Friday, January 30, 2009


When I began to see how the NST and the Star surgically dissected Anwar Ibrahim in their tabloids, mattress and all, I began to be more discerning. I had many friends in both papers, but fortunately they were sports journalist, and had nothing to do in the operating theatre. It was after the court maneouvred DSAI into Sungai Buloh, and the street protests began that I began to look for another source of information. That was my introduction to blogosphere (which at that time was not called thus). I began to read MGG Pillai avidly. Then came along Jeff Ooi's Screenshots and when I decided to put up a blog of my own, Dr Bakri Musa was one of the early 5 in my blogroll. The good doctor has been criticised often by you-know-who for sniping from a distance. Of course it has to be from a sniper worth his salt will come up to you, put the Glok between your eyes and say: Die. Blogging from a distance, Dr Bakri's writings convey a better sense of the country that some of our dead-wood politicians do not even attempt to possess. Most people regret the past, worry about the future and fuck up the present. Dr.Bakri writes about the present......even from a distance.

People, I present to you Dr. Bakri Musa:

Eradicating Corruption

Corruption can never be completely eradicated, as greed and dishonesty are basic human traits. However, unless there is a strong commitment not to tolerate it, corruption will by default becomes acceptable, which is the same thing as encouraging it.

In combating corruption, it is crucial to send a strong signal from the very top. The remarkable success of Singapore in tackling corruption was precisely this. Its leaders took bold and highly visible steps early on; with that, the gravity of the message sunk through very quickly.

While closing down bad institutions would quickly send out a strong and effective message, it would penalize the few workers who are honest and diligent. This could be remedied by redeploying them, assuming you know who they are. As effective and radical as that method is, there is the added risk that powerful constituents and beneficiaries of those agencies would protest, as demonstrated by the Indonesian experience. If their supporters are strong or big enough, they could cripple or bring down the government, and you could end up with a worse situation.

Current efforts at reigning in abuses in the police force, so well documented in the Royal Commission Report, are stymied by the Force’s many supporters. UMNO Youth strenuously opposed the Commission’s recommendation for an independent complaints bureau.

The trick would be to pick the institutions that are so blatantly corrupt such that the public is totally disgusted with, or one that does not have a powerful constituency.

The Road Department, Customs Agency, and the Land Office would be appropriate candidates. Shut them down and contract their services out. The public would applaud the ensuing crispness and efficiency in service. In addition to such decisive and dramatic actions (“shock and awe!”) at the macro level aimed at whole institutions, we need even stronger actions at the micro or personnel level by going after the “big fish.”

There are two possible avenues of actions: through executive decision and through the criminal justice system. The Prime Minister could take executive action by outright firing, demanding the resignation, or not appointing (or reappointing) ministers and other top appointees who have the slightest hint of impropriety. The threshold is necessarily low and arbitrary; whatever the Prime Minister decides. He sets the standards. Innocent till proven guilty is fine in a criminal court, but not in positions demanding high public trust and integrity.

The other is through aggressive criminal prosecution. Here the burden of proof is rightly high. There should not be malicious or politically motivated prosecutions, that would be worse. The temptations would be there in order to demonstrate one’s resolve.

Prosecutorial zeal and misconduct can come in many guises, most often in pursuit of fame, political ambition, or outright corruption itself. However, if a prosecutor were to leverage his successful litigation career into something political, that is his right.

Prosecutors should not be hamstrung by political considerations; this danger exists where the Anti Corruption Agency is not independent. Nor should the ACA wait for an ironclad case before proceeding. Sometimes just disclosing the evidence in open court even if that does not result in conviction would serve a wider useful public purpose.

The corrupt would not willingly part with their ill-gotten gains by hiring the best legal talent. That is their right, and should be zealously protected. There is no place for kangaroo courts; substituting one corrupt system for another is not the answer. Nor do I believe that corruption is a capital offense.

Abdullah had two rare opportunities early in his tenure to demonstrate his resolve in fighting corruption, and he squandered both. The first involved Kasitah Gaddam, a low-level cabinet minister charged with corruption; his trial is still pending. The second was Isa Samad, a senior figure in both UMNO and the cabinet who was found guilty of “money politics” by his party peers. Abdullah should have publicly demanded their resignations; instead he let them dangle in the breeze. They eventually resigned voluntarily, more in response to widespread public disgust. Abdullah missed a rare and splendid opportunity to send an important message. Worse, it appeared that he condoned such gross lapses of corrupt behaviors.


ahoo said...

Dr Bakri Musa not only writes well but is also a skillful surgeon. Indeed people like him is very much needed in a NEW Malaysia where he can contribute towards the much needed training of doctors in view of shortages.

Even though he writes from afar, I'm pleased that he can set aside time to read about the happenings in Malaysia and also to comment on it. Thank you so much Dr.Bakri and Malaysia will indeed sees new dawn with more people like you sharing and writing from your heart.

Let us all look forward to see and to ensure that changes do take place within our generation or else our future generations may be heading south like Zimbabwe. Many thanks to you too, Bernard for your unwavering stand for justice and good sense to prevail in so many instances to date. Keep doing what you think is Best and leave to God the Rest as there are things that we cannot overcome in our human frailty.

Anonymous said...

Only wish was pr had people who were not from umno as i feel when they come to power it will be back to the same old story.

Anonymous said...

We have a monumental task of getting rid of corruption. Everyone needs to chip in, as it starts at home. I just hope we Malaysians are up to the task at hand. May GOD help ALL of us.

Peace Admiral Tojo

Tanjung Karang said...

Bernard Khoo (blog name Zorro Unmasked), Harris and Raja Petra Kamarud­din (Malaysia Today) were all either “inspired or sponsored by Anwar”, said Rocky.

Main bontot ka apek??

P. Dev Anand Pillai said...

Dear Zorro,

Your messages and writings have always been very inspiring and direct which is the way thinking Malaysians need to be accustomed to after decades of indoctrination by the main stream media. Dr Bakri Musa is the type of Malaysian that we need to helm the country and take it to greater heights, though he writes from a far, it is best that he continues like that inspiring and motivating us as he will not have such a free hand if he does it from here. There are many Dr Bakri Musas around our midst but sadly, they are being silenced and supressed. The people are slowly awakening from their long slumber. This is the best oppurtunity for a new dawn for Malaysia.

P.Dev Anand Pillai.

Sheila said...

Siakap senohong gelama ikan duri

Bercakap bohong lama-lama mencuri

- a Malay proverb that says a liar usually goes on to commit more heinous crimes

Sounds familiar bro??

Betik Siam said...

Liar Liar, Pants on Fire!

The Phoenix Foundation said...

I have one favour to ask of your, which I have been wanting to do so since 2007 viz: Pls x100, come back to your/our Bumi and help us revive our Nation.
Sitting in the safety net of the Hew Has of Hay {USA}is not on.
Your analysis,your thots, your pieces are spot on BUT smacks of a tad hypocrasy as you are not "turun padang"
As Shakespere states: full of sound & fury , signifying nothing"
Please we need a person like u her in Malaysia with us!

motherchell said...

Dear Zorro,Wonderful to know his presence etched here today.
Its been a great journey to know Dr Bakri thro his writings . I first came to know about this great soul after being in MT and explored in suspension of all the columns, of whos who ! His writings galvanizes and furthers my interests in pieces I express. He gives me courage and to pursue them in ways to make this place a better one . Great Job!Bless you guys!

Anonymous said...

The only way to control corruption is to make a provision for 'restitution' in the MACC.Those who cannot explain their accumulation of wealth must resign and transfer the assets to the state.Ramlax