News of the arrest of the leader of the project cartel who owns 150 companies and monopolised tender projects in various ministries has sent shock waves throughout the country.
Something must have gone terribly wrong with our public administration and the project tender award governance. It shows that with regard to corruption and as a nation, we are sick to the core.
The cartel leader had since 2014 reportedly secured 345 projects totalling RM3.8bn. That was an astounding achievement, which could only have been achieved with the help of insiders within the government ministries, departments and agencies concerned.
Logical assumption has it that large amounts of money were allegedly paid to the insiders who had links much higher up, including political leaders.
Awarding numerous government projects to a single entirety means that other deserving contractors were deprived. Also, an equitable sharing of wealth and job opportunities to a wider group has been sabotaged. It also made a mockery of our nation’s “shared prosperity” vision if the so-called vision means anything, or still has credence.
Patriot is appalled at the state of corruption in the country today which appears to be entrenched in almost every ministry and departments and agencies of government. We believe corruption among public servants is beyond redemption, made worse by the lack of courage and will among top ministry officials and heads of departments and agencies, who themselves may be corrupt.
Talk is swirling among the public that when top political leaders are themselves mired in corruption, getting rid of this evil, sinful and shameless conduct is an impossible proposition.
It is unbelievable that senior ministry officials and heads of departments and agencies are oblivious to the corruption that happens under their watch. Irrespective of whether they know or pretend not to know or really do not know, heads must roll.
Patriot calls upon the chief secretary to the government and all ministry secretary generals to immediately review the project tender award governance system. Put in place procedures for checks and balances to ensure foolproof deterrence against corrupt practice.
Patriot applauds the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for arresting the leader of the project cartel. There must be proper interrogation to get to the root of this serious matter. Every single person involved as co-conspirator and accomplice must also be brought to book. Some among the suspects may even have honorifics before their names.
It is only when we have removed the roots of all corruption, including those involving people in top political positions and high administrative office, that true nation-building can start. – Patriot
Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)