Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Towering Malaysian


A Towering Malaysian

Though I was initially going to write about the debacle at the Bar Council auditorium on Saturday, I decided against it. What more is there to say that we do not know already. It comes as no surprise that radical and extremist elements exist in our society or that political opportunists will seize every perceived advantage where it benefits them to do so, even when it is completely against reason.

What is crucial to understand is that all things said and done, the extremist is the exception and does not define the norm. One has just to look around to appreciate the truth that all our lives are the sum of a collective of varied experience in which no one person is more significant than the other. From the durian seller on Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur to the elderly Indian Muslim junk shop owner off Chulia Street in Penang, and everyone in between, we all add hue and colour to the rich tapestry that Malaysia is. That is something that can never be taken away from us.

This was however not the principal reason I chose to leave aside the events of Saturday. Early this morning, fellow Penangite and friend, Azmi Sharom, informed me that a former teacher of ours, Mr Tan Har Yong, had passed away at the age of fifty-four.

I wish I could present a glowing eulogy of the man, his life and triumphs. The sad truth is that I cannot. I cannot recollect the last time I saw him. I cannot tell you about the paths his life took him on nor the journeys he made. Periodically, friends had relayed our greetings to each other. Through this, I came to know only of his having become a pastor and that he was apparently, and somewhat mysteriously, satisfied with what he had managed to achieve with those of us he had tutored. I cannot tell you whether he was happy or fulfilled, though blogs I checked this morning suggested that he was for the fact of his having given himself over to the bigger cause of shepherding those who were guided to him.

And that he did.

Like many others, I first met Mr Tan when I was twelve. I was in Form 1 and his was the comforting presence that allayed my concerns and anxieties about being in a new school, with new people. It was his smile - ready and quick, mildly bemused – and the deadpan expression, that said it all: we were not to take ourselves too seriously but it was perfectly acceptable, natural even, to feel nervous and uncertain as everything would sort itself out.

I remember that smile principally because there was a photograph, a close up, of it. Some of us in the first and second forms had decided to present a photo-feature spoofing the school at a dinner. Apart from a slide of Azmi Sharom stripped to the waist looking like he had just been severely caned, tomato ketchup smeared across his back to emulate blood, there was this slide of Mr Tan. Under it there was a caption that read: “Why is this man smiling?” The next slide offered a wider angle, revealing three students pushing his car, faces contorted by the strain. The caption on this one read: “He saves petrol.”

Over time, we learnt of his uncompromising adherence to fairness and right over wrong. He was rigid at times but for all the correct reasons. His even temperament, compassionate nature and sometimes strange sense of humour ameliorated what few effects there were of this characteristic. He reinforced what many of us were being taught at home. To him, it did not matter that we were Chinese, Indian, Malay or of any other ethnicity. He made us see that though each of us was unique and different, we were all the same for each of us being deserving of the respect of the others.

And so, when we laughed, we laughed together. And when one of us felt pain, all of us felt it too. He made us see that we were family to each other and that even though some of us did not really get along with some of the others sometimes, there were times that we did, all of us.

I would like to think that this had a profound impact on those of us who came to consider him a friend and mentor. He touched our lives and showed us in his own inimitable way that we could achieve anything that we set our minds and hearts on. It is no coincidence that there are a string of lawyers, activists and professionals, all contributing to the shaping a better Malaysia in which race, religion or creed do not matter, whom Mr Tan nurtured as a teacher.

And as I write this, I find myself wondering whether those who decided to disrupt the proceedings on Saturday would have done things differently if they had had a Tan Har Yong in their lives. Perhaps so.

God speed, Mr Tan. You were a towering Malaysian.

(Malay Mail; 12 August 2008)

MIS

25 comments:

Ooi Hong Leong said...

Dear Malik Imtiaz,
Thank you for your kind words for the late Mr. Tan Har Yong. He was my cousin's husband. I will endeavour to get word of your tribute to his immediate family and our church.
Civil society will thrive in Malaysia if our society allows it to.

Andrew said...

Dear Malik Imtiaz,

Indeed, Pastor Tan is a towering Malaysian. I'm glad Pastor Tan touches your life as he did touches mine.

Lelouch of the Rebellion said...

Such a contrast to the racist "35-year-old history teacher from SM Telok Panglima Garang" who's been 'promoted' for her BTN-inspired behaviour.
http://us2.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/11225/84/

MarcusDS said...

Pastor Tan was like a mentor to me..i really miss him..i remember talking to him on saturday nite at eleven..and i summore said i wud c him the next week..but God had other plans..anywayz..at least he is in a better place..

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.

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malayamuda said...

Dear Malik,

From one towering Malaysian to another.

You indeed are great. We need more people like you in this world

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you Malik. In another 20years to come, though I may not be around, I'm sure there would be Malaysians who would share the same thoughts you have shared. But their thoughts would on few good gentlemen like Malik and Azmi who made the difference of being good Muslims.

Malaysia would certainly go long way if it had people like you, Azmi, Mr.Tan and many other good souls.

suresh

jlshyang said...

May God be with his family and loved ones. Mr.Tan is my childhood best friend's dad and i have known Mr.Tan since young. His passing came as a shock to me as well, he has touched many lives indeed including mine and nurtured many great personalities including yourself and Azmi Sharom. He will be greatly missed by all.

BareSheen said...

Dear Malik,

Seeing this sort of violent reactions and reading obscurantist blogs like Mahaguru58 is despairing.

Despairing simply because it confirms the ever widening gulf between the races, between believers of various religions.

It would seem Muslims in this country is forever under seiged. From what, I have no faintest idea.

Do you?

Past few days have been a sad day for me as a non-Muslim Malaysian in this country. In fact, there were countless other similar sad days.

Again and again and again, we non-Muslims are made to feel like, sorry for the language, bastards in this country.

We are expected to be mute and dumb, blind and deaf to all things Malay and Islam.

To sweep and sweep everything under the carpet. Pretending that all things are OK.

Does this country deserve me?

Stupid question, I suppose.

Nostradamus said...

Permatang Pauh Voters decide for Nation? - Appeal by Nostradamus.
Pengundi Permatang Pauh tentukan untuk Negara? – Rayuan oleh Nostradamus.

1. Voters of Permatang Pauh will vote come 26 August 2008. Who to vote for and What to vote for?
Pengundi-pengundi Permatang Pauh akan undi menjelang 26 Ogos 2008. Mengundi Siapa and mengundi untuk Apa?

2. 50 Questions to test your Conscience at www.patek1472.wordpress.com
50 Soalan untuk menguji Suara Hati anda di www.patek1472.wordpress.com

Antares said...

A glowing tribute, charged with feeling, to a man I never knew or even heard of. A big hug for this one, Imtiaz.

Whoever posted that long Confucian tract seems unconcerned about making others scroll all the way down just to leave a comment. The thing to do is create your own blog and upload it as an article; then tell us about it and provide a link. Mark of good governance in the blogosphere.

To "baresheen" - the time is past for us to simply lament the rotten state of affairs; time now to consciously engage your energies with helping us pull through the transition to a new government - one that's responsive to public and private feedback, and believes in decency.

flyer168 said...

Dear Malik,

With the Daily sickening "Charade" in this Bolehland, It sure is nice to bring about some "Sanity" & you have come out with this very touching article.

May God Bless his soul & it is indeed a true "Legacacy" that he has left for us to emulate at times like this.

I would also like to share this article with you & your readers:-

The Star Online - Citizen's Blog
Monday, May 19, 2008

Regarding the late Tun Sardon Jubir - he was proper brilliant

Posted by: engleberthumpadink

Quote: "I've just finished reading the biography of a truly great man. And yet now I've finished I feel nothing but sorrow as I look at the people that run the country now.

Tun Sardon was a man of the people, ok he felt more affinity for the Malays, as he was a kampung boy himself, but the Tun Sardon Foundation that still bears his name was started to help the poor and disabled from all races, without prejudice.

This man lived and died for Malaysia, his hard work and lifetime of sacrifice produced benifits that each and every Malaysian still feels the effects of now - he was a key player in the Merdeka movement, he personally visited every single hospital in the nation and made sure they were all improved, he oversaw the construction of Stadium Merdeka, the building of the E-W highway, expansion of Port Klang and Penang port, improved telecommunications here, was the UN envoy and pushed forward the development of Penang whilst governor, as well as being involved in charity projects and visiting a different masjid every week in order to be always with the rakyat and hear their problems.

Here was a man of the people, by his own admission, a man. He came from humble kampung roots - his father worked hard and got together enough money to send him to London to study, even though Sardon was elligable for a grant. Tun Sardon worked every hour god sent as a student, then as a lawyer and after that as a politician.

He never stood there with his hand out saying, "where's my one?" he made sure that what he got was earned through hard work, long hours, sweat and campaigning. And yet, when he died, he died in debt. Why? Because he gave it all away to those who were less fortunate.

Would you believe a government minister giving it all away to the poor and needy? Hmmm, let's have a look at those so called "elected reprasentatives" who are currently driving the country off the proverbial cliff, would they give away any of their millions? Would they give away all of it?

Ha ha ha

Where have all the educated politicians gone?

Where has all the kindness and compassion to all races and religions gone?

Where have the "elected" leaders who care about something other than their own power and pockets gone?

Will we ever see his sort again? I sincerely hope so" unquote.

Beanoo said...

Having been in the same school that Malik Imtiaz was at, I too have not had much opportunity or contact with Tan Har Yong. But I have these words to say about him.

He who has taught me how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

He who has taught me incomprehensible formulas to make numbers out of thin air.

He who has taught me the words of the Holy Bible.

He who has given me the building blocks in life to see beyond the face of religion into the people behind it.

May he forever Rest In Peace.

Seng said...

Dear Malik,

I simply has to agree with Antares - you have written a wonderful tribute to a man whom I have also never knew or heard of, but touched me very, very deeply for its human-ness. Thank-you.

And also in line with Antares - whoever posted that long, long article - please think of others and consider creating your own blog and upload it as an article; then tell us about it by providing the link. That would be a good blogging practice to adhere to.

Cheers!
Seng.

Wong Fook Meng said...

Hi Malik,

Many of your pieces had stretched me intellectually. It is always good for the mind.

This piece touched my soul.

Wong Fook Meng
Malacca

Gan said...

MIS - I am sure Pastor Tan will be most pleased to know that his tutelage and nurturing has guided some of his young students to become some of the fair thinking adults of today.

Because of him, the rest of us in society has also benefited from the various causes his former students is standing up for.

Thank you Pastor Tan, for making a difference to so many lives - directly or indirectly.

May he rest in peace.

jerng said...

He was a family friend. Interesting that you know him too. :)

ML said...

Mr Tan indeed did impact many lives in his own way.

When I was in school he would actually be the school barber to cut any student's hair which got too long. He was an exemplary teacher and person.

You have run the race of life and finished it well. Rest well, Mr Tan.

Tunku said...

Your tribute to your teacher is touching but I would like to go back to one line at the top of this piece

'Extremist is the exception..'

So why is our top leaders agreeing with the exception? Are our leaders the exception or is our society hostage to the exception? How can a society that is determined by the exception continue for long? Does it say more of us or them?

Anonymous said...

Dear Malik,
Indeed touching and handy at these times. Racial & Religion cards are used time & time again to break Malaysians' spirit!

Eskay

delvi said...

I hope there are many more towering Malaysians out there.

i like chopin said...

Dear Malik

Wish this Mr Tan had also touch the lives of those who protested outside the Bar Council and also those UiTM students.

xenobiologista said...

Yup...I don't remember much about Uncle Har Yong but he was definitely one of my father's close colleagues. Thanks for writing this eulogy.

The fact that Malaysia is a small country is, in my view, a good thing - people who've never met are still linked by shared experiences and friendships. I wish everybody would realize that.

Nostradamus said...

Malaysiakini Bloggers Headlines on 27 September 2008.

“Man of Honour” won Landslide Victory in P44 Permatang Pauh!

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

A defining moment in Malaysian History was achieved when DSAI won the by-election in Permatang Pauh yesterday with a landslide victory over his opponent just 3 days prior to Parliament presenting it’s 2009 Budget (29 August 2008) and 5 days prior to Malaysians celebrating it’s 51st Anniversary of Merdeka (Liberty Day) on 31st August 2008.

Sit tight for the next episode on 29 September 2008, the preview to 16 September 2008 when Malaysia celebrates “Freedom Day”.

More Prophesies at Nostradamus Quatrains on “Wag the Dog” and Nostradamus Quatrains on Malaysia.

http://patek1472.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

RIP Mr Tan
You will be missed.

SH(Ex-Inaian)