The mainstream papers really make them sound so nice ……. especially the financial papers.

Take The Edge Financial Daily headline today, “UEM, EPF and Govt strike a deal”.

It is made as though there were three independent parties that got into some serious negotiation on the PLUS Highway that was recently bought over for RM23 billion by a consortium equally held by UEM and EPF.

UEM, is a listed company and Government Linked Company (read: UMNO controlled) whilst EPF (the Employees’ Provident Fund) manages the funds deducted from employees for their retirement age.

The government controls everything …… from the appointment of the CEO of UEM …. to the appointment of Azlan Zainol as head honcho of the EPF.

So why portray as though these negotiations were arm’s length negotiations and that everything was done above board?

And what’s to shout about the new terms for the toll rates that have been revised somewhat downwards?

Isn’t this effectively a pacifying exercise for the Rakyat who have complained long and hard about the exorbitant rates charged on the various highways in Malaysia?

And now they are using the Rakyat’s money to acquire the concessionaire, the other half being UMNO owned UEM.

They are trying to tell the Rakyat that the profits from the tolled highways will accrue to the Rakyat …… at least half of it!

But these profits will only be in the form of dividends and are paid after all ‘expenses’ have been deducted from the concession company.

How are we to know that ‘expenses’ incurred by the concessionaire involve billings from the ‘UMNO’ companies. Isn’t EPF effectively being left with the crumbs?

Of course we are justified to be sceptical!

Look at the funds that were supposed to be for investment in the ‘Cattle’ industry that can be diverted into the ‘Condominium’ industry!

And they will always to linked to some political celebrity of the UMNO led Barisan Nasional government!

It is better to explain everything in a transparent manner as how ‘profits’ will really accrue to the Rakyat …… instead of doing a grandstand ‘show case’ of ALL parties being so happy with a deal that is essentially using the Rakyat’s money to solve problems created by the UMNO led government!!

Failure to do so will only lead to added speculation and discontentment as to how important matters are being handled by these ‘Little Napoleons’ created by the government!

It’s about time individuals of not only integrity but quality are appointed at these important institutions in order to realize this economic transformation that is being relentlessly sold to the Rakyat.

The problem now is that these agencies and GLCs are being perceived as to be treated as personal fiefdoms of these ‘Little Napoleons’ …… rightly or wrongly.

It is about time more accountability and checks & balances be incorporated into these entities so that doubts do not arise as to how things are implemented or enforced!

Appointing pliant individuals for the top jobs …. with the hope of ensuring the ‘right’ decision gets the nod ….. the government unerringly causes a rot in the quality of the work that are being done by these companies/agencies.

This is because people of quality will invariably leave and will be replaced by other pliant individuals who somehow have a close correlation to being less than effective!

This is unfortunately clear for all to see in the case of Malaysia.

Clearing the slate of these groups of people will take time …… hence the earlier we do it, the better for all!


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