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By Leong Kar Yen

Power abuse: Dont turn a blind eye, Rais tells Umno

Minister in the Prime Minister's department Dr Rais Yatim said today that nobody is above the law and all allegations pertaining to the abuse of power and corruption must be investigated by the authorities.

Rais, who was commenting on the police report lodged by Pahang state assemblyman Fauzi Abdul Rahman against information minister Khalil Yaakob last Wednesday, alleging the latter of misappropriating state resources, also called on Umno to consider the allegations seriously and not to turn a blind eye.

The minister also explained the importance of having proper follow-up procedures after a report had been lodged.

"Anybody can lodge a police report pursuant to an allegation of abuse of power or the commission of a criminal act but the crux of the matter is the follow up executed either by the authorities or a committee from the political party in question," he said.

He said Umno had a competent team to conduct investigations and to find solutions to the present problem. "It should also take into consideration the allegations and not keep quite about it and sweep it under the carpet."

However, he added that it was up to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to do its homework but cautioned against 'surreptitious actions' that could embarrass the parties involved in the investigation and added that only significant and substantial evidence be offered in the course of investigations

"We are not saying that anybody is safe from investigation. Last month, deputy prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that any wrong doings or allegations of such on the part of the government or its representatives would be subject to possible investigations," said Rais.

Misappropriated resources

Fauzi, who is also Kuantan's Umno chief, is said to have mentioned in his report that Khalil "jeopardised the financial resources and cash flow" of the present Pahang state government during his tenure as the state's Mentri Besar."

A News Straits Times (NST) report today stated that Fauzi called for the inclusion of the ACA and the police into Umno's special committee to investigate the matter.

"I still have my reservations. I think it would be better if they could include authorities such as the ACA and the police," Fauzi was quoted as saying by the daily.

Rais was speaking to reporters after officiating the opening of the Malaysian Technological Cooperation Program (MTCP) courses at the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) in Kuala Lumpur,

Winds of change

Earlier, in his speech, Rais said the "landscape of the public sector had changed" due to globalisation, improved communication, technology and easier access to information.

"There is also an ever increasing demand for new and better quality service and good governance with citizens demanding for greater participation in policy formulation, he said.

"The public service should also undergo a paradigm shift from a rule-bound bureaucratic tradition to a more pro-active mode, from centralisation of power and decision making and structures based on hierarchy to a more flexible and entrepreneurial form which emphasises efficient and effective management," the minister said.

Rais also stated the need for new leadership skills that include "the ability to transform organisational cultures by a willingness to question the status quo". Other skills are "the ability to manage through dialogue and interpersonal negotiation rather than through power and control".