When Corruption is Endemic…

The Edge has been bringing us some really incisive, sizzling stories in the recent years, enough that I have no problem forking out RM5 per week to read some juicy findings.

This week’s lead story confirms what we know all this while. Here’s the dirt.

A recently completed audit on recipients of open APs (approved permits) revealed fraudulent transactions, forged documentation and ill-equipped entities supposedly importing cars. Apparently, 8 out of 10 recipients were found to have flouted the rules or undertaken fraudulent transactions with forged documents.

To curb the abuse, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), which oversees the allocation of open APs, had last month imposed new and more stringent conditions, as well as refined and introduced new guidelines on open AP allocation.

The audit, which was conducted recently by accounting firm Ernst and Young, MITI, Royal Malaysian Customs and the Road Transport Department, found that 70 out of the 89 open-AP recipients audited had breached the rules set by the government, failed to display proper financial accounts or did not have management teams to conduct their businesses.

Breaches include the forgery of documents for open AP application and cases of non-bumiputera owning shares or acting as financial controllers or signatories of cheques. The recipients also allegedly commissioned other companies to facilitate the sale of the imported vehicles using the open APs.

More dirt…

According to sources, the 70 entities which violated the rules have had their eligibility frozen. It is not known which are the entities that failed the audit. They have been given until March 31, 2009, to comply with the new conditions set for AP recipients.

Read the rest of the report here.

Another good rule gone bad. Something meant to elevate the Bumis, twisted into this sweetheart scheme for the Umnoputras and their cronies. Yes, I bravely say Umnoputeras cos, hey, tell me who else gained?

This has been going on for decades. Under the very eyes of Mz MITI Rafidah Aziz. Rafidah is no fool. But then she was a player, right down to her shoe-less leap to the podium when Dr M did that “I step down” tearful drama at an Umno general assembly not too long ago.

Much water and mud has flown under hat bridge since.

It looks like her successor Muhyiddin Yassin maybe doing something to clean up the rot. But then rather than kick them out or penalise these AP towkays,  (this kinda blatant flouting of the rules must be at least a breach of agreement), MITI has given them until March 31 to clean up their act.

What about a real will to act? To do something to clear the Augean stables of these fat cats? Berani ke?

That date March 31 itself tells something, doesn’t it?

March is supposed to be Abdullah’s exit month. March is also supposed to be Umno general assembly. Now, many of those AP holders, (I am not talking about the Franchise AP or the likes of Naza Kia, which has actually used the govt crutch to become first a luxury car importer and later into local assembly) are those who gained by selling something. I suppose.

Yes, galadriel insinuates something here. This Umno GM is critical. You piss off some powerbrokers (some may conveniently be some AP towkays) and you might find them unwilling to vote you in the race for deputy president. Mat Tyson is waiting in the wings.

So, it could be very convenient to promise them that nothing will happen, everything will be status quo, and let the crackdown begin after all this Umno elections business is done with.

Or dangle the carrot or stick. You promise those who pledge allegiance that they will be “taken care of”. Nice. Business as Usual. So this whole audit business may just be cosmetics that benefitted no one except the auditors Ernst & Young, who get paid.

I am asking you readers if you know how many of these APs are held by Umno Division leaders or people connected to them. The nexus revolves around this behemoth.

This is the real reason why Malay businesses fail. Because more often than not, it is the wrong fellas who get the opportunities. They either fail or they Ali Baba their permits.

I’m sure most, if not all of Pekema members are somebodies in Umno. Umno membership has to be the biggest doorway to the trough.

If we are to progress as a nation, such leeches should be eliminated. In fact if Umno and BN wants to remain relevant, patronage and money politics must go. But I sound like a broken record already. But wait, how many people actually still think Umno works?

Can I ask further, how many Terengganu folks got Open APs btw? Think about it.

Happy Weekend folks and oh, read this bit. The writer asks if we are really surprised?

No we are not. I just fear that we are becoming more desensitised each day since March 8 last year.


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