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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


1. In some ways Malaysia is ahead of some developed countries in the appreciation of what is right and what is wrong.

2. In the United States lobbying is permitted and honourable. Many famous figures, especially former members of the Government have firms which offer lobbying services.

3. Foreign countries, including Malaysia find this service very convenient. We lobbied for some favourable policy to be shown for palm oil, tin and rubber imports into the United States for example.

4. Independent think tanks can lobby for their ideas on foreign policy like the New American Century to be made the foreign policy of the United States. They were successful and a million Iraqis died as a result.

5. Before Castro the Cuban Lobby ensured that sugar produced by Cuba would be imported into the United States. Now an anti-Castro Cuban Lobby ensures that Cuban sugar is banned in the United States.

6. All these lobbyings are legitimate. You pay the lobbyists a fee (which need not be revealed) and they will lobby for whatever you want them to lobby.

7. In Malaysia we do not have professional lobbyist. But we also do not have a law against lobbying. Nor do we specify what constitute lobbying; which kind would be permissible and which would not.

8. But now we have apparently decided that lobbying is a crime and those who lobby or who are lobbied are criminals. I say, syabas Kerajaan you have made Malaysia more honourable than the United States.

9. Prime Ministers and Ministers and just about anyone with any influence or authority in Government are continuously approached to back someone or something. They may be asked to write letters in support of something or someone.

10. I should also mention Deputy Prime Ministers. They too are lobbied by a whole lot of people. I did not think they were doing something wrong.

11. But supposing a Deputy Prime Minister writes a letter of recommendation for his sister-in-law to an official or minister of another country who could be expected to take a serious view of the recommendation because the writer is a Deputy Prime Minister of a friendly country and the recommendation is for his sister-in-law, does this constitute lobbying, or corruption or abuse of power. We need to know so that such letters of recommendation would not be written again. We need to know if they were written before, can action be taken against them now since we are now taking action on things which happened in the past. By being very clear about the past, the present and the future Malaysia would become highly regarded as the epitome of righteousness and the practitioners of the rule of law.

By Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad

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