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No improvement after so many years

  • If we think making mistakes and breaking the law are nothing serious, then we won't see any improvement in our management.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

After more than two years, PM Najib finally admitted that there there were indeed failings at 1MDB; there were lapses of governance, and there was valid cause for concern.

That was obviously different from how he put it previously. In May 2016, the PM said, quoting the PAC's conclusion that there was no problem with 1MDB's accounts and administration.

Now that he admitted mismanagement and that it was not political manipulation, does it mean he will throw in any remedial measure to put things right again?

Najib said he was not trying to brush over the issue, and had therefore ordered one of the most comprehensive and detailed investigations in the country's corporate history and dissolved the 1MDB board, changed its management team and reviewed its operations.

Due to lack of further explanations from the PM and the non-disclosure of the investigation outcome, including the AG's report, there is no way for us to know whether the so-called mismanagement has been caused by human negligence or any illicit dealing.

For the country to progress, we need to learn from our mistakes. Such mistakes will very likely happen again in future if we do not handle them transparently, allow the Parliament to debate them, find out the root of the problem and punish those responsible.

There are indeed doubts surrounding the 1MDB issue, including the remittance of US$3.5 billion to Aabar BVI, 1MDB assets being used to purchase assets in the US before they were confiscated by Washington.

If it was an instance of mismanagement, then a company's management couldn't have been more rotten than this. As a matter of fact, poor management has always been the biggest weakness for this country.

KLIA's aerotrain was out of order again last Thursday. A similar incident last September saw 20 passengers pry open the train's doors to walked down the track to the terminal building. The same service was off again for almost 12 hours on Christmas eve, severely disrupting the journeys of hundreds of flight passengers.

The aerotrain has been in service for 20 years now and if the parts are found to be faulty, they should be instantly replaced. The airport operator only knows how to increase the PSC without upgrading its services. While Singapore's Changi Airport continues to top global airport rankings for five straight years, our KLIA has seen declining rankings over the years.

On the issue of fake milk powder, even though the health ministry and milk powder company have rounded up the probe, the authorities have yet to take any action against the culprits. No details of the investigation, and parents have no idea what toxic ingredients their children have ingested.

Leak of personal data is not an isolated case either, as similar incidents have taken place every now and then. The latest case involves the leak of confidential information of more than 440,000 organ donors and their next of kin.

And since it was not the work of hackers, why no investigation on involved parties? Weak protection of confidential personal particulars will dampen public faith in web security.

On the issue of fallen objects from highrise flats, the federal territories ministry has come up with an eye-popping solution: installing safety nettings at 72 PPRs in the city. The maintenance and cleaning of these nettings will involve large sums of expenses, and the taxpayers will have to foot the bill in the end.

Management is also about the ability to solve a problem, failure of which will heavily tax the national coffers.

In the meantime, the government has been indecisive over its anti-corruption strategy. We already have MACC, why another JITN (National Integrity and Good Governance Department) and the withdrawal of MACC's certified integrity officers from government agencies?

Enforcement plays a critical part in management. Setting up a few more agencies will not help if we can't even carry out our anti-corruption mission effectively.

On the money game issue, the authorities only blacklist companies but take no further actions on them. Law must be strictly enforced in management, or things will go out of hand.

Even after so many years the government still has not come up with a consistent policy on migrant workers.

To manage an institution well, we need to have clear objectives. No ambiguity or complacency is acceptable.

Instances of management irregularities can be seen everywhere. Most importantly we must have some sense of shame. If we think making mistakes and breaking the law are nothing serious, then we won't see any improvement in our management.

 

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