Dear Sultan - It Is Your Logging Activities That Cause Flooding

Yang di-Pertuan Agong al-Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, today decreed for the government to conduct a detailed study to reduce and address the flood risks.

His Majesty said that short and long-term solutions, such as flood mitigation projects and efforts to deepen shallow rivers, are necessary due to frequent flooding.

“We can think about the cost (to implement the project to address flood problems) later, but we have to find the cause as there are always floods occurring, every year, every month.

“This is also subject to small rivers and drains in the city, which are not well maintained… all kinds of garbage thrown arbitrarily, which may be the cause of the flooding,” said His Majesty.

Sultan Abdullah said this while visiting and presenting donations to flood victims, at the Kampung Baru Sungai Chedong temporary relief centre today.

He was accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah, and their son, Tengku Amir Nasser Ibrahim Shah.

… The floods hit Pahang on Wednesday, as a result of continuous heavy rain, causing the river water level to overflow in Raub, Jerantut, Maran, Pekan, Bera, Temerloh and Rompin districts.

Our comment

It is extremely sad that this Agong, from a state where the royal family has been behind so much of the recent desecration of the forests, is under the impression that the causes of flooding are not already well known. Or that they might be due to common garbage.

Whoever failed to educate him on the matter is plainly at fault, because even back half a century ago it was very well known that above all it is careless logging that creates erosion that creates floods.

Excess logging and unsustainable monoculture also wipes out nature entirely and much of the once tropical lush land-bank of Malaysia is now in danger of ending up much like the sandy wastelands of the Gulf and Middle East, host to the earliest ‘civilisations’ where lust for wealth and unsustainable farming practices destroyed the ‘Garden of Eden’ over thousands of years.

With today’s technologies we can achieve the same effect in a decade.

So, might the Agong agree to put a moratorium on the logging in his state and encourage similar moratoriums elsewhere whilst he gets up to speed on these matters, because it would probably represent the country’s last chance to rescue the future of Malaysia’s flora and fauna – including its national emblem, the beleaguered and starving tiger population now reduced to around a hundred desperate sick animals in the wild?

That way he could go down in history as the man who saved his country rather than ruining it.

Cash For Trash - The Sad Truth About Najib's 1MDB

Kardashian told investigators she wanted to leave the casino at 5am but was advised to stay because of Low’s reputation for handing out gambling chips at the end of the night.

Eventually, Kardashian won around US$350,000 but her security guard advised her to return it since she didn’t gamble with her own money.

“When Kardashian attempted to give the chips back, Low told Kardashian that the chips were hers to keep,” said the FBI.

When Kardashian cashed out the chips, she was given around US$250,000 in one hundred dollar notes in a trash bag..….

Low initially wanted to gift Kardashian a horse carriage. When Kardashian requested a white Ferrari instead, Low allegedly responded “OK, I’ll just send you the cash.”

Kardashian was not familiar with the entity Goodstar but stated that if the money was coming from that entity, it was from Low.

“Once she was told the money came in, she just thought ‘Let’s get me a car’,” read the FBI documents.

Our comment

The scenes of Hollywood debauchery fuelled by cash raised from the poor Malaysian public are the sad emblem of 1MDB.

All these billions, borrowed at enormous rates of interest which all still has to be paid back, were thus squandered on the trashiest of Hollywood’s ‘personalities’ who even carried off the loot in trash bags.

Contrast these admissions with the sanctimonious triumph of wife Rosmah (mother of the greedy, precious Riza, who attended these occasions to fulfil his ambitions to ‘move among the stars’) outside court today.

She chose to brag that a decision to dismiss one of the scores of sets of charges against her husband and his co-conspirators would presage the dropping of all the other charges and convictions – i.e. that he and she will be let off their convictions for gross crimes against the people of Malaysia.

Those who are lining up for cheap meals thanks to BN/PN corruption and children studying under leaking roofs in schools, whose budgets Rosmah looted, will feel differently.

There is no political mileage (let alone justice) in letting these kleptocrats off with pardons or reviews, unless it is to satisfy a certain over-interfering head of state who has become far too involved in these misadventures.

Lynas Have Opted To Open Their Can Of Worms

“After 10 years of safe operation in Malaysia we are disappointed that the conditions that were applied to our 2020 operating licence remain,” Chief Executive Amanda Lacaze said in the statement…

“We will now proceed with administrative and legal appeals to ensure that Lynas is treated fairly and equitably as a Foreign Direct Investor and a significant employer and contributor to the Malaysian economy.”

Lynas had applied to Malaysia’s regulator for the conditions to be removed because they “represent a significant variation from the conditions under which… Lynas made the initial decision to invest in Malaysia,” it said.

Our comment

Today Lynas has duly submitted its threatened appeal against the decision of the Malaysian government to stand by the terms of its agreement with the company back in 2019, which gave Lynas ample time to organise alternative arrangements for its radioactive waste products by mid-2023.

The people of Kuantan want the ‘low-level’ waste out of their locality every bit as much as the people of Australia from whence the material came. Malaysian’s, understandably, feel they have become a dumping ground because their previous high authorities seemed willing to risk safety in return for fast bucks into certain back pockets.

However, it seems Lynas thought they could somehow by-pass the conditions of their own agreement and carry on processing and dumping waste that would require a secure storage facility for 10,000 years were they to place it back in Australia. Such a facility is in the process of being constructed but is not yet ready the company says.

The coup which over-turned the PH government that had negotiated Lynas’s commitment might have had something to do with the company’s optimism in this respect. It effectively returned the sort of government that had allowed their operations in the first place.

Given their first chance however, the electorate have again voted out corruption.

Lynas has made it loudly clear that it has the full backing of the Australian government over this appeal. Ministers for Mr Albanese have spoken out to confirm they are continuing the previous Liberal administration’s whole hearted support for this strategic producer of rare metal products.

After all Lynas, an Australian Stockmarket listed company, has already benefited from numerous bailouts and soft loans from Australia and Japan (their major customer in the electronics industry) despite the highly controversial background of this company’s leading players.

So, it seems that Lynas hopes that bravado, diplomatic bullying and continuing to ‘do what it takes’ will force a Malaysian climbdown as the matter reaches the scrutiny of the appeal process.

Central to that scrutiny, inevitably, is likely to be the status of the so-called Multi-Category Industrial Scheduled Waste Disposal Site (MCISWDS) which Lynas agreed to commission to be built to assist in disposing of its waste (presently stored in heaps in the open air around their plant.

After a number of false starts curtailed by public protests (there were plans to place it lucratively in a forest reserve that would first have been logged and then in a peatland area) this MCISWDS is said three years later to be only 30% completed and therefore useless.

However, it is the embarrassing nature of this contract that Lynas perhaps thinks may pause the Malaysian government into extending its licence to pollute. In short, without tendering the highly specialised role, Lynas paid $100 million to an effective shell company owned by the regent of the state of Pahang (where the site is located) and a local UMNO business crony to carry out this waste disposal commitment, yet to be performed.

The regent is of course not only the current paid head of state of Pahang but also the son of the King of Malaysia.

Yes, that is pretty embarrassing for the Malaysians. However, it ought also to be every bit as embarrassing for the company itself and for the Australian government who has so far apparently failed to initiate appropriate investigations under their own country’s foreign bribery laws.

Meanwhile, as Lynas attempts in its press releases to patronise Malaysia about the great benefits its ‘inward foreign investment’ into the country the new Science Minister, Chang Lih Kang, has reminded radio listeners that when UMNO players first brought the company into Pahang in 2012 a handy 11 year tax exemption was negotiated for the company…. meaning that so far Lynas has not paid a bean at all to the Malaysian public purse!


It Is Right To End The Dodgy MP Handouts!

Perikatan Nasional (PN) chief whip Takiyuddin Hassan has expressed his concern over the constituency allocations for MPs which may be reduced by 65 percent this year.

He noted that while the government was taking steps to control its finances, he was adamant that allocations should be left alone as it was for the benefit of the people.

Allocations channelled through MPs provide direct benefits to the people, (they) should not be disturbed,” he said in a statement today.

The Kota Bharu MP said these allocations are channelled through the MPs’ service centres in their constituencies through the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU).

Our comment

How sadly predictable that this professed lawyer and ‘religious’ party representative should put himself at the forefront of defending this degenerate ‘money politics’ practice of allowing MPs to buy local support at the expense of the public purse.

It is one thing for an MP to receive an allowance to run an office where constituents can seek advice and bring their issues.

However, to stuff his safe with a stash of cash for him to hand out as he pleases, acting as the powerful Datuk Bountiful to buy gratitude and obedience is quite another matter.

This is not his money, which is how far too many MPs have acted, it is public money. There are public rules governing how taxpayers’ money should be spent and who is eligible for state support.

These do not include feathering the nests of those an MP needs to keep sweet to win the next election, which is exactly where these funds are in danger of actually ending up.

If an MP finds there are people in need and who are eligible for public support amongst his constituents, then he ought to advise them which public services they should be applying to, so they can be processed correctly.

Arbitrary handouts are not the solution and recipients should understand they are being aided by the community and policies of the government, not their MP personally.

Indeed, how can a blanket allowance to MPs be fair or proper when certain areas contain far more need than others? This is compounded by the outrageous practice which penalises opposition MPs – and therefore those who voted for the opposition – by allowing them less than pro-government MPs?

This system is pernicious and corrupt as any observer can plainly see, certainly one qualified in the law!

The government is therefore quite right to slash the MPs’ budget so money can go through the appropriate channels to help Malaysians receive grants for which they are eligible, not as ‘charity’ from their MP but as a matter of right.

Bribery Of A Foreign Official Is A Crime In The USA - Goldman Have Been Caught Out Before

it is time for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to revisit and reopen the controversial Goldman Sachs settlement reached with the Malaysian government over 1MDB in July 2020 when Muhyiddin Yassin was prime minister and Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz was the finance minister.

Tied in with this is a horrendous allegation which, if true, will mean that one prime minister benefited from an attempt to negotiate a settlement in the billions of dollars with one of the world’s largest financiers and wheeler-dealers caused by the crooked dealings of another.

Just imagine the enormity of the crimes – one PM – Najib Abdul Razak – causes the loss of as much as RM40 billion through the self-styled strategic development company 1MDB.

Then another PM, Muhyiddin, compromises a settlement with one of those complicit in the crime – Goldman Sachs – which may run into billions of ringgit.

This is no concoction – it may well be true and only a thorough and impartial investigation by those who are honest and competent will eventually reveal whether it is or not.

For a start, Anwar must forthwith make public the settlement with Goldman Sachs and all payments made, especially since Kuang assemblyperson Sallehudin Amiruddin said in March 2021 that the authorities should investigate allegations that an RM500 million donation was made to Muhyiddin’s party, Bersatu, by a prominent lawyer handling the settlement with Goldman Sachs.

Press reports at the time said Malaysia was represented at the talks with Goldman Sachs by Attorney-General Idrus Azizan Harun and then solicitor-general II Siti Zainab Omar.

They were reported to have been assisted by Rosli Dahlan and DP Naban, the two senior partners of Rosli Dahlan Sarvana Partnership and also “chief legal trouble-shooters” for Muhyiddin Yassin.

The amount paid to the lawyers was never disclosed, and the non-disclosure agreement with Goldman Sachs was used as an excuse.


Our comment

It is right to re-visit the dodgy 1MDB settlement with Goldman Sachs, along with all the other dodgy looking deals driven through during the pandemic by the coup coalition government of Muhyiddin Yassin.

It is clear, with the Bersatu bank accounts now frozen and RM96.2 billion worth of contracts now under review, that Malaysia’s anti corruption authorities are doing just that.

Meanwhile, the new prime minister has indicated he has grounds to open proceedings against the bank for reneging even on the unsatisfactory deal that was arrived at – a move that might open a whole can of worms for the American banking giant.

Back in July 2020 the newly installed coup coalition and its unelected Finance Minister (a friend of the King who is now the unelected Trade Minister) steamrollered a super-swift settlement with Goldman which had just been found culpable in the United States of assisting in defrauding Malaysia of $6.5 billion through 1MDB.

The bank got off astonishingly lightly in this flash resolution by Muhyiddin’s men, with Malaysia settling for a cash payment of just $2.5 billion, whereas the previous administration had been demanding over $9 billion which represented the actual cost of the crime to Malaysian taxpayers (1MDB was left over $42 billion in debt).

The previous PH administration had also opened criminal proceedings against 17 Goldman Sachs bankers which were also dropped after the lousy settlement. After the signing, the CEO of the bank headed back to his Long Island home and threw a major party.

So, what happened to the money was the question being asked by many at the time, including the deposed prime minister, Mahathir Mohammed, who requested to know why the details of the deal were not made available at least to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee for appropriate scrutiny?

In short, how much of this depleted settlement actually ended up in the trust account set up by the previous Harapan government to repay 1MDB’s debts and how much might have been siphoned off in ‘commissions’ or ‘lawyers fees’, given the peculiar involvement of the new prime minister’s own personal lawyer in the swift negotiations?

The Bersatu government of Muhyiddin Yassin responded that it would not reveal the answers to these concerns nor allow any such scrutiny because it had made the entire settlement an ‘Official Secret’. The reason they gave was that Goldman Sachs had demanded a Non Disclosure Agreement!

At the time Sarawak Report and others observed that this excuse stank and flashed a red flag once more over the actions of the disgraced US bank. Indeed, if writer P Gunasegaram fears that two prime ministers (Najib and his former deputy, Muhyiddin) might between them have twice robbed the country over 1MDB, then the same could be feared of Goldman Sachs thanks also to this settlement.

The original Goldman crimes involved making hundreds of millions in fees through the bribing of foreign officials, namely Najib and his officers from 1MDB, for whom they raised bogus bonds.

If Goldman then agreed to a non-disclosure agreement to conceal the path of the cut price settlement money once it reached Malaysia…. then that is effectively once again participating in the bribery of foreign officials in return for saving huge amounts they could have paid in fines to Malaysia.

The bank has a duty to perform post-transaction monitoring after passing on sums of money so it must know where this money went – or should know.

Now that Bersatu’s party accounts have been frozen, following the astounding revelation that no less than RM300 million had arrived in ‘donations’ during Muhyiddin’s short 18 months in office, prompting an MACC investigation, the truth looks set to come out, (barring further attempts at a political coup by the actors involved of course).

Goldman fatally misjudged the public mood when they did their original dirty deals with Najib and were exposed following BN’s 2018 election defeat.  It would be astounding if they had failed to learn that lesson and had indeed done a deal with the coup coalition to repeat that process.

If so, the people have again spoken and the bank stands in grave danger of being found out again, if this is what has happened.


Malaysia's 'Ivanka' Has Loads More Cred

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has put his foot down on his daughter Nurul Izzah’s appointment as his adviser for economics in both the Prime Minister’s Department as well as the Finance Ministry, saying it is to ensure that contracts and tenders are managed in an “orderly” manner.

Pointing out that his eldest daughter is taking on the unpaid role, Anwar gave his assurance that the appointment is not to misuse power or to enrich his family like those who grant projects worth millions of ringgit to their children and son or daughter-in-law.

“She (Nurul) is here to help. If she came to help with no positions, that will be questioned and it’s not transparent, nor is it proper,” he told reporters today after attending the National Sports Awards at the National Sports Council in Kuala Lumpur.

“I want to give assurance, God willing, that our administration, even if some are not satisfied with this decision, (we are here to) fight corruption, not to misuse power or enrich any officials or leaders.”…

Earlier today, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Muhammad Mohan questioned Anwar’s decision, saying it may signal that cronyism and nepotism are back.

Our comment

It is sad to see Malaysia’s democracy advocates going after Nurul Izzar because she has agreed to work as her father’s unpaid advisor.

Yes, the unpaid role will open doors for her to make the enquiries he is plaining on leaving her to do.  Yet, special advisors have been adopted by leaders everywhere being people they know they can trust to delegate/ arms length some of the volume of their work. Usually these are paid.

Nurul is not a nepotistic parvenu, in fact she could hardly be more qualified for the role. She is one of Malaysia’s most longstanding and experienced opposition politicians, who has suffered and battled harder than many salaried NGOs who know when to duck out of the line of fire when danger threatens. She has not had such luxury and has shown at least as much courage and steadfastness for the cause of reform as they – and paid the price.

Like her mother, Nurul has been much more than a daughter, working as an elected politician, key ally and indeed surrogate for Anwar during his decade in jail. Anwar knows how she was there when others, who may now be back on board, were writing him off and making themselves scarce when support was needed.

Nurul is experienced in politics, therefore, and an inspiring speaker who is a rare Malaysian figure on the international stage. How many other Malaysian politicians can draw a crowd like she can in London or New York? They admire her for her story, her charisma and for her proven capability and qualities as a leader.

She lost her seat. The circumstances are murky as to why, but as a top politician she was a top target for the ultimately unsuccessful PN coalition.

It is common for parties to seek out some role for loyal MPs who meet this fate. Usually, the role includes a salary.  However, given her relationship, she has foregone the remuneration that any other ex-PKR MP in her position would have accepted without a thought – or criticism from others either.

So, why has she been singled out for this attack as if her years of political service stood for nothing?  Why has there been so much anger and criticism over this appointment compared, for example, to glaring and recent examples where powerful politicians have awarded multi-million ringgit contracts to companies owned by the husbands of their daughters or passed on their own seat to their son or daughter like a family heirloom?

Are these issues too complicated with too much work involved to stand up and complain about or are the politicians concerned too mean to confront in the same aggressive manner?  Count the articles and the official NGO complaints made about those real scandals, compared to all the column inches filled over Nurul’s unpaid job.

Perhaps some reflection is needed on the wisdom of making a false equivalence by calling the appointment of Nurul Izzar “nepotism” compared to the custom of treating parliamentary seats as a family heirloom, or “cronyism” compared to the purloining of contracts for family members or those who provide backhanders in return.

More work is needed and more noise made over these glaring examples of genuine corruption in Malaysia from the paid NGO figures who have waxed so noisily over Nurul. After all, they can do so without danger now, thanks to the advent of the pro-reform administration that she has worked for more than most.

Hadi Admits It!

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has defended the party’s distribution of cash to voters during the 15th general election (GE15), claiming that it was a charitable act and hence, not prohibited by electoral law.

The Malaysian Insight (TMI) quoted the Marang MP as saying existing rules only prohibited contesting candidates and their representatives from giving cash to voters.

“According to election law, a candidate or a candidate’s representative cannot give out cash money, it is up to the public to give alms,” Hadi told reporters after attending the Semarak Gelombang Rakyat event with Perikatan Nasional (PN) in Negeri Sembilan this morning.

The petitions filed by BN to challenge the election outcomes for three Terengganu parliamentary seats were described as a tactical move by the PN deputy chairperson.

Our comment

Evidently PAS cannot deny the allegation that their party handed out cash to voters during the election, so their leader, Hadi Awang, has decided to brazen it out with a game of semantics and hair splitting.

Bribery is re-designated as ‘charity’ and we are informed that there is a big difference – or so Hadi claims – if the PAS state government machinery handed round the cash rather than the local candidates physically themselves.

If the PAS candidate was featured and promoted on the green envelope slip in which the money was presented, so what?

Good luck to the lawyer who takes on the task of standing up Hadi’s legal opinions in court. The PAS leader is no stranger to uttering preposterous self-justifications (for example that it is OK to lie if it benefits his own ‘Godly’ party) but he has tended to save his theories for credulous followers and to run away from testing them against the penal code.

It seems now he has no choice because the evidence is there and a case has been brought against him.

Vote-Buying - What Would The Prophet Say?

Terengganu Umno has filed election petitions alleging vote buying in three constituencies – Marang, Kuala Terengganu dan Kemaman – in the recent general election (GE15).

Ahmad said the vote-buying took place on Nov 15, 16 and 17, with most households in the constituencies receiving RM500 to RM1,000 each. Polling for GE15 took place on Nov 19.

“On Nov 15, 16 and 17, 2022, Perikatan Nasional (PN) had given out funds in the form of i-siswa, i-belia dan i-pencen to voters in Terengganu, including to those who had returned home to vote.

“While it is a special fund under the Terengganu state government, and also funding from PN, the fact that it was given out during the election makes it morally wrong.

“Meanwhile, at Kampung Tok Hakim, a viral TikTok video showed someone admitting, “I took money from you, so I will vote for PAS”, Ahmad said during a press conference at the World Trade Centre here.

Ahmad said they have met with witnesses from eight parliamentary constituencies, but only those from Marang, Kuala Terengganu and Kemaman were willing to cooperate.

“Many admitted that they received (bribes), but when we mention (appearing) in court, they refused to cooperate.

Umno lawyer Amin Othman said that the petition is to challenge the victory of the PAS candidates in Kemaman, Marang and Kuala Terengganu in GE15.

“We have filed the petition on the basis of corruption,” he said, adding that 20 voters have come forward as witnesses

Our comment

As any movie watcher knows, Mafia Godfathers are always among those who profess their Catholic faith most loudly, attend church most religiously and claim to be the most holy of people whilst their minions murder and pillage their communities.

The bigwigs of the ‘Islamic religious party’ PAS need to demonstrate they are not at the same game in terms of rampant political corruption.

Handing out ‘student, youth and pension grants’ in neat little envelopes of cash, all at the same time days before an election and in the name of their political party, is very scant window dressing for buying votes at the taxpayer’s expense.

One wonders how the legislation for these grants was drawn up – did it specify that these support payments to the elderly and to college goers should be provided not as regular stipends or as lump sums before the start of term, but only when an election is suddenly called and in the form of cash handed out only by PAS party MPs?

If so, legal challenges would have been inevitable and they would have been won.

We await the outcome of Terengganu Umno chief Ahmad Said’s whistleblowing and if one scrap of what he says proves true the Marang MP, namely PAS leader Hadi Awang, should not only resign he should prepare to remove his pious devotions to within the four walls of a correctional institution.

And there ought to be a re-election in Terengganu.

Was UMNO's 'Big Steal' Theory Inherited By PN?

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has arrested the CEO of a private company for allegedly serving as a middleman in the distribution of government projects.

A source close to the matter linked the arrest to MACC’s investigation into the alleged misappropriation of Covid-19 stimulus packages worth RM92.5 billion by the former Perikatan Nasional-led (PN) government.

When contacted, MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki confirmed the arrest and said the case was being investigated under Section 16 (a) of the MACC Act 2009.

The source said MACC had opened investigation papers into at least five individuals believed to have been involved in helping companies obtain projects worth between RM50 million to RM500 million through direct negotiations linked to the stimulus packages.

The source added that several contractors who were also questioned admitted to agreeing to pay a commission of between 3-5% to be deposited into the account of a political party, which was supposedly meant as political funding.

“Almost 90% of the projects that were given through direct negotiations have not been implemented as no acceptance letters were issued,” the source said.

“Thus, MACC will focus on investigating the remaining 10% of ongoing projects. These projects are currently at only 10% to 20% of work completed.”

On Dec 15 last year, MACC raided eight government agencies and nine companies as part of its investigation into the alleged misappropriation of RM92.5 billion by the PN-led government.

A source close to the matter said the eight government agencies received a “huge allocation” from the stimulus packages approved by the government in 2020 and 2021…. The nine companies are believed to be “major suppliers” of the eight agencies.

Our comment

The Nazi theory that if you are going to lie make it a Big Lie seems to have its equivalent in UMNO/PN’s approach to stealing. When setting about abusing office to enrich themselves these political miscreants appear to have done it on an ever-increasing, jaw-dropping scale.

The practice appears not to have been deterred by the arrest and exposure of Najib Razak and so many of his political cronies. To the contrary, when Najib’s former deputy finally got his hands on the top job all the evidence indicates that new scales of larceny got underway under cover of the ‘Emergency’ and ‘Covid Stimulus Package’.

Meanwhile, previously arrested players such as Musa Aman saw their charges dropped – this being the lesson the new kings in the castle preferred to apparently absorb as Najib steadily progressed towards jail.

Based on the above information allegedly sourced from the MACC up to RM4.5 billion in ‘commissions’ had already been extracted on behalf of ‘a political party’ from the RM92.5 billion in un-tendered stimulus projects handed out under the PN led government.

That is considerably more than what Najib spent from his own 2013 billion dollar war chest which he had set up at AmBank using money stolen from 1MDB.

We will leave the MACC to continue their investigations under the present government. However, like so many Big Lies, those behind this apparent heist ought really to have learnt the lesson that Big Steals do tend to get found out in the end …. and punished.

Do Top Glove Fail To Understand The Concept Of Mutual Respect?

Leading rubber glove maker has struggled to shake off concerns about its labour practices Malaysia produces up to two-thirds of the world’s rubber gloves with Top Glove alone claiming a 26% market share © Samsul Said/Bloomberg

In a meeting room on the 21st floor of Top Glove Tower, the Malaysian headquarters of the world’s biggest rubber glove maker, two employees demonstrated the new company chant.

“Thumbs up, ready, one, two, three,” they said. “Clean well, eat well, work well, exercise well, sleep well. Healthy! Healthy! Healthy!”

In the 23-storey glass-fronted complex just outside Kuala Lumpur, staff are only allowed vegetarian food in the canteen and are “encouraged” to visit the in-house gym before or after work, a public relations employee told the Financial Times during a tour. Like other workers, she wore a badge that read: “Corruption and bribery is a crime. Be honest. No cheating.”

Top Glove, which has in recent years suffered its own reputational crisis, has a strong incentive to convince outsiders that it is committed to employee welfare and business ethics.

Until the Covid-19 pandemic, the group had quietly led a national industry that produced up to two-thirds of the world’s rubber gloves. Top Glove alone claims a 26 per cent market share.

Then, soaring demand for personal protective equipment drew international attention to the sector. Top Glove was hit with allegations of forced labour in its factories, leading to a US ban on its products. Similar bans have since been placed on three other groups.

Our comment

This outsider is left unconvinced.

Why is this wealthy company approaching its own well-publicised failures in terms of employee welfare by bullying and infantilising its workers further, treating them like CCP army recruits ?

Why should employees be asked to chant like children, be told what they can’t eat and herded into the gym (does the company keep a star chart)?

Of course, there is much to be said for encouragement and information on the subject of good health. However, in the case of Top Glove the publicised failings have been glaringly in the category of management, work practices and conditions not sloppy staff attitudes. No one has complained about the quality of Top Glove products.

As for corruption and bribery, what opportunities does a low paid migrant worker have to engage in such practices compared to company managers and directors, for example, who must daily be tempted to grease palms to gain business advantages and contracts?

So, instead of harassing workers for PR purposes these managers should concentrate on performing their duty of making sure their lives are tolerable (even enjoyable if possible?) and their conditions and remuneration at the very least fair.

To keep their minds on that duty it would be no bad thing for these managers to themselves perform their own chants outside the factory every morning, because it is they who need reminded to keep healthy in their minds, bodies and actions.

Leading by example not dictat is the way to reform.