Friday, August 14, 2015

Zahid told to get off slippery floor of nepotism

August 14, 2015
The Home Minister should have advised his brother not to depend on his ministry for contracts, says analyst.
KUALA LUMPUR: It seems that some things never change, noted a political analyst in his latest blog posting. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been Deputy Prime Minister for less than a month but already there’s news linking his name with elements of cronyism and nepotism, practices that he was against not so long ago.
It appears, said Shahbudin Husin, that Zahid’s brother Mohd Hakim owns Real Time Networking Sdn Bhd, a company bidding for the contract to manage the entry of 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh. “He wants a package deal at RM3.000 per worker to bring in Bangladeshis through the Immigration Department and various agencies including the Human Resources Department.”
The analyst points out that the sibling culture or the culture of family members running businesses when one relative becomes a Minister isn’t new in the country. “It has been going on for a long time. Except for a small number which can be reckoned on the fingers of one hand, it’s always the family members of a Minister who get the priority when contracts are given out by a Ministry.”
“Outsiders can only hope to get the crumbs, just the plain curry with nothing substantial. The practice takes place in some cases because the Minister himself condones it or may even be the recipient party that initiated it.”
He recalled that Mahathir Mohamad was so upset over the practice that when he was Prime Minister he had a long list published of those who secured government contracts or privatization contracts through nepotism. In Zahid’s case, if he himself took the initiative or expressed no objections to his family members doing business with his Ministry, it’s a clear-cut example of nepotism at work. “There are moral issues here.”
The analyst stressed that Zahid should not have allowed the issue of his brother to arise. “Why indulge in matters which will see one slipping on the wet floor when people are looking at him as the future Prime Minister.”
“If Hakim initiated the move with his brother’s Ministry, Home Affairs, he was wrong and likewise if Zahid initiated the moves. Those who are genuinely interested in business could find opportunities elsewhere and not at a Ministry where a family member works. If genuine, businessmen would not seek to exploit a family at a Ministry.”
There are 37 Cabinet Ministers and dozens of Deputy Ministers, many agencies including those at the GLCs, which could all provide business opportunities. “Why look for one’s own brother to sign away a contract?”
“Hakim’s statement justifying his bid for a contract being given out by his brother’s Ministry should be backed up by proof that he’s capable of winning contracts elsewhere where his brother is not involved. His theory that he’s free to do any business anywhere, except sell drugs, is just an excuse to profit from a contract given out by his brother.”
Zahid, on his part, was wrong in not advising his brother that it would only be bad for him if it became public knowledge that siblings were getting contracts from his Ministry. “Helping siblings get contracts when one becomes a Minister is not like an elder brother giving sweets to his younger brother when they were little kids.”
“Zahid giving out a contract to his brother from his Ministry would only confirm that his sibling is not a genuine businessman from merely profiting from a public position held by a family member.”
What’s even worse is that if it became known the company was just set up to secure the contract, said the analyst. “This type of business means that each time the Minister changes portfolios, the siblings would have to follow him to continue to be in business. When the Minister is pensioned off, the siblings too have to be pensioned off from doing business.”

~ Free Malaysia Today

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