Monday, 1 July 2013

CIMB Political News - 01 July 2013

The Malaysian Anti -Corruption Commission (MACC) has set up a task force to investigate the indelible ink fiasco, focusing on whether there was a criminal breach of trust or misuse of power in the purchase of the ink. The head of the commission's investigations department Datuk Mustafar Ali confirmed the probe but declined to elaborate further.

  • The Malaysian Insider understands that the task force was set up last week. There has been a public outcry over the issues surrounding the use of the indelible ink at the May 5 polls. The Election Commission was embarrassed by this disclosure and clarified that a diluted form of ink was used to comply with halal standards.

But in Parliament this past week, the tale of the indelible ink got longer. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim admitted during the Dewan Rakyat session that the indelible ink used in the general election contained food colouring. He was replying to questions posed by Segambut Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng.

  • He further added that the absence of the required chemical was the reason the ink was easily washed off He also said that due to security reasons, EC decided to not reveal the identity of the suppliers. It cost RM7.1m to buy, package, store and transport the ink. (Malaysianinsider)

One lingering criticism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, following the disappointing performance of the Barisan Nasional in GE13, is how he has allowed government thinking and the election strategy to be outsourced to Pemandu and consultants. Without much encouragement, Umno politicians and even those in the PM's inner circle of businessmen can rattle off the names of those whom they believe Najib relied on too heavily in the last 24 months before the general election on May 5.

  • These include Datuk Seri Idris Jala of the Performance Management Delivery Unit, or Pemandu; a government outfit whose collection of highly-paid consultants were unsuccessful in persuading Malaysians that the crime situation had improved and that jaw-dropping economic statistics were not pie-in-the-sky hyperbole. Then there were the likes of Omar Mustapha, his brand advisers, his media strategists including some highly paid former members of Tony Blair's election team. 
  • Since May 5, there has been mounting pressure from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Daim Zainuddin and other senior Umno personalities for Najib to get rid of all his strategists and take control of government decision-making. They and other critics in Umno would not have been pleased with what happened two Wednesdays ago, on June19, when the Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and the Chief Secretary of the government sat through several hours of presentation by Idris and a collection of individuals being shaped up as the government's new brains trust. The next day, the experts' panel appeared before deputy ministers, secretary-generals from 21 ministries and other senior civil servants. 
  • The brains' trust includes Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, banker Stephen Hagger, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Air Asia's Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. Their brief: to discuss issues that affected BN's performance in GE13 and suggest ideas and policies to help regain support for the coalition. The Malaysian Insider understands that at the workshop on June 19, Idris Jala did an analysis of the GE13. He also touched on the issues raised by the public before the polls and looked at the trend of voting among Chinese and urban voters. 
  • He also looked forward to GE14. The brains trust identified racial polarisation, distrust in public institutions, the different education streams, rising crime and corruption as issues that may have affected BN's performance. (Malaysianinsider)

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has pored through more than 400 files in their probe on corruption allegations against Sarawak's Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. This was revealed by the MACC investigation division secretariat assistant commissioner Lim Bee Kean, who added they had also questioned and recorded statements from 20 individuals believed to be involved in shady land deals and who were mentioned in a Youtube video by international corruption watchdog, Global Witness (GW).

  • “However, investigations began in June 2011, even before the video was released,” Lim told a press conference at the commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya today. To speed up investigations, MACC is receiving help from the Attorney-General Chambers besides setting up a special task force for this sole purpose. "As in other cases prior to this one, MACC will not divulge the investigation details," she said, adding that they could not say how long the investigations will take. (Malaysian Insider)

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