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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bar Council Played Right Into UMNO’s Hands


Sometimes we think we are doing good, but turns out we are making the problem worse.And here is the rest of it


Just as I expected, the Bar Council latest forum on conversion being played by UMNO to the maximum. For example, Khir Toyo in his latest posting “Jong Pecah, Yu Kenyang?immediately signal to the Malays that their sovereignity and supremacy is being challenged openly by the “aliens”. Khir Toyo also pointed the Malays to the “fact” that Islam is being trampled in the open by Non Muslims. All are direct effect of UMNO’s loss in the 2008 General Elections. In short, UMNO’s recent loss has resulted in the loss of Islam and Malay Supremacy.

Never mind the lunacy of the argument (as explained by my article “Khir Toyo Menangguk Di Air Keruh”), the fact that this argument is used by UMNO as a whole is a point that needs to be addressed.

Please remember that it’s not Khir Toyo that we should be worried about. It’s not one blog posting by Khir Toyo that will carry the maximum effect. It’s the fact that UMNO is a grassroot and mass parties. As such their organization extends all the way to the lowest level of the Malay community. To put it simply, wherever there’s Malays, there is UMNO.

And at every election, the UMNO doctrine is that “Elections are Fought at the UPU (Unit Peti Undi) level. It’s the smallest unit in the Malaysian Electoral structure. It starts with Parliament and State Assembly. . In each Parliamentary seat we will find more than one DUN seats. Each DUN will then be divided into Daerah Mengundi or “UPU” and in each UPU we have a number of saluran or the actual number of “ballot boxes”. When u go to vote, u will vote and put your vote in one of the ballot boxes. Each ballot boxes is tied all the way up to a DUN or Parliament seat. Whomever wins the most seats will control Parliament or DUN.


So, UMNO’s entire election mechanization is tailored so much so they are able to fight the election at the UPU level. That includes their preparation, resource management, database preparation and last but not least list of issues they play. And such machinery still exists up to now, although a bit wounded and divided.

To makes things worse, they also control the country’s media, the country’s Police force, the Army, the SPR and not to mention the entire government machinery be it States they control or the Federal government.

Also, UMNO machinery are well trained. For example, their PACA are trained at least 2 years before General Elections. When close to General Elections, their traning will become more intensive. Their election workers are of course well trained, competent in the roles assigned to each member of the team, efficient division of labor, moderate workload for each worker, highly specialized in the area each member assigned to.

It explains why many a times UMNO leaders will make stupid statements in the media they control. To educated people like u and me, we get put off by such statement, but to the uneducated and uninformed mass, the issues raised by UMNO leaders makes perfect sense. In short, they will tailor all their messages to enable each and every one of their unit at the grassroot level to be able to spread the message of UMNO.

Being that Malays are devoid of a free media and have been subjected to 50 years of brainwashing and mind control, the massive UMNO machinery cuts through any form of resistance like a hot knife through butter.

Now that I’ve given a picture of how things are on the ground, I’d like to explain why the Bar Council forum troubles me. To the Malay mass, they do not see the other side of the argument at all. They do not see there exists certain legitimate issues between Shariah and Civil laws that require addressing by both side of the divide. They do not see that the people who have these grouses may have a case.

In short, most Malays have no background in matters related to Jurisprudence or handling of the legal system. All they see is that Islam and Malays are being attacked and disrespected openly by those who do not profess the Islamic religion. It is tantamount to a declaration of war against Islam.

With UMNO’s massive machinery, such message is easily disseminated by UMNO down to the lowest level of the Malay community. They can easily mass public support from the Malay community and get the Malays to be behind them.

And for Pakatan Rakyat Malay section, it is hard to defend the Bar Council’s move because of the complexity of the issue and the inability of the Malay mass to grasp complex legal issue.

That is why such open forum will only worsen the problem and not reach any objective that is beneficial to anyone. In short, it’s a waste of time. The only beneficiary of such move is UMNO.

I also wonder why the Bar Council didn’t invite the lawyer of Siti Fatimah Tan or someone from the Shariah Court of Penang to be a panel in the forum? Isn’t the Penang Shariah court decision constitute a viable solution for the real problem on the ground?

Please also remember that in 2008, UMNO won the Malay votes except in Kelantan and certain Malay urban seats. Right now, they don’t have to do much. They only need to maintain their Malay ground coming into the 20112 General Elections. Issues like this makes their job much easier. In fact, I feel that the Bar Council should apply to be a branch of UMNO. Why not? They’re helping them to win aren’t they?

If one recalls, Syed Hamid Albar was the first to jump at the opportunity to condemn and sensationalize the forum. UMNO people wont do anything unless they will reap the entire benefit.

In case anyone still have doubt about my explanation and thinks I am making things up, then why don't u ask Tengku Razaleigh. Ask him how he lost the 1990 elections just because of a headgear he wore a few days before elections.

Ku Li did explained about the incident. He said that when he board on the plane to Kota Kinabalu he was wearing a "songkok". When he arrived in Kota Kinabalu, his "songkok" was replaced by a Bajau Headgear which has a picture of Tapioca Leaves (Pucuk Ubi Kayu) on it. From a certain distance, it looks like a Christian Cross. When it is in fact a Bajau Headgear and the Bajaus in Sabah are all Muslims. Apparently, it is a local custom to wear a dignitary with a head gear.

Soon after, the picture of Tengku Razaleigh wearing a "Tengkolok Salib" as they call it, is splashed all over the newspaper and media. And the rest is history. BN retained their 2/3 majority and it was estimated only 30% of the Malays went for Gagasan Rakyat and Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah, though Kelantan was lost by BN.

You see, u must never think that everybody is the same. Sometimes the most stupid of all issues is the issue that decides who wins and who loses in an election.

PR is lucky that PAS and PKR leaders were involved in the demonstration. PAS came out with a strong statement rejecting the forum and PKR MP’s were seen leading the demonstration. If there was absence of PAS and PKR in this issue, I can guarantee Pakatan Rakyat can say goodbye to Malay votes come next election.

This is a sensitive issue and as such it must be handled with utmost proper and care. I always believed that such problem can be solved. What is needed is both parties will have to meet and weed out the problem behind close doors.

Once an amicable solution is achieved, then an inter-party declaration can be made and as such it is not only binding but it will resolve any standing issues minus the unnecessary tension thus cutting UMNO in the knees.

I am saying this because i believe that there is a real problem out there with regards to this issue. But, the problem cannot be solved if it means Muslims must let go of their Shariah. This, I suspect, is the real motive of the Bar Council for pushing the entire issue in the way they did.

In truth, most of the problems faced with regards to this issue is a direct result of UMNO’s gross inefficiency and incompetence. It’s UMNO’s fault that the problems are unresolved. The right approach is to get rid of UMNO. Not reward them with an issue that will help UMNO to regain 2/3 in Parliament.

That makes more sense, doesn’t it?

Anyone is free to comment anyway they like, but at the end of the day, the winners are determined by the number of votes you get, no matter how rightous you are. You must've read countless commentaries with regards to this issue, but i'll bet this is the only account from the prespective of political mechanization.

Tulang Besi


32 comments:

Nurfirdaus said...

Sdra TulabgBesi,

I like your arguments and the way you see things in today's political absurdities in our beloved country.

How do we tell the Malays that Allah wants us Islam first? Understand and steadfast to Islam then all racial and other issues can amicably be resolved.

You and me were born as a Malay, my next door neighbor as an Indian, and my colleague at work as a Chinese, do we have any say in becoming these different races? Nope, nothing whatsoever! If so, then how come one (especial these race-based politicians) only tries to champion the cause of only one's own race (as in UMNO or MCA or MIC), while in deed, Allah says clearly that He creates mankind into different races and of different tribes so that they may know each other (for goodness). And the best among you is the one who is most pious.

TulangBEsi, I believe that we need more writings in your style of the language. Unlike, some writings by our prolific writers which are very scholarly, yours is very straight forward and easy to understand.

May Allah SWT gives you, me and all of us strength and courage to uphold what is right and forbid what is bad.

Anonymous said...

U have not answer my previous question of WHEN is the correct time for an inter-faith dialogue!

U keep talking about Malay Malaysian's sensitivities about Islam & the veiled intention of ketuanan. What about other Malausians' sensitivities about their religions & rights under the constitutions?

Can U truly understand the PAINS of those who faced those religious sensitivities when their love ones were being 'body-snatched'

As it stands, there is already some bloggers trying subtly to involve the royalty to 'upgrade' the current political temperature.

Their intention is obvious - trying to sabotage the coming PP election, as U feared!

No matter what - Malay maturity is at stage. Maturity in facing all things - politically, religiously, ethically & ethnically.

WHEN? I say NOW!

Stop hiding behind your self-imposed cocoon.

If U don't willingly facing up to THOSE challenges then U r forever the slave to those challenges.

Then U r relevant only to the side note of history - just like WHAT most of U fear deep down - the relevancy of the Malay Malysian!

teohjitkhiam said...

I can agree with you on this one, Tulang Besi. Here's my impression of the demonstration at the Bar Council...

Fiasco At Bar Council

...it was clear to me, and those observant enough, to note it was nothing short of a set-up by UMNO

Anonymous said...

A Very enlightening thoughts. Fortunately, you seems to be right. Just look at the PKR Zul, that is exactly one of the malay masses that we are talking about. They just jump up and join the stampede. If he is a thinking/smart malay like you he would have thought about the consequences of damaging PKR's reputation in particular and the good side of interfaith forums. So this Zul. join the herd and falls into UMNO's hands.

It is an uphill task to repair the 50 years of brainwashing by UMNO. It is like coming out from Mulu Caves suddenly you have sophisticated and technological advance informations that you do not trust. Rehabilitations will take some time. With scare tactics like Islam will be humiliated etc etc. the Malays will still be grip by all the fears that were created for them to toe the line.

That too applies to the Chinese and the Indians. They created the fear that the Malays will use the Keris against them. Fortunately, a big majority of the non malays come to their senses.

The classic example is Zimbabwe where physical violence is being used to perpetrate power and bully the masses. International mediators have to step in to help the masses.

Anonymous said...

Clearly is a set up and right to this day, we have the non-Muslims asking for PKR stand on this, DSAI stand on that or they say, it was wrong of them to support pakatan.

What kind of thinking is that? Are they saying support UMNO and BeeEnd is better?

They are the major cause of this problem in the first place!

The Baer Council is not helping matters either by having this now.

To the commentor who asked when we should discuss this, the time to discuss this is when Pakatan Rakyat takes over the Federeal Govt and are in control of the situation 100%, thats when!!!!

Anonymous said...

ur writing about this matter much more clear then other's.hope to see people like u to lead the next generation of malays in this country with other race leaders archiving unity just like those days when Tunku and P.Ramle was alive.
Hats off to u Tulang Besi.

Anonymous said...

Sdr Tulang Besi

Well said. Bar Council succesfully showed the people that they are idiots too by dancing to UMNO tunes ans I do beleive hey wont face any issues when they finally decided to be the latest BAHAGIAN UMNO.

Anonymous said...

It is clear to all of us that UMNO is the major culprit and the cause of all our troubles over the past 50 years, and with BN suffered major reverses on 8 Mar. But UMNO is also a wounded --and more specifically evil ---monster that is about to meet its end in self implosion and using all the dirty, dirty, yes, extremely dirty tactics to bring all and sundry down with it. UMNO only thrives on exploiting primordial issues of race and religion - the stuff wars are made of if exploited. Being bankrupt of ideas, UMNO is now exploiting these 2 primordial issues - race and religion - to the hilt - bring this country down to hell - together with it. It is imperative of Anwar Ibrahim and moderate Malay elements in Keadilan and PAS to stop them..but this is extremely difficult. We must all continue to support Anwar and moderate Malays to eventually let the wounded tiger self implode and die, but beware of its dangerous instinct to kill everyone - friend and foe - in its path. THE WHOLE COUNTRY WILL REJOICE IN A NEW BEGINNING AND ERA FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY ONCE WE GET RID OF THIS HATED, EVIL AND VINDICTIVE MONSTER CALLED UMNO!

Anonymous said...

Kalau PKR & PAS tak buat macam tuh, for sure next election + Permatang Pauh is UMNO's. Everybody must remember, the masses kampong malay and simple minded see it differently. If you want to win the elction must do accordingly, just like in Perak, where the PKR & PAS has done brilliantly. Kata pepatah melayu, ibarat tarik rambut dalam tepung, rambut tak putus, tepung tak tumpah. Or else our dream of 2 party system will be forever gone (and to be frank, I dont want PR to be too strong either as we must need check and balance as absolute power corupts, these are human, not god)

Rambo Ramsey

Anonymous said...

We the Rakyat, should promote awareness of what Good Leadership & Good Governance is all about.


Below are The Seven Basic Principles of Public Life .... and the Benchmark for Good Governance.


PLEASE Pass these freely to those among us who care for the future of our beloved Country, MALAYSIA.


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These are:

Selflessness

Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.

Integrity

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.



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What is good governance?

The debate on the quality of governance has been clouded by a slew of slightly differing definitions and understanding of what is actually meant by the term. Typically, it is defined in terms of the mechanisms thought to be needed to promote it. For example, in various places, good governance has been associated with democracy and good civil rights, with transparency, with the rule of law, and with efficient public services.


Good governance

It is among other things participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective and equitable. And it promotes the rule of law. UNDP

It “… encompasses the role of public authorities in establishing the environment in which economic operators function and in determining the distribution of benefits as well as the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. OECD (www.oecd.org/dac/)

It is “… epitomized by predictable, open and enlightened policy making; a bureaucracy imbued with a professional ethos; an executive arm of government accountable for its actions; and a strong civil society participating in public affairs; and all behaving under the rule of law. World Bank 1994: Governance: The World Bank’s Experience.

Mechanisms for assuring good governance have three key elements: Internal rules and restraints (for example, internal accounting and auditing systems, independence of the judiciary and the central bank, civil service and budgeting rules); Voice and partnership (for example, public-private deliberation councils, and service delivery surveys to solicit client feedback); and Competition (for example, competitive social service delivery, private participation in infrastructure, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and outright privatization of certain market-driven activities). WDR 1997.

In other cases, the definition of good governance goes further than mechanisms and proposes that good governance be equated with specific outcomes – in a Rawlsian sense of assuring that everyone, irrespective of social or economic status, has a voice in governing and receives just, fair, equitable treatment. For example, the UNDP notes that: Good governance is, among other things, participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective and equitable. And it promotes the rule of law. Good governance ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of development resources.”[1]

In general, this initiative will take as a starting point the five dimensions of good governance that was developed in the World Bank’s Corruption study for Europe and Central Asia and contained in the Bank’s most recent update of its public sector strategy: public sector management, competitive private sector, structure of government, civil society participation and voice, and political accountability.[2] This definition goes well beyond effective delivery of public services (even if that is a benchmark indicator of the quality of governance, a lightning rod for public sentiments about government, and a useful starting point for assessing the quality of governance). And it can also go well beyond the notion of “economic governance” which is typically the focus of most World Bank work on governance.

Of these dimensions, the most problematic for this work are those of civil society voice and participation and political accountability. However, the consensus of the team is that neither better public sector management nor a competitive private sector can be reliably and sustainably achieved without voice and accountability, especially in MNA countries which typically score low on measures of these indices.





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Civil Society Essential Benchmarks for WSIS


The essential benchmarks listed in this document reflect work in progress by the civil society content and themes group of the WSIS process. While there is consensus on the priorities stated here this document does not represent absolute consensus, nor does the order of the essential benchmarks constitute a strict ranking in order of importance. For more information on the WSIS CS CT group, contact: Sally Burch, Email : sburch@alainet.org



1. Introduction


The approach to the "Information Society" on which the WSIS has been based reflects, to a large extent, a narrow understanding in which ICTs means telecommunications and the Internet. This approach has marginalised key issues relating to the development potential inherent in the combination of knowledge and technology and thus conflicts with the broader development mandate given in UNGA Resolution 56/183.


Civil society is committed to a people-centred, inclusive approach based on respect for human rights principles and development priorities. We believe these principles and priorities should be embedded throughout the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Action Plan. This paper sets out the benchmarks against which civil society will assess the outcomes of the WSIS process and the commitment of all stakeholders to achieving its mandate.


2. Human rights


The WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action, should take as their foundations the international human rights framework. This implies the full integration, concrete application and enforcement of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including labour rights, the right to development, as well as the principle of non-discrimination. The universality, indivisibility, interrelatedness and interdependence of all human rights should be clearly recognized, together with their centrality to democracy and the rule of law.


All Principles of the Declaration and all activities in the Action Plan, should be in full compliance with international human rights standards, which should prevail over national legislative frameworks. The "information society" must not result in any discrimination or deprivation of human rights resulting from the acts or omissions of governments or of non-state actors under their jurisdictions. Any restriction on the use of ICTs must pursue a legitimate aim under international law, be prescribed by law, be strictly proportionate to such an aim, and be necessary in a democratic society.


Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is of fundamental and specific importance to the information society, requiring that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


3. Poverty reduction and the Right to Development


Given the unequal distribution of wealth among and within nations, the struggle against poverty should be the top priority on the agenda of the World Summit on the Information Society. It is not possible to achieve sustainable development by embracing new communication technologies without challenging existing inequalities.


Civil society organisations from different parts of the world unite in their call to governments to take this matter very seriously. We want to emphasise that challenging poverty requires more than setting of 'development agendas'. It requires the commitment of significant financial and other resources, linked with social and digital solidarity, channeled through existing and new financing mechanisms that are managed transparently and inclusively of all sectors of society.


4. Sustainable development


An equitable Information Society must be shaped by the needs of people and communities and based on sustainable economic, social development and democratic principles, including the Millennium Development Goals.


Only development that embraces the principles of social justice and gender equality can be said to centrally address fundamental social, cultural and economic divides. Market-based development solutions often fail to address more deep-rooted and persistent inequalities in and between countries of the North and South.


Democratic and sustainable development of in the information society can therefore not be left solely to market forces and the propagation of technology. In order to balance commercial objectives with legitimate social interests, recognition should be given to the need for responsibility of the public sector, appropriate regulation and development of public services, and the principle of equitable and affordable access to services.


People and communities must be empowered to develop their own solutions within the information society, in particular to fight poverty and to participate in development through fully democratic processes that allow community access to and participation in decision-making.


5. Social Justice


5.1 Gender Equality


An equitable and inclusive Information Society must be based on gender justice and be particularly guided by the interpretation of principles of gender equality, non-discrimination and women's empowerment as contained in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the CEDAW Convention. The Action Plan must demonstrate a strong commitment to an intersectional approach to redressing discrimination resulting from unequal power relations at all levels of society. To empower girls and women throughout their life cycle, as shapers and leaders of society, gender responsive educational programs and appropriate learning environments need to be promoted. Gender analysis and the development of both quantitative and qualitative indicators in measuring gender equality through an extensive and integrated national system of monitoring and evaluation are "musts".


5.2 Disability


Specific needs and requirements of all stakeholders, including those with disabilities, must be considered in ICT development. Accessibility and inclusiveness of ICTs is best done at an early stage of design, development and production, so that the Information Society is to become the society for all, at minimum cost.


5.3 Labour rights


Essential human rights, such as privacy, freedom of expression, and the right of trade unions to communicate with employees, should be respected in the workplace. ICTs are progressively changing our way of working and the creation of a secure, safe and healthy working environment , appropriate to the utilisation of ICTs, respecting core labour standards, is fundamental. ICTs should be used to promote awareness of, respect for and enforcement of universal human rights standards and core labor standards.


5.4 Indigenous Peoples


The evolution of the Information Society must be founded on the respect and promotion of the recognition of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and their distinctiveness as outlined in the ILO Convention 169 and the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They have fundamental rights to protect, preserve and strengthen their own identity and cultural diversity. ICT's should be used to support and promote the rights and means of Indigenous Peoples to benefit fully and with priority from their cultural, intellectual and so-called natural resources.


6. Literacy, Education and Research


Literacy and free universal access to education is a key principle. All initiatives must embrace this principle and respond to needs of all. Knowledge societies require an informed and educated citizenry. Capacity building needs to include skills to use ICTs, media and information literacy, and the skills needed for active citizenship including the ability to find, appraise, use and create information and technology. Approaches that are local, horizontal, gender-responsive and socially-driven and mediated should be prioritised. A combination of traditional and new media as well as open access to knowledge and information should be encouraged.


7. Cultural and linguistic diversity


Communications media and information technologies have a particularly important role to play in sustaining and developing the world's cultures and languages. The implementation of this principle requires support for a plurality of means of information and communication and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity, as outlined in UNESCO's Declaration on Cultural Diversity.


8. Access and Infrastructure


Global universal access to communication and information should be a target of the WSIS action plan and the expansion of the global information infrastructure should be based on principles of equality and partnership and guided by rules of fair competition and regulation at both national and international levels. The integration of access, infrastructure and training of the citizenry and the generation of local content, in a framework of social networks and clear public or private policies, is a key basis for the development of egalitarian and inclusive information societies. The evolution of policy should be coordinated internationally but enable a diversity of appropriate solutions based on national and regional input and international sharing of information and resources. This should be people-centered and process-orientated, rather than technologically determined and expert dominated.


9. Governance and enabling environment


9.1 Democratic governance

Good governance in a democratic society implies openness, transparency, accountability, and compliance with the rule of law. Respect for these principles is needed to enforce the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs. Public access to information produced or maintained by governments should be enforced, ensuring that the information is timely, complete and accessible in a format and language the public can understand. This also applies to access to information produced or maintained by corporations where this relates to activities affecting the public interest.


Media

While allowing for government information services to communicate their message, state-controlled media at the national level should be transformed into editorially independent public service media organisations and/or privatised. Efforts which encourage pluralism and diversity of media ownership must be encouraged to avoid excessive media concentration


9.3 Community media

Community media, that is media which are independent, community-driven and civil-society based, have a specific and crucial role to play in enabling access and participation for all to the information society, especially the poorest and most marginalised communities. Community media should be supported and promoted. Governments should assure that legal frameworks for community media are non-discriminatory and provide for equitable allocation of frequencies through transparent and accountable mechanisms.


9.4 Internet governance

The global governance of ICT must be based on the values of open participation, inclusiveness, transparency, and democratic accountability. It should establish and support universal participation in addressing new international policy and technical issues raised by the Internet and ICT. No single body and no single stakeholder group is able to manage all of the issues alone. Many stakeholders, cooperating in strict accordance with widely supported rules and procedures, must define the global agenda.


The non-government sector has played a historically critical role in Internet Governance, and this must be recognized. The strength of the Internet as an open non-Government platform should be reinforced, with an explicit and stronger role for Civil Society. The role of Governments should be no greater than that of any other stakeholder group.


10. Public Domain of Global Knowledge


10.1 Limited intellectual monopolies


Human knowledge, including the knowledge of all peoples and communities, also those who are remote and excluded, is the heritage of all humankind and the reservoir from which new knowledge is created. A rich public domain is essential to inclusive information societies. Limited intellectual monopolies, such as copyrights or patents, are granted only for the benefit of society, most notably to encourage creativity and innovation. The benchmark against which they must be reviewed and adjusted regularly is how well they fulfill their purpose.


10.2 Free Software


Software is the cultural technique of the digital age and access to it determines who may participate in a digital world. Free Software with its freedoms of use for any purpose, studying, modification and redistribution is an essential building block for an empowering, sustainable and inclusive information society. No software model should be forbidden or negatively regulated, but Free Software should be promoted for its unique social, educational, scientific, political and economic benefits and opportunities.


10.3 Access to information in the public domain


Today, more than 80% of mankind has no access to the reservoir of human knowledge that is the public domain and from which our new knowledge is created. Their intellectual power remains uninitialized and consequently unused, lost to all humankind. The reservoir of human knowledge must be made equally available to all in online and offline media by means of Free Documentation, public libraries and other initiatives to disseminate information.


10.4 Open access to scientific information


Free scientific information is a requirement for sustainable development. Science is the source of the technological development that empowers the Information Society, including the World Wide Web. In the best tradition of science, scientific authors donate their work to humankind and therefore, it must be equally available to all, on the Web, in online Open Access journals and online Open Archives.



11. Security and privacy


11.1 Integrity and security


Definitions of criminal and terrorist purposes in existing and emerging policies and legislation are ambiguous and prevent the use of information resources for legitimate purposes. The legitimate need for infrastructure integrity must avoid shift to the highly politicized agenda characterized by language referring to the integrity of the military field and the use of information resources for criminal and terrorist purposes.


11.2 Right to privacy


The right to privacy should be affirmed in the context of the information society. It must be defended in public spaces, online, offline, at home and in the workplace. Every person must have the right to decide freely whether and in what manner he or she wants to receive information and communicate with others. The possibility of communicating anonymously must be ensured for everyone. The collection, retention, use and disclosure of personal data, no matter by whom, should remain under the control of the individual concerned. The power of the private sector and governments over personal data, including monitoring and surveillance, increases the risk of abuse, and must be kept to a minimum under clearly specified, legal conditions.



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Regional IIAS Conference on Transparency for Good Governance
17 July 2006
Monterrey, Mexico
Speech by Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD


It gives me great pleasure to take part in this important Conference and in this connection I am grateful to the International Institute of Administrative Sciences, the National Institute of Public Administration and the Government of the State of Nuevo León for having been kind enough to invite me.


The subject that has brought us together is, moreover, fascinating. We are faced with the major challenge of our generation in all its dimensions: good governance in order to find solutions to common challenges. Governance in the context of the nation state but also governance in the international arena.


The link between governance and transparency appears to be faithfully reflected in the objectives of this conference given that transparency is a prerequisite for bolstering governmental efficiency, enhancing the design of public policies and promoting trust in governments. To the extent that democratic governments favour transparency, there is a concomitant free flow of information not only about government policies but their implementation and rationale. This is a beneficial dynamic that flows in two directions. Governments are obliged to inform but they are also under obligation to listen and use the information that is generated in different sectors in order to evaluate their own performance and the success or failure of their policies. In the last resort, what matters is accountability regarding what should in theory be the core functions of government: in other words, the goal is to facilitate optimal economic and social performance to benefit the governed.


In addition, transparency favours the adoption of public policies that are far more credible and effective. In submitting them to an open and pluralist evaluation process, with trustworthy performance indicators, these policies become richer and can have a greater impact or be reformulated in accordance with their results. The design of efficient policies is a subject that is particularly interesting for the OECD given that our main function is to support our member countries as they seek to identify best practices with regard to public policies. As a result, the OECD has come to be identified as “the home of best practices”. Our task is based precisely on the
exchange of information and experience among policymakers in various sectors, based on comparable indicators that are internationally trusted.


Transparency is also a mechanism that ensures general trust in the government. This is especially important at a time when all over the world this trust would appear to be at a low ebb even in cases in which there is a concern to have “open governments” in place. It is therefore of paramount importance to redouble our efforts in order to demonstrate that what the government does is important and that it does it in the best manner. The culture of transparency helps to promote this message and also contributes to strengthening the institutional development that has been identified as one of the central ingredients of economic development.


Cases of corruption in the governmental sphere go a long way to explaining the fall in
confidence on the part of citizens. It is precisely for this reason that transparency is a fundamental tool in avoiding the emergence of such incidents. As Benjamin Franklin remarked, transparency is “the most effective corruption deterrent”. A lack of transparency merely fuels inappropriate conduct, especially when it goes hand-in-hand with an indiscriminate use of power. Greater transparency, as reflected in greater information about public expenditure, administrative simplification or public employment provides a long-term strategy that can help to fend off corruption by weakening its roots.


The foregoing considerations have highlighted the factors that account for why we need greater transparency in the exercise of governance. Now I would like to set about discussing the ways that have been selected by the OECD countries to strengthen this transparency, underlining the fact that there is more than one way to achieve this goal. Building a culture of transparency is the result of a long learning curve. Successful transparency policies require a combination of legal frameworks, effective mechanisms for implementation and control, and a supportive environment
in both the private and the public sector as well as in society at large.


Transparency also has different historical phases given that it is a continuous process. While it is the case that in Sweden legislation about access to information was adopted two centuries ago, most OECD members have only gained access over the last 15 years. As of now, 29 OECD countries are equipped with this legal framework. At the same time, a number of independent institutions have also sprung up, such as the higher Audit Authorities or Ombudsmen. At present, 27 countries of the OECD can point to the existence of watchdog agencies of this type which principally seek to guarantee access to information.


A particularly important factor in the promotion of transparency is ensuring the
participation of some important stakeholders. Among these, the parliament/congress are guarantors of the efficient functioning of transparency mechanisms. By the same token, the media plays a vital role. In a system of checks and balances, the media, through investigative journalism, can play a crucial part in publicizing both good practices and malfeasance.


Finally, technological advances have led to the creation of more effective bridges to help establish contact with citizens. Countries are exploring how best they can harness the benefits of information technology so as to live up to the expectations of a technological society. In fact, these technologies maximize potential for transparency and innovation. The application of the ICTs has generated important cultural change, particularly in sensitive areas such as tax administration,
public works concessions and governmental procurement.

These are ostensibly abstract issues; however, in order to achieve efficient and consistent performance, great political leadership is required. Leaders who have pursued its implementation know that by investing in transparency they are guaranteed valuable input and crucial new ideas in the public policy sphere when making decisions and building up public trust, increasing the quality
of democracy and bolstering civic capacity.


In any case, the path for changing the culture of transparency is long and ever-changing. And maintaining the culture of transparency is a permanent challenge for all countries. It calls for continuous investment of scarce public resources in order to ensure that public information is complete, objective, trustworthy, relevant and easy to understand. A case in point is that even though Sweden adopted free access to information two centuries ago, the government still had to launch a campaign in 2001 because “transparency is something that should be learnt by each and every one of us”.


I would now like to take a look at a number of studies and analyses which have been
carried out by the OECD with regard to good governance. We are talking here especially about the development of best practices, courses of action and principles to strengthen good governance, whether public or private. Some examples of this include:


• The OECD Best Practices for Budget Transparency. These best practices seek to
support countries in their efforts to evaluate and improve their budgetary information
systems.

• Guidelines for the management of conflicts of interest in the public sector. These
were approved in 2003 and provide the first comprehensive international benchmark
for supporting governments in their endeavours to revise and modernize their policies
for managing conflicts of interest with the participation of the private sector and civil society.

• OECD Principles on Corporate Governance. These were approved in 2004 and
include recommendations about transparency in the interest of promoting good
practices in corporate behaviour the better to rebuild and maintain public confidence
in companies and stock markets. The revised principles promote transparency and the disclosure of information as well as the adoption of controls to prevent conflicts of interest.

• Parastatal Companies. The principles are also applied to parastatals given that in
many countries these are a key sector in which political interference in day-to-day
operations should be avoided. The principles establish transparent objectives for
companies in this field which need to be carried out by accountable and transparent
governing bodies.

The OECD also promotes international dialogue on transparency, extending beyond its members countries. For example, the OECD launched an initiative to generate dialogue with the Organization of American States to develop a framework of integrity that would support the development of preventive mechanisms in the context of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

The OECD is one more ally in the promotion of transparency in the governments of
member and non-member countries. As I noted earlier, the goal is to achieve transparency so as to generate greater trust in public matters, transparency to promote better policies and, in a word, transparency to achieve governmental objectives so as to improve the living conditions of the population. This is the ultimate objective and good governance is one of the most important tools
for achieving this.

In this connection, there is an additional contribution that the culture of transparency can make to underpin effective governance. The task of exchanging and providing information about governmental decisions and public policies tends to bolster them purely by exposure to feedback from citizens. At the same time, citizens can contribute to their success by taking ownership of these policies and lending them their public support. This is particularly important in the context of
structural reform.

In many countries we have witnessed the difficulties involved in pursuing efforts to adopt the necessary reforms to ensure that economic growth rests on sound foundations. Now it is not only necessary to have serious and rigorous policy planning but also negotiation and persuasion of the various stakeholders to facilitate the approval of reform. And many times this involves challenging different vested interests of well-organized groups that are resistant to change. In this context, actions taken by citizens that are well-informed and aware of all the issues at stake can be a decisive factor. And it is the case that a government that provides information and puts the options on the table can be an invaluable source of support and thereby create a virtuous circle to facilitate the attainment of progress for our economies.

The OECD has taken a keen interest in supporting member countries in their attempts to achieve progress in structural reform. This is not only an important mandate which has been conferred upon us by the Ministers of the member countries but also a cornerstone in the agenda of public policies of our member countries. Our mission is to promote maximum economic growth and to this end the restructuring and modernization of different sectors is often necessary. Seeking the support of citizens and public opinion for structural reforms is also part of the Organization's
agenda.


Transparency and good governance thereby acquire additional importance by becoming prerequisites for making headway in addressing the challenges of economic growth. If this is significant for advanced countries in the OECD, it is especially vital for countries like Mexico, or developing countries. As a result I am delighted to share with you the results of our analysis. I hope that this will provide helpful input for discussions conducted in the course of this conference and I further hope that the experiences of the different participants will result in the development
of some proposals that will help address our common challenges.

Many thanks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joe Public said...

Interesting article. My feeling was really "Is it necessary to hold such a forum?".

First off, it is just another self-aggrandizing-self-glorifying exercise by "half-past-six" lawyers in the like of status-and- power-seeking-hypocrites like Chandra Muzaffar and not solid intellectuals and thinkers like Cyrus Das or that Special UN Rapporteur Cumurasamy.

More like a forum or gathering to appease their craving for recognition and importance.

Personally, I think if you fight for a good clean, respected, and competent Judiciary, much more will be achieved. This should be the path. But alack, not all the attendees can be judges. Or are they at the forum to make sure Abdullah Badawi and company notice them and that they will offer thme some bribes or positions?

The participants need to search in their heart their true motives. Betcha most will be found wanting.

BN and PKR should ignore these "wolf-in-sheep's skin" amateur politicians. Don't give them even 1 sen.

Antares said...

Tulang Besi, I have no idea who you are, but that's a great User ID you have there, Mr Iron Bones! I've been following your blogposts in recent months and I must say I'm very impressed with and appreciative of the insider info you have chosen to share with us. Sounds like you're an Umno member who's had enough of the sordid business going on in there. In any case, your analyses are usually spot-on and are a valuable contribution to the political ferment of our times - and what exciting times they are :-)

alhadee said...

RC,

You should answer anon 9.29am.

Assuming what you say is true, the question is when?

After Permatang Pauh election?

After next GE?

My gut feeling says PAS is not interested on any open forum at any point of time.

What they are interested is a closed forum where, instead of genuine discussion, PAS will tell them this is already fix and the other side will have to accept without questioning.

That is what you call close forum ala Taliban.

So answer the question RC. Prove I am wrong.

Jed Yoong said...

Hi Tulang Besi

=)

I disagree that the issues are "complex" and Malays, in kampungs who have been "brainwashed", won't understand it.

Malays and Malaysians are compassionate, helpful people. Malays are also known for being lembut, sopan santun usually, dunno what happened with UMNO.

The general issue, not in particular to this forum, is simple.

Main points are

1. Islam is being exploited by certain parties to "steal/monopolise" inheritance. Whether by one sibling and the father converting into ISlam, hence cutting out the non-muslims out or in more complicated situations where the father marries a muslim and the first non-muslim divorced wife's children are cut out from the inheritance. I am not sure if you are aware that there have been cases of Chinese men marrying their Muslim maids...

2. Custody -- Should a Muslim parent have custody? Again, Islam may be used to "snatch/steal/monopolise" children.

For more, pls refer to my blog.

I think these are issues that Malays and Malaysians can relate to.

The forum was not an Article 11 forum.

I also feel it's not a "matter of playing into UMNO's hands" but that UMNO will use ANYTHING to fan racial/religious hatred.

Keep up the fab blog!

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The BNBAR Philharmonic Orchestra.

Scorpion said...

This explains how UMNO managed to keep the Malays under the shell(tempurung) and manipulated sensitive issue, to their advantage.

They also managed to keep the Malays from being able to think logically and rationally, they managed to instill dependency on government in order to survive. In other words "hamba kerajaan". Sigh!

TeohZY said...

Well said! Even I, a chinese, is very surprised and annoyed by the action of the stupid Bar Council. My thought is exactly the same as yours.

cancan said...

Let us fight fire with fire.

Let us all go down to the lowest level of the society(esp. the kampung Malays)to counter the propaganda of the Umno goons with whatever means possible.

Link: http://www.kingsmary.blogspot.com/

Dialogue-for-All said...

Why can't you have the "forum" here in this blog which can be participated by everyone, and not some lawyers arogating themselves the self importance that is questionable?

Cyber space is already a forum for vurtually every subject or issue under the sun. WHy have one exclusive only to lawyers? What have they done for the public to date except prey on their vulnerabilities and personal difficulties?

People said...

To: All the Supporters of Pakatan Rakyat and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,

If you are not the voters of Permatang Pauh and you also unable to help on the campaign for this coming by-eletion, the below are certain
things that you can contribute to Pakatan Rakyat and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to win in this election.

i. Make cold call to the residents, factory or commercial office and introduce yourself as the PR supporters and explain to them the country current situation and request them to vote for DSAI to vote for the change of federal govt!

ii. SMS to any friend who are the voters for Permatang Pauh or SMS to someone you don't know but request them to Forward the SMS for any of their friend who are the voters in Permatang Pauh and request them to vote for DSAI to vote for the change of the federal govt!

Pls don't offense them if they oppose you!
Pls give them your counter arguement to convince them to vote for DSAI!

Remember, PR target in this by-election is to WIN BIG and create another political tsunami in the country!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, we need to have a check and balance between Ruling party and opposition. We must not let the ruling party have too much seat. This is like the two party system in USA. Political inter-checking between opposition and rulling party. and the winner is Rakyat. This is a second wave of "nationalism" where the first wave brought us independence in 1957 and the second wave, 50+ yrs later, perhaps Sept 16, 2008, bring us to two party system.

Viva Malaysia.

Mr. Padedoh said...

UMNOs hands very smart. Smartest people in the world because got Oxford grad. hooray

Anonymous said...

For everything there is a presentation method. I believe you have argued your case quite effectively and I’m convinced you have a point there.
Probably, you need to sit with the Bar council committee, if not at least with Ambiga to divulge all this and more details. I feel it should be done in the name of national interest.

Good work .

suresh

Tulang Besi said...

Errr Alhaid, i mean Al Hadee,

Before u comment on others, please have a look at yourself first.

I NEVER screen the comments posted here in blog.

While you, screen all comments published in your blog.

So, it's clear who is more confident with their message.

With that, I rest my case on you.

Tulang Besi said...

Dear Jed Yoong,

I never denied the existance of real problem that needs to be addressed.

But, tell me, does the open forum really achieved anything tangible towards an amicable solution to these problems.

In any case, please read my posting on the Siti Fatimah Tan issue and you will see many of these problems can be solved.

Tulang Besi said...

To answer ANON anon 9.29am, after this we will have a society that is faithful to God, with a government running with prudent fiscal policy and a federal and state budget that is always in surplus or a small deficit, where the runnings of the government is transparent and corruption is clamped upon with utmost severity, where there is freedom of expression for the people but not at the expense of destroying the fabric of the society, where draconian laws are purged and prosecution are only done on the merits of a case, not for political expediency.

Religous freedom will be respected where Muslims should be allowed to practice Shariah to it's fullest while Non Muslims are free to practice theirs without fear of presecution.

THe National Language will be strengthen to improve inter-ethnic communication and understanding.

The people are encourage to help one another, and to respect one another.


Government employees will be expected to perform to their highest standard while their welfare will be taken care of so as to reduce corruption.

Oh and secularist Muslims like AlHadee will be asked to repent and see the wrongs of their ways.

Tulang Besi said...

dear Antares,

TQ for your show of support. ANd No i've never been an UMNO member and never had I supported UMNO in any way

alhadee said...

To answer ANON anon 9.29am, after this we will have a society that is faithful to God,
==========

Oh yes, we will have a society that is faithful to God under the leadership of the incompetent liar Hadi Awang.

Suddenly there are lightning in the sky. The sky part into two. Angel start singing as God passes his judgement. The sinners fall on their knees begging for forgiveness. The Talibans rejoiced as the 72 virgins promised descents from heaven. Many already have their Tongkat Ali on standby.

Errmmm.. who would believe that RC?

alhadee said...

Oh and secularist Muslims like AlHadee will be asked to repent and see the wrongs of their ways.
========

'Will be asked to repent' is a 'soft' word to describe it isnt it RC?

Why don't you tell them the truth what will happen to those who have different opinion?

You can start by telling them how the Sunnis treat the Syiah when they were the in power.

Or the fate of those who are declared as deviants just because they don't agree.

Taliban court will make Augustine Paul look like an angel.

Malaysians,

Is this what you want?

alhadee said...

with a government running with prudent fiscal policy and a federal and state budget that is always in surplus or a small deficit, where the runnings of the government is transparent and corruption is clamped upon with utmost severity, where there is freedom of expression for the people
============

Err RC,

Last I check, that only happens in a Secular Democrat oriented government.

I think that is just one of your lies.

Just like when PAS lie when they campaign PAS For All.

Yet, the day after election runs to UMNO to talk on Muslims and Malays political cooperation.

Liar! Liar! Serban on fire!

Tulang Besi said...

Al Haid says:

'Will be asked to repent' is a 'soft' word to describe it isnt it RC?

Why don't you tell them the truth what will happen to those who have different opinion?

REPLY: This coming from a guy who screens all the comments. It seems Al Haid is showing us how he handles different opinions.

Tulang Besi said...

Alhaid says:

"Last I check, that only happens in a Secular Democrat oriented government.

I think that is just one of your lies."

REPLY: Funny, Egypt is a secular democrat country too, yet they put thousands of dissenters behind bars every year.

Not to mention 90% of secular democratic country of the world belongs in the 3rd world country list.


So much for secularism. Oh and the West becomes sucessful, it has nothing to do with secularism

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