Syed Akbar Ali: More Bureaucracy, More Napoleons, More Rasuah

More Bureaucracy More Napoleons More Rasuah outsyed the box 8 june 2011

By Syed Akbar Ali

Folks, can you please go near a window that is nearest to you and listen carefully. Can you hear some splashing sounds? Its the Indonesians swimming across the Straits, coming over to become ‘legalised’ migrant workers. More of that later.

Here are some definitions of bureaucracy : “An administrative system in which the need or inclination to follow rigid or complex procedures impedes effective action”

I think this definition hits the nail exactly on the head especially for a country like Malaysia. Here is another more benign definition of bureaucracy : “Management or administration marked by hierarchical authority among numerous offices and by fixed procedures”

The word itself seems to have a French origin. In French a ‘bureau’ refers to an office. A bureau also refers to a small cupboard that is full of drawers – where you can put letters, buttons, tobacco, herbs (in a Chinese medicine shop) inside separate drawers. Hence a bureaucracy is a system where everything is properly organised and put away in separate ‘bureaus’. Bureau of firearms, bureau of investigations, bureau of planning etc. It is an efficient method to organise things.

I have heard academics say that in the modern era the Germans perfected the concept of a bureaucracy. The Germans are called a Teutonic race. Many tribes were classed as Teutons including the Saxons, Lombards, Vandals (from whence comes the word vandalism), Visigoths and so on. Due to their geo-politics and their history the Teutons were known as a martial race. They had militaristic traditions not just in the field but in their everyday life. They realised early on the benefits of organisation, of hierarchy, of doing things together as a group in some strict fashion. They were good at following rules. Until today the whole world talks about ‘German punctuality’, German precision and of course ‘Made In Germany’.

Hence bureaucracy as a modern administrative tool to rule people and govern a country thrived in the modern Germany. And modern Germans thrived on bureaucracy. Even before he came to power, Adolf Hitler spoke proudly of the hardworking and committed German Civil Servant who would diligently fill all the forms and ensure everything went according to plan and schedule.

It was as if bureaucracy was custom made to suit the German culture, the Teutonic culture of hierarchy, of obeying rules, moving together in precision and following instructions closely.

In modern German history, the more bureaucracy they had, it actually made them even more efficient. Not only was everything broken down into precise and logical steps but more importantly everything was done according to the precision that had been agreed.

There is a story that many years ago our Tourism Development Corporation prepared to display a wooden Malay house at a tourist exhibition in Germany. An engineer from the local council insisted that according to their safety standards, any raised house had to have steel or concrete supports, even a display house. Making it worse was that people were supposed to go up into the house as well as walk around below it.

Our Tourism Officials contacted senior German officials for help. They came and said, ‘Sorry, we have to obey what the Local Council engineer has said’. So the wooden display house had to be taken down. That is why in Germany we rarely hear of buildings collapsing, roofs coming down, hillsides falling and so on. First they make good rules, and then they obey them.

We too have many good rules. But we rarely obey them. And in the 21st century, there is a worse twist in Malaysia. We are making really silly and stupid rules. And then we still dont obey them either.

I want to point out that this has much to do with our culture too. We are not a Teutonic people. We are now a mixed bag, a mish mash of Pribumis, Chinese, Indians with different languages, traditions, religions, beliefs in fate, takdir, ‘writing on the forehead’, hantus, ghosts, mysterious fires, chasing away spirits, good luck, bad luck, feng shui and God knows what else.

And we also have vocabulary in all our languages like ‘chin chai’, ‘sap sap sui’ (I dont know what that means), takpa, tidak apa, relak le brader and so on. All this means the same thing : a tidak apa attitude.

Politics has little to do with it. Whether BN, UMNO, PAS, Pakatan or whoever, we are all afflicted with this diseased culture. In Latin America they call it ‘manyana’ which means ‘tomorrow’. It means lets postpone something to tomorrow. In the Phillipines its called ‘mamaya na’ – also to postpone.

Then we also have a corrupt culture and corruption in our traditions. The white man coined an English word for it ‘corruption’. Long before the white man though we have always used bribery and corruption in our cultures and traditions. We do not need the white man to come and tell us that we are corrupt. Ufti, kow tim, makan suap, bakshish (arabic), buah tangan, hadiah and such are actually ambiguous words. They all had or have something to do with money, gifts and other ‘inducements’. And this vocabulary has been around for centuries.

We must know this and understand this truth about ourselves very well before we can reorganise to move forward rapidly. And of course also before we pass new laws, make new rules and create new layers of bureaucracy. This is what we are. Lets not deny it. (By the way, can you hear the splashing sounds becoming louder? The Indonesian swimmers are approaching the half way point already).

Then to become a modern nation, we too imported the bureaucratic system to help us manage things in our country. Most unfortunately however we did not change (or could not change) our culture, our attitudes and our belief systems enough to suit the highly efficient but alien bureaucratic system. Instead our cultures and our attitudes have “infected”, corrupted and completely taken over the “bureaucatic system”. We have learnt to use the bureaucratic system to stifle, suffocate, delay and corrupt ourselves to death.

We have corrupted the bureaucratic system to assist us to ‘postpone’ things. Or use it for corrupt purposes. And we keep doing it.

So when I read that the Government is creating new layers upon layers of bureaucracy to give ‘amnesty’ and to ‘legalise’ immigrant workers, I was shocked. This is another bureauratic death trap. It is going to create major heaaches. In fact it already has. Do read on. It is also going to create major, big time corruption.

Why? Because we are a corrupt culture. We are still a chin-chai people. We believe in black magic, fate, good luck, bad luck and other such crap which can “influenceour fortune”. So the more ‘bureaucracy’ we create, more people are going to walk up to the Immigration fellow and say ‘Chin chai lah. Saya tolong sama lu’. This is bound to happen.

It is worse when the Immigration fellow sees the new layers of bureaucracy as ‘opportunity’. He becomes Napoleon. The ‘amnesty for the illegals’ has not even kicked off and yet the newspapers already say this:

“Police investigating companies suspected to be involved in amnesty scam. PETALING JAYA: Two police reports have been lodged against companies soliciting funds to “legalise” illegal immigrants. . . .the reports were lodged in Putrajaya and Jinjang in Kuala Lumpur. “Police have initiated investigations under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating,” he said.

I knew this already. This was bound to happen. It is a really silly idea. Giving a crony contract to some private company to make money from ‘illegal migrants’. There is going to be nothing but trouble coming from this. There is going to be massive corruption, massive fleecing and cheating of unsuspecting and illiterate aliens (Indons, Banglas, Myanmars etc), illegal aliens are going to end up floating on that ship in Port Klang for 13 months and all kinds of crap. Just wait and see.

A few years ago under Slumberjack, some dunggu Minister came up with the idea to give subsidised diesel ‘up front’ to Malay inshore fishermen. Overnite, the inshore fishing industry among many Malay fishermen collapsed. They all started smuggling subsidised diesel instead by the boatloads to Thais and offshore fishermen. It was more lucrative than catching fish. Why? Because our culture is a culture of ‘saya mahu cepat kaya’. It is a corrupted culture. Please dont deny it.

Then to overcome the “rampat diesel smuggling” as the dunggu Minister put it, they got the Government to spend hundreds of millions of Ringgit to buy speed boats and patrol boats for the Customs department to chase these subsidised diesel smugglers. Lagi dua kali lima punya bodoh.

I believe a simpler and more effective method would be, you bring in the fish harvest first only then you get the subsidy. Whether it is fish, rice, durian, jagung or whatever – the subsidy must be paid AFTER the guy has harvested the fish, padi or durian. NOT BEFORE. And minimum quantities must be imposed. You must bring in say 50 kilo of fish, then you are eligible for say 20 litres of subsidised diesel. No see fish, no get cheap diesel. No see padi no get cheap fertiliser (yes for the next planting season).

Then I also read the following in today’s paper:

Used-car dealers protest against unnecessary 18-point inspection

KUALA LUMPUR: Frustrated used-car dealers are protesting against the “unnecessary” 18-point inspection requirement included in amendments to the Hire-Purchase Act 1967. . the B7 would result in unnecessary costs for consumers. . the B7 inspection was expected to take a whole day.

Puspakom had inked a deal with Motordata Research Consortium Malaysia (MRC) to provide it with information of vehicles accident history. Puspakom would pay a RM25 fee to MRC for each vehicle it checked.

“Why must Puspakom link up with a public-listed company and charge the public for it? .. .. a secret agreement with MRC, the cost of which will be transferred to consumers,” he said. Gerakan state Youth chief Lau Hoi Keong said Puspakom and MRC seemed to be the only ones benefiting from the amended Act.

Here is another example of creating useless layers of bureaucracy which will only burden the public, add more to the cost of living and open up huge avenues for corruption. I smell nothing but corruption, corruption and more corruption from this Puspakom thing.

The public also cannot help coming to the conclusion that the entire Hire Purchase Act 1967 has been amended just to benefit Puspakom and a few crony companies.

We are not a Teutonic culture. Our culture still lacks discipline, still lacks motivation, still wastes time, still believs in tidak apa, still believes in illogic and the supernatural and so many other things. Lets pay due regard to the prevalence of this type of culture. This is what we are. In such a culture, creating more bureaucracy, putting more layers of paperwork and laws will NOT MAKE US EFFICIENT.

In such a culture, more bureaucracy will create more delays, more procrastination and open up more avenues for corruption. MORE BUREAUCRACY WILL MAKE US MORE CORRUPT AND INEFFICIENT. So we need less red tape, less rules. We must make things even more easier. Not more difficult. Why? Because we are a corrupt culture.

Can you hear that? The splashing sounds have stopped. The Indons are crawling up the beach already. Each of them has an “amnesty” in hand. They are selling the counterfeit version of it across the water already. What shall we do? Close one eye.

Posted by Syed Akbar Ali at 11:48:00 AM


Anonymous said…

Tuan Syed i really don’t understand why the leaders are not thinking .If they cannot think then read other people’s thought.Or maybe they know what’s going on but just don’t care?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 3:22:00 PM

Anonymous said…

Tuan Syed, Don’t be so sad. We have our own UMNO Selayang now endorsing the Obedient Wives Club. It will make the husband happy.

Soon we can have the Obedient Citizen Club. It will make the goverment happy.The it can be the Obedient _______ (just fill in the blank)Club. Good opportuity for UMNO,MCA , MIC, PPP, Gerakan, etc.Even for the Polis, Kasta, kereta sapu, etc.

Our country is wonderful. Don’t be sad.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 4:50:00 PM

Anonymous said…

Dear Syed

The Father of all corruption Dr. Mahathir, when queried on the high level of corruption in Malaysia, once reportedly said he did not believe in enforcement but a change in culture. He wanted people to change their ways but felt that enforcing the law against corruption was not the way. Which is exactly why in his 22 years of mis-management corruption went to astronomic proportions.
Police can be paid to fix anything – from drunk driving to even manslaughter charges. Apparently if you killed someone through reckless driving, the runner can close the file for RM 4,000. Mat Tyson Taib walked into Australia with millions in his pockets and apparently that is just a norm for Malaysian tourist abroad. No case to even open an investigation. Telekom top guns get paid millions for sweet deals to cronies and still no case to answer – even after the company that paid the bribe came clean and paid hefty fines in US. Syed – I will not be surprised if you get charged for spreading “false news” of corruption in super clean Malaysia. But then you can always pay the Investigating Officer to throw your file away….This is what we inherited from Mahathir.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 6:21:00 PM

Anonymous said…

I personally thinks that there is no political will from the leaders to really apprehend the malady even though we have been talking about it for ages. And every morning I still see the groups of government servants spending time at the coffee shops and warungs puffing their lives away although it was already 9.00 am. Just imagine if 10% of the goverment servants does that, how many thousand man hours was wasted down the drain. Those are our hard earned tax money that had been used to pay their salaries.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011 6:30:00 PM

Anonymous said…

Very well written.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 8:05:00 PM

Roselind said…

Very well written…it’s good to hear more voices like yours Tuan Syed…

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 8:07:00 PM

Anonymous said…

Bagi “can” sikit dekat mamat indon cari “rezeki” di bumi malaya bertuah. Kalau tidak dapat lesen AP untuk bawa masuk kereta mewah, dapat bawa masuk mamat indon dan bangla pun jadi ler. Jika ini berterusan, pada tahun 2020, jumlah penduduk malaya akan bertambah kepada 70 juta seperti yang diidam-idamkan oleh Tun Mahathir. Majulah Indon di bumi Malaya!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 9:04:00 PM

Anonymous said…

It is a really silly idea. Giving a crony contract to some private company to make money from ‘illegal migrants’. There is going to be nothing but trouble coming from this. There is going to be massive corruption, massive fleecing and cheating of unsuspecting and illiterate aliens (Indons, Banglas, Myanmars etc)…

And then the innocent, law-abiding Malaysians will pay the price for the “massive fleecing and cheating of unsuspecting, powerless and illiterate aliens (Indons, Banglas, Myanmars, etc.)”

Why is that so?

Because of the immutable law: For every action there is a reaction.

The massive fleecing and cheating that is unjustly suffered by these aliens will mean that they will seek to recoup their monetary losses by preying on the locals. That means there will be a spike in robberies, snatch thefts, burglaries, stealing, and other criminal acts.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 1:08:00 AM

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