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12 theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 12 2008

news without borders

All eyes on MACC,

JAC Bills
FINALLY, the much prime minister still
talked-about proposed
laws touted as being
At the Dewan Rakyat exerts a lot of influence
in their functioning.
part of the reforms being by Zainon Ahmad With time to study
instituted by Prime the bills, it would be
Minister Datuk Seri interesting how they are
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before he leaves going to be debated next week.
office were presented to the Dewan Rakyat It was an interesting one hour of debate on
on Wednesday. an emergency motion by Azmin Ali (PKR-
And it was to give him time to carry Gombak) to discuss the Bukit Antarabangsa
out the reforms – the passion for which landslide that took four lives on Saturday.
intensified greatly after the March 8 general No one was really surprised that Speaker
elction – that the Umno general assembly Pandikar Amin Mulia allowed it.
and the party elections have been postponed “We want all those responsible for
from December to March. approving the project to be prosecuted,”
To demonstrate how close to his heart thundered Azmin. A few of the Pakatan
these reforms meant to him, Abdullah came Rakyat MPs also stood up to lambast the
to the Dewan Rakyat – where he had been BN, especially the previous Selangor
absent for sometime because of his busy government, for approving the hill slope
schedule – to table the Malaysian Anti- projects.
Corruption Commission Bill (MACC) and Some of them must have felt funny
the Judicial Appointment Commission Bill that despite their provocations, the BN
(JAC) himself. backbenchers did not respond with their
The proposed laws will create usual broadsides. Those who stood to speak
new bodies – originally thought to be did so quite civilly.
independent agencies – to oversee judicial Minister of Housing and Local
appointments and fight corruption more Government Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan,
effectively so that Malaysia will be a better in his response to Lim Guan Eng (DAP-
place for all. But typical of Malaysians, they Bagan), admitted that there were sufficient
– or at least their representatives in the laws governing approvals for projects but
Dewan Rakyat – are already discussing the the problem was enforcement.
merits and demerits of the bills and whether He said a preliminary report on what
they are what were promised earlier. happened at Bukit Damansara would be
The Dewan Rakyat will only be debating ready next month but may not be made
the bills next week but already MPs from public but the full report on what actually
the BN and Pakatan Rakat are discussing happened on the morning of Saturday
them in the Members Lounge and in lobby. would only be ready in three months.
On the surface, all BN MPs are saying the Two interesting disclosures were made
bills are likely to restore public and investor during this week’s meeting. On Wednesday,
confidence in the country’s judicial system the prime minister in his written reply to
and taking the battle against corruption to a Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Bukit Bendera)
higher level. said the government spends RM6 million
Some of them, however, share the views a month on rental and maintenance on his
of some of the opposition members. official residence in Putrajaya. The money is
They do not see how the bills, in the paid to Putrajaya Holdings.
forms presented, would change public On Thursday, Foreign Minister Datuk
perception about corruption, or raise Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the government
confidence in the judicial system. owned about RM3.6 billion worth of properties
They do not see how the agencies to overseas, mainly buildings housing the
be set up would be independent when the country’s foreign missions abroad.

Govt must hire more, says Li

» From Front Page maintain high standards for its officers.”
In this respect, Li said MACC should
answer questions, similar to what is be- be provided with its own budget and
ing done via the special parliamentary discretion to hire and fire – free of the
One in committee that advises the prime min- Public Services Department – as it must
five US ister.” not be constrained by administrative and
However, Li cautions that with these bureaucracy issues that will encumber its
teens new initiatives, the government must be independence.
has had prepared to hire more people – some- He said the ICAC will adopt some of
‘tech sex’ thing that is addressed in the Bill. MACC’s provisions such as widening its
He said Hongkong has 1,300 ICAC noose on sports bodies and associations
pg 17 officers for a population of seven million. that perform a public function.
“Obviously, Malaysia’s 1,900 ACA offic- “The definition of a public servant in
ers are not enough for a population of Hongkong is very narrow, but the MACC
25 million.” has taken all these issues into considera-
However, he cautioned against hiring tion,” he said.
for the sake of hiring. “We get up to 4,000 Li said the MACC reflects the de-
applications every year, but at the end, termination of the government to treat
only 20-40 are hired. Malaysia should also anti-corruption initiatives as a priority.

‘Foreign docs reluctant to come here’

SEREMBAN: Foreign doctors and medical spe- Abdul Latiff said the shortage of doctors had
cialists regard Malaysia as the last choice to work forced the government to look for an alternative
although the government offers them various by inviting foreign doctors and medical specialists
incentives. to work in Malaysia but it was not easy.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff “Only an attractive package will make them
Ahmad said yesterday the lack of doctors is a come but this will be expensive for us,” he said.
global problem. “In fact, getting doctors from Indonesia to
“We try to attract doctors from India to work serve in Malaysia is also difficult as they are being
here but they are more interested to serve in paid a monthly salary of 40 million to 50 million
first-choice countries like the United States and rupiah (about RM15,000) each while, for the same
in Europe or their second choice, the Middle East,” position in government service in Malaysia, they
he told reporters after opening a methadone will earn only about RM6,000 monthly despite
conference here. having to work overtime.” – Bernama