Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jala admits failure to net ‘big fish’ a letdown to Malaysians

Putrajaya has found it toughest to battle public perception of corruption in the country, Datuk Seri Idris Jala has revealed, saying this was because Malaysians want to see “big fish” netted.

Jala, who heads the government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), told BFM Radio this evening, however, that the fight against corruption was a matter that requires more time before better results can be achieved.

“Corruption is a tough one and the reason is that some of the things that we are doing today in dealing with corruption, we followed what was done in Hong Kong.

“So the lesson learned in Hong Kong is that we build basic building blocks... a bit like building a wall against corruption,” he told the business radio station’s “Talkback Thursday” programme, under its “You are the Government” series.

Jala explained that among the “blocks” put together by the government were the enactment of laws like the Whistleblower Protection Act and the introduction of transparency pacts and special courts for corruption.

But despite this, said Jala, public perception on the state of corruption in Malaysia remains at a low, owing to the lack of public figures being charged and convicted of corruption.

“Most people want the big fish. Now, while you are busy building the blocks... people just want to hang someone.

“But, of course, when that does not come through because the law must apply, then it is very difficult to deal with perception,” he said.

When asked by the show’s host, Ezra Zaid, if he felt that the failure to nab the “big fish” had caused disappointment among Malaysians, Jala agreed.

“It’s a disappointment. Most people think we have not caught any big fish. Nonetheless, when you at the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), we have slipped by one point from 4.4 to 4.3,” he said.

However, Jala said the slide could have been due to a new measure in the survey introduced by Transparency International, namely the “bribe payer index”.

“In this survey, they interviewed 28 countries... and this is to look at the propensity of Malaysians [to pay bribes] when they are outside the country.

“Apparently, we bribe when we are outside the country and our score on that was 2.7,” he said.

Jala also announced during the talk show that the government has achieved 60 per cent of its key performance indicators for its National Key Result Areas in the first five months of this year.

He said Pemandu was presently running eight simultaneous laboratories at present to prepare itself towards moving into the second phase of the Government Transformation Programme for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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