Resolve to fight graft

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 10 Jan 2019

Chow (fifth from left), posing for a group photo with state exco members, representatives from local agencies and departments during the gathering with state civil servants at the TopKomtar in Penang.— Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

PENANG is aiming for a 40% drop in corruption cases involving civil servants in both state and federal agencies this year, said state secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus.

He said out of the total 325 cases reported in Penang last year, 115 were related to civil servants while the balance involved workers from the private sector.

Farizan said compared with the previous year, there was a “slight” decline in the figures.

“However, it is not as we desired. We expected it to be much lower, which is why it is my hope that for 2019, the figures will continue to decline drastically.

“We expect a drop of 40%. It can be done. This is my expectation for 2019,” he said during a press conference at the gathering of civil servants with Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at The Top@Komtar, Penang, on Monday.

Earlier in his speech, Farizan said based on the Penang corruption statistics for the year 2018 up to November, there were a total of 325 cases which covered the public and private sectors, and government-linked companies.

He said out of the 325 cases, 68 were for accepting bribes, seven for giving bribes, 14 for false claims, 37 for misuse of positions, three for money laundering and 196 for other offences.

“However, the actual statistics for the public sector also shows a rather frightening number that is 115 cases.

“This is quite worrying because if calculated, there are about 10 offences each month involving civil servants,” he said.

Farizan also said there were 44 cases of disciplinary offences which had been resolved in state departments, local authorities and state statutory bodies.

“This statistic does not involve federal departments.

“These offences cover mostly civil servants who were not present on duty, late to office, not tapping the punch card, drug abuse, submitting false sick leave certificates and other offences.

“I really hope for this year, corruption cases, abuse of power and disciplinary misconduct can be drastically reduced,” he said.

Chow, during the press conference, expressed hope that the stop-work order on the Bukit Kukus paired road project would be lifted soon.

He said the state had received the full report from Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman who is chairman of the special committee investigating the cause of the landslide at the project site in Paya Terubong.

“Next we have instructed MBPP (Penang Island City Council) to present their investigation report before the state makes any decision.

It was reported that the paired road project, which costs RM545mil, may only be completed late 2020 or early 2021 following a stop-work order after a landslide in October last year.

On Oct 19, a landslide at the construction site, where the Bukit Kukus paired road was being built, swamped 12 containers that housed construction workers.

Nine foreign workers died in the incident while four others were injured.

Chow also spoke about the Penang Skycab, saying that the project developer, Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) had previously obtained EIA approval on the initial alignment, which connects Butterworth to Persiaran Karpal Singh in Jelutong.

“However now they want to propose an alignment that is closer to the George Town heritage site. If so, they have to also get EIA approval if that alignment is changed.

“The state government is open to these suggestions. They have to ensure that this project is feasible, can be implemented and we will wait for the decision from MRCB on when this project can be carried out.

“They have presented their proposal to the state government and they will need some time to make amendments and study the suitability of the new location, which is near the ferry terminal,” he added.

At the event, Chow also launched a one-stop payment counter that facilitates an integrated payment of land tax and assessment tax between district and land offices and local authorities.

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