Ong Ka Ting should have referred to the great Chinese reformer Wang An Shih on the need for both good system and good people to bring about a clean, incorruptible and people-oriented government instead of being an “apple polisher” by comparing Abdullah to Hai Rui, who fell victim to a corrupt, decadent and oppressive system
- at Paya Terubong DAP Chinese New Year 2004 celebration
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): I am not surprised by the statement of the Penang MCA deputy chairman, Datuk Koay Kar Huah, in trying to distort my criticism of the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting for his most inappropriate comparison of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with Hai Rui, a Ming dynasty official famous for his incorruptibility but was removed from office by a corrupt system after a short tenure, immortalized by Chinese drama “Hai Rui Dismissed from Office” (Hai Rui ba guan).
It is clear that Koay does not understand the three points that I had tried to make, viz:
There is another reason why Ka Ting’s comparison of Abdullah with Hai Rui at the joint MCA-Gerakan Chinese New Year party in Penang is inappropriate. As Abdullah had publicly declared that he does not want “apple polishers”, it would have been more appropriate for Ka Ting to refer to the great Chinese reformer Wang An Shih on the need for both good system and good people to bring about a clean, incorruptible and people-oriented government instead of comparing Abdullah to Hai Rui, who fell victim to a corrupt, decadent and oppressive system.
In his attempt to eliminate corruption, Wang An Shih, the Sung dynasty statesman, was impressed by two ever-recurrent sources of corruption – bad laws and bad men, that it is impossible to secure proper government by merely relying on the power of the law to control officials when the latter are not the right men for the job and it is equally futile to expect efficient government if, having the right men in their proper positions, there is no good system of governance.
According to Wang An Shih, corruption was caused by bad systems and bad individuals. It was not one or the other. Selecting good people was not enough if the system encouraged corruption.
Next Wednesday, February 4, 2003, will be the last Cabinet meeting for Abdullah’s “First Hundred Days” as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Ka Ting should formally propose that the Cabinet conduct a review whether the “First Hundred Days” had learnt from Wang Ah Shih in having both good men and good system in order to fulfill Abdullah’s pledge of a clean, incorruptible, efficient, people-oriented government which listens to the truth from the citizenry.
The last Cabinet meeting of the “First Hundred Days” should also consider whether every Cabinet Minister is prepared to become a modern-day Hai Rui, famous in the country and history as honest and incorruptible, and creating a system of national integrity marked, among other things, by the following features:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman