Thursday, March 26, 2009

Valuecap redux

If we were to use Valuecap as an indicia of transparency or opacity of any Malaysian body, public, quasi-public or, even, private body, the sad finding would be that in Malaysia, there is a clear prediliction towards being opaque.

It would seem that Malaysians are very averse towards transparency. One suspects that such aversion is not due to innate modesty. The feeling is that such aversion belies a less savoury purpose.

Malaysian public bodies and semi-public bodies appear to have a serious problem with coming to terms with any mistakes they or, their officers, make. The instinctive reaction to any allegation of mistake, mistep or any error, is to draw the blinds, pull down the shutters, slam the door shut, shroud the matter ... well, you get the picture or, not.

It is, therefore, with regret and, unfortunately no surprise, that I read the travails of the attempts by journalist Eric Ellis, who writes in the Asian Sentinel about his thwarted efforts to obtain more information on Valuecap. His piece is entitled, The Malaysian Mystery of Valuecap.

Valuecap's opacity, despite it's being a quasi-public entity, a GLC if you will, is troubling.

Should a GLC behave like a sendirian berhad? The stakeholders of a GLC includes the general Malaysian public. The nexus is even more direct in Valuecap's case since it involves EPF funds.

As I posited at the beginning of this post; if Valuecap is the indicator of whether Malaysian public or semi-public bodies have begun to imbibe the values (pun intended) of transparency and accountability, then, there is clearly a hell of a lot of work that still needs to be done.

The question posed by an irate spouse to her worse half when staring at their gutted home is apposite on the issue of transparency and accountability; "Where does renovation end and, demolition and completely new construction begin?"

Keeping with the building analogy; transparency and accountability is all about full-glass see-through wall panels. from here.

It's not about closed doors and shuttered windows. from here.

It certainly is not about peep-holes. from here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this Valuecap fiasco is another unfulfilled/would-have-been "open & transparent" legacy of AAB&Co. (another one is obviously the ECM-Libra case of the SIL)... and now that the SIL is poised to be on the fast track to become the youngest PM ever, we can expect more Valuecaps & ECM-Libras in the making to lubricate the motion? Maybe its about time to get my EPF money out?