Friday, May 25, 2007

Battling Corruption

Graft, like sex, is a two-way thingy. The fight against corruption in this country is made doubly difficult with the current emphasis more on nabbing the receiver and not the giver. There is also a crying need to protect whistle-blowers.

On Tuesday 22nd May 2007, former High Court judge Dato Syed Ahmad Idid gave a talk on "Addressing Corruption in Malaysia" at the University of Malaya. This man had to quit his job some years ago after his letter exposing corruption and abuse of power in the judiciary was dismissed by his superiors. (Read Rocky Bru's take on the talk, here. I couldn't make it due to a prior engagement).

I had the good fortune of making the learned ex-judge's acquaintance a couple of years ago when he was the Director of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Center of Arbitration (KLRCA)* and I was a senior council member of Institut Kelautan Malaysia (IKMAL). We were then engaged in developing and promoting maritime arbitration in this country. He had struck me as an incorruptible and principled gentleman of the old school who had to suffer in silence for many years for something that he truly believed in.

It takes balls to rat on your colleagues but I suppose a guy has gotta do what a guy has gotta do, especially when it involves the very integrity of the country's judicial system. Dato Syed Ahmad Idid (I had joked that he resembles Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders !) has been quoted by the press that he has no regrets and given the chance, he would do it all over again.

Way to go, judge.

*Above photo taken at KLRCA circa 2005, (from left) Dato Syed Ahmad Idid, yours truly,
KLRCA's Ms Yeo and current director Dato Noorashikin.


  1. Sedih nya Cap'n, people like him are FEW and FAR between.. But people like him also give us HOPE!

  2. Hi Mat,

    The sad truth is that people who knowingly vote in corrupt politicians, for example, are also equally guilty of bersubahat or whatever. So perhaps its up to us bloggers to try and zero in the rakyat's conscience..

  3. Capt. The PM does not speak about this anymore. He is busy patching many things in Bocorland. The only guy serious seems to be Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam. What happened to the former ACA chief? Come June I will launch my underneaththe carpet caper. Join me.....sweeping that is.

  4. Dear Captain Ancient Mariner Sir,

    Hah, he does really look like a Colonel Sanders. Everybody in the fraternity says so.

    Missed the talk too. Work as normal, gets in the way

  5. sir, i was directed by the man zorro to come here. I had written a piece on old sailors and he said you are one. Would love to hear your stories.

    re: colonel sanders. Back in late seventies, i was having a bite at the KFC in PJ and there was a man looking very much like him sitting in the restaurant. I was with someone who later became my husband and we were both speechless when we saw the resemblance.

  6. Elviza, kak teh can we dispense with the 'sirs' here please, makes me feel truly ancient, ha ha.

    Kak teh sorry I missed yr article since I dont read NST. But I have met a few of the Malay ex seamen Liverpudlians some years ago, forgot their names. I was then looking for my maternal uncle who disappeared during the war years.

    I believe there is also a small community in Cardiff but have never been there.

  7. capt. i have written quite alot about these pak cik sailors in my blog - i have met quite a lot of them in liverpool, cardiff and london. very interesting stories indeed.
    err, no i dont have flaming red hair...just a cover up job!

  8. Malaysia still has a long way to go in order to get rid of that Kopi money mentality.

    Now here is one for you to think?

    What if one was to give gratuity money AFTER a task was completed, without expectations from the receiving party.

    Does this constitute corruption?

  9. Bang,

    Oh how I wish you were with me today. Dato J went to Melaka last night on urgent family matters and I was left to fend for his one important guest: Yes, VVIP ex-judge Dato' Syed Ahmad Idid. He spent a few hours with us and it rankled me (except for Nuraina and Elviza who knew him) that nobody else seemed to know and acknowledge the great man. I was too busy playing host. I hope he did not feel slighted in any way, bang . . .


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