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Najib offers a taste of things to come

By Tuesday March 17th, 2009 No Comments

In less than two weeks, Najib Abdul Razak is slated to move up to the top job in the country and in a short speech today, dropped broad hints on what is to be expected during his incoming reign.

This comes at a time when the opposition are increasingly wary over possible clampdowns on dissent once he assumes the prime minister’s position.

During a function at the Malaysian Institute for Integrity in Kuala Lumpur, Najib took the audience and journalists by surprise when he spoke on the need for the government to embrace an open-tender system.

“If the majority of government procurement is based on open tenders or at least limited tenders, including privatisation projects, this would be a step towards eradicating corruption and abuse of power.                                  “Changes like this may not be popular among some people, who likes access to the decision makers. Maybe the lobbyists and the rent-seekers will be unhappy,” he said.

“But I believe the rakyat will like this (open-tender system). The people will support the government more if it made decisions based on open competition and transparency,” he added.

Najib said this after breaking away from his prepared text to officiate the National Integrity Plan report, better known by its acronym Tekad 2008.

‘Right man for the job’

Moving on, Najib dropped more hints, this time in relation to the upcoming Umno polls.

He said success in an organisation for a chief executive – in the private sector and civil service – was picking ‘the right man for the job’.

The deputy premier said he was more inclined to have someone who displays ‘integrity and ability’ while placing ‘loyalty’ as the last criteria.

“If someone is loyal to the boss but does not have any integrity and ability, then the boss can fall because of him,” he said.

Najib is said to be rooting for International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as his deputy although the remaining contender Muhammad Muhd Taib cannot be written off just yet.

Mohd Ali Rustam, an aspirant for the deputy post until he was barred from contesting today, had previously caused a stir when he said Muhyiddin could not be good deputy as the latter was said to be setting his eyes on the party president post in the future.

Reforms coming

After his speech, Najib took three questions from the floor during a rare public Q&A session, where he revealed more about his future plans.

On whether he will enact a Freedom of Information Act, Najib said certain ‘sensitive’ matters have to remain secret but he was committed to being open and truthful.

To a question on whether he will ‘sacrifice certain big candidates’ to ‘save Umno’, Najib did not reply outright.

“I have suggestions on how Umno can reform because public perception is that Umno is arrogant and has unhealthy practices.

“We have to clean up Umno. In the near future, I will reveal what can be done. I’ve said it openly (before). We have to change or be changed,” he said, while noting that there were rival Pakatan Rakyat reps in attendance.

Several VIPs among the crowd who attended the launch of Tekad 2008 report were Negeri Sembilan Menter Besar Mohamad Hassan, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak.

Source : Malaysiakini

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