and various indices of achievement that were meaningless to the realities of life.”
Speaking at an Integrity Convention organised by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission in Putrajaya today, Raja Nazrin said people wanted leadership by example with regard to integrity.
He urged leaders of today to learn from the examples set by the Prophet Muhammad, as well as past leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman (right), Abdul Razak Hussein and Hussein Onn.
Raja Nazrin said the nation’s first prime minister had at one parliamentary session ordered the removal of a consultant for the Kuala Lumpur Hospital project, upon learning that the individual was a close acquaintance.
“Similarly the second prime minister (once) asked his aide to purchase toothpaste and hair cream during a trip abroad because he had forgotten to bring those items,” he related.
“The next morning Abdul Razak asked the price of the items and his aide said it would entered as a claim (on expenses). Abdul Razak admonishes his aide, saying these were personal items and should not be (paid for with public funds).
“Hussein rejected the government's (offer to pay) his airfare from London to Malaysia (while on holiday, even though) Abdul Razak had asked him to return immediately when then deputy premier Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman died. Hussein said he had already paid for his ticket.”
‘Stringent law enforcement’
The regent noted that the practice of integrity can be supported through enforcement of law that is free of fear and political interference.
“The ability of a leader to curb corruption - and a leader who is brave enough to remove corruption from the anatomy of the administration - will strengthen the standing of the administration and result in a positive image for the government.
“This will increase the people’s respect for the leader and his integrity.”
He listed the Philippines, India, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore as examples of countries that have shown political will in enforcement, as tough as this is.
Raja Nazrin also quoted the experiences of his father Raja Azlan Shah (right), while Lord President, in finding a personal friend and then Selangor menteri besar Harun Idris guilty of corruption.
“My father wrote: ‘It was painful for me to sentence a man I know. I wish it were the duty of some other judge to perform the task. To me this hearing seems to re-affirm the vitality of the rule of law. But to many of us, this hearing also suggests a frightening decay in the integrity of our leaders.’
“.... This serves a reminder and warning to us. It was certainly difficult for Raja Azlan to pass such a harsh sentence ...but he prioritised the rule of law and public interest.”
Raja Nazrin said the episode of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit could provide a guideline for people.
He said the returns for favours come in many forms, including money, titles, precious stones, holidays, a big bungalow or condo, and even haj or umrah trips.
“Such attractions and temptations may be difficult to reject but, in those situations, we must uphold integrity and be sincere. We must always remember that in the end we will return to face God and the day of judgment.”- Malaysiakini, 20/5/2013, 'Integrity shortfall behind eroding support for BN'