C4 set to explode on corruption and cronyism

video courtesy: fz.com

REALISING that corruption and cronyism in this country is taking a toll on the bread and butter issues of the people, a new NGO with the C4 acronym is set to explode, by being the people's monitor, claims one of its co-founders.

The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) will attempt to tackle issues of corruption and cronyism at all levels, and will be launched tomorrow.

Long-time activist and C4 co-founder Cynthia Gabriel is not a new face to exposing corruption amidst big names in the country but she notes that corruption does not only take place amongst politicians.

"The level of corruption, the issues related to mal-administration, the abuse of power, mismanagement of funds, how decisions are being taken, how contracts are awarded, how important quality decisions of daily lives of people are all very much part of the governance we are striving for – one which is clean, more accountable and properly managed.

"Actually corruption is very much an issue that concerns the daily lives of the people as it affects their bread and butter issues," says Gabriel.

C4, she adds, will educate the masses, not just in cities, but in the rural areas as the the folks there are not able to get information from the internet and are continuously being misinformed by the controlled mainstream media on what really takes place at the top levels.

Gabriel says the Malaysian masses need to be educated that receiving commission in certain cases must be construed as bribes, and that corruption and cronyism should not be accepted just because it has been part of the culture.

Gabriel says that when corruption happens at the decision levels, the bulk is then passed on to the people with higher prices for goods and services and taxes.

"It is an urgent need as in the lead up to the GE13, we saw so many issues of corruption and fraud-related issues and cases that were brought up by the NGOs, citizens and politicians alike.

"Corruption in the last couple of years and last couple of months have definitely become the number one issue in this country, not withstanding a whole range of things going on at present.

"But the isue of raising cost of living, new taxes is very much seen as passing on the burden to the people when in fact the Malaysian government has been very much responsible for excessive spending and abuse of taxpayers' money.

"I am not just referring to mega scandals – not just Scorpene, the National Feedlot Centre or the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ)," says Gabriel.

Referring to the recent acquittals of former ministers Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy allegedly involved in the PKFZ scandal, Gabriel asks who then is really responsible for the losses incurred in such scandals.

She points out that in cases like PKFZ and Scorpene, no one has yet to be held accountable for the money spent and the people have no knowledge of who pocketed the hundreds of millions of ringgit.

"The question of who is responsible for all this wastage and leakage never really gets addressed," says Gabriel, also noting how the whistleblower in the NFC case was dragged to court – despite the existence of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010. She promises that this would be another aspect that C4 will look into.

Gabriel says that there needs to be more research on how whistleblowers can be protected with more calls for legal protection.

C4 also intends to address the impartiailty or perceived lack of independence of public institutions in the country.

Gabriel says that C4 intends to make the Malaysian government uphold the United Nations' Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) which was signed when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister.

"No one is monitoring Malaysia's performance. We will monitor and make sure many of the laws and local policies are in line with the convention," says Gabriel, stating that the convention itself is very comprehensive, although some parts are not legally binding.

With directors such as Tan Sri Simon Sipaun (former Suhakan commissioner), former Transparency International executive director Richard Yeoh, deputy head of Bersih and Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) head Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa as well as support from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Integrity Institute of Malaysia and the Bar Council, Gabriel is sure that C4 will make much impact on the NGO forefront in exposing and enlightening the people on corruption and cronyism in the country.

Former Bersih head Datuk Ambiga Sreenivesan is legal advisor to C4.

Gabriel says that Sipaun will be handling East Malaysia where much land grabbing has taken place and Ahmad Farouk will be tasked with the Islamic take on corruption by dealing with institutions, such as appointed religious bodies.

Gabriel believes that the name C4 itself, is enough to set things moving as it is a reminder of the explosive "that was used in a scandal" that once rocked the country.

For now, fully funded by Malaysian donors, the first phase of the NGO operations will be run by its co-founders and a group of volunteers.

Source: http://www.fz.com/content/c4-set-explode-corruption-and-cronyism