Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Minister misled Parliament by false claim

OK, the saga of the bumi equity percentage is old news, with no one, not even UMNOmembers believing a single word of what the goevrnment had said about it. Yes, we all know it well, unfortunately so what's the point of trashing it endlessly.

I prepared the original draft 2 weeks ago but with the UMNO general assembly going feral, didn't have a chance to squeeze it in, so had abandoned it.

But today the World Bank has responded to a minister claim of its (World Bank) involvement in providing advice on the government's dodgy methodology. Therefore I have resurrected the posting with updates to illustrate a classic example of the shameless duplicity of ministerial pronouncements within the (so-called) hallowed halls of Parliament.

Let's start from where I had left off ...

The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the PM’s Department had worked out the 9MP on the basis of bumi equity at 18.9%, but was challenged by two studies, one by Asli, an independent multi-ethnic think-tank whose president is one of Dr Mahathir’s son, while the other was a Universiti Malaysia (UM) 4-year old research study by Dr Fazilah. Both studies showed that the target 30% bumi equity had long been reached.

Then Dr Awang Adek (PhD in economic), deputy minister in the Finance Ministry agreed
it was 36.6% but 6 days later, Effendi Norwawi, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department responsible for the EPU claimed that bumi equity in Bursa Malaysia was 21.8% in 2005, but with various factorisations, he brought it down to a convenient 18.9%.

Effendi Norwawi claimed the EPU’s methodology of measuring the corporate equity ownership was given the seal of approval by a number of international financial agencies.

He declared: “The methodology used is recognised by international financial bodies, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.”

In a previous posting Bumi equity - explosion of government's lies I wrote and asked, as follows:

When the press queried him [Dr Awang Adek] on the government’s methodology in the Parliament lobby later, Awang Adek again defended it, saying this had been prepared with advice from World Bank leaders and international scholars. Then why not reveal it? Was the advice related to the true outcome of that methodology, or was the 18.9% massaged?

When asked when the government would reveal its methodology as
promised, he had the f**king nerve to aver that his (unrevealing) reply in the House was ‘a way of revealing the government’s methodology’.

But Dr Lim Teck Ghee. former director of Asli has also questioned Effendi’s claim of the World Bank endorsing the methodology used by Malaysia in computing the corporate equity held by various ethnic groups.

Lim told Malaysiakini that the confusion over the different sets of figures on bumi equity indicated that the government ministries are at odds over the methodology used.

But more revealing, Dr Lim who is a former World Bank top economist and served as its senior social scientist for six years, said it was not the official practice of the bank and other international development agencies to endorse any national methodology.

“The claim of the EPU that its methodology of calculating equity ownership is ‘best practice’ is totally unfounded; as also the claim that the methodology is recognised by international financial bodies.”

He said: “If the EPU wants to make the claim of international endorsement, it should cite the full details. Otherwise, no one will believe it and its claim of so-called best practice.”

Dr Lim is too diplomatic to say “Bullsh*t!”

Does this mean that Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang can once again call for the Parliamentary Privilege Committee to investigate and discipline Effendi Norwawi for misleading Parliament. Oh, do you guys know what 'misleading' means in parliamentary language?

The following response from the World Bank with regards to Effendi Norwawi's claim has been published by Malaysiakini today:

The World Bank has denied any involvement in the Malaysian government’s decision to use par value to calculate race-based equity ownership, a subject that has been hotly debated for months.

“The methodology for computing the country’s equity ownership using par value calculation was initiated by the Malaysian government,” a World Bank spokesperson told Malaysiakini by email in response to a query.

The bank said it has to recognise the data provided by the Malaysian government, even with use of par value calculation, as these figures are deemed to be official data.

The spokesperson declined to respond to another question as to whether the par value calculation is suitable methodology in computing equity ownership.

Now, who has been the naughty boy 'misleading parliament'? In Western democracy, 'misleading parliament' demands either the resignation or the sacking of the minister as he has no place in parliament.

1 comment:

  1. i long for the day our politicians will be honourable and stand by their honour. but will it ever come?
    Y1 (sigh)

    will the new generation of voters be critical in their thinking? *pray*