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27th November 2020
A recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report reveals what appears to be serious abuse of power in the issuance of ‘special approvals’ for the admission of foreign workers into the country. PAC Chairman and Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai had asked former Home Minister Dato Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi why 512,315 out of a total of 928,825 ‘special approvals’ were issued for foreign workers between 2016 and 2018.  

The authorisation of this ‘special approvals’ to middlemen, who among others were politicians from the ruling BN government at the time, raises the question of corruption. Politicians reported as middlemen were Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (former Speaker of Parliament), Tan Sri Noh Omar (MP Tg. Karang), Datuk Masir Kujat (MP Sri Aman), Datuk Seri Mohd Alwi Che Ahmad (MP Kok Lanas) and Muhammad Yusof Mohd Nor (ADUN Sg. Dua). 

This is very serious and unacceptable. What makes it even more serious is that a number of these special approvals were given via middlemen despite the foreign workers had failed the Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency (Fomema) inspection. Such wanton disregard for health is a serious dereliction of responsibilities among those politicians whom we put our trust for good governance.   

The PAC Chairman asking Zahid Hamidi for the rationale to issue the special approvals is very relevant. In addition, Patriot would like to ask Zahid Hamidi the following questions: 
1. Why such high percentage, over half a million and 55% of the total Special Approvals were issued?  
2. Why were the foreign workers not admitted into the country through the normal channels? 
3. What was the reason for appointing politicians as middlemen in this ‘trade’? By doing that isn’t it an act of cronyism?      
4. Would it be wrong for the public to assume that all the middlemen (politicians included) had received some financial gain? 

The PAC report has invoked public perception of abuse and high probability of corruption in the issuance of ‘special approval’ by the home ministry between 2016 and 2018. Patriot urges a thorough investigation into this matter. Good governance requires the various investigating agencies to spring into action and not wait for direction from higher up.  

There have been too many cases of corruption reported over the last few months. We therefore urge the government to take a serious view to stem the rot that had permeated almost all government agencies. A few years ago, based on the finding of Transparency International, the Washington Post had reported that Malaysia was a champion in corruption. Action must be taken to wipe out this national shame. 

BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd) 
Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan