Why this is necessary and how is it related to corruption, cronyism & misuse of power ......... ? Let me express my opinion....,
It has been decades since the last pay rise among the public servants taking place in this country. In the meantime, living standard among people in Negara Brunei Darussalam continues to improved.
The socio-economic state of the country has always been good and stable despite global depression and negative financial growth experienced by other countries regionally and internationally.
Alhamdulillah, by bless of Allah S W T, Negara Brunei Darussalam is least affected by financial, social and political de-stability that is happening around the world at present moment.
Aside from our oil & gas export, this country is predominantly an import driven economy. Almost everything is imported - from building & construction materials, clothings, furniture, agricultural products, cooking oil, other domestic products and many many more.
Despite it's small population, Bruneians are regarded as one of the big spending consumers. With excellent infrastructure and well established financial systems and regulations, it is reasonably easy to get financial (personal) loan & assistance in this country. This can only help to increase Brunei people ability to purchase consumer goods available in the country. Quite so often the Bruneian tend to get carried away with their purchasing activities and this lead to an overspending habit. This resulted in spending in excess of individual financial mean. Situation would get worse for those who have large family with low income and / or those who are shopaholic.
It is not a secret that lots of Bruneians are living in heavy debt. Every day in local newspapers we can read reports on bankruptcy cases. In the local papers we also regularly come across reports on cases related to corruption and misuse of power involving Private and Public servants.
Let's look at this phenomena closely. Without getting any annual salary rise / adjustment, coupled with ever increasing cost of living attributed partly by increase in cost of consumable goods being purchased to make a living, and not least an overspending habit, many local people resorted to doing some borrowing. This would only make situation worse. So what else could be done to bring in additional income to clear the ever increasing debt or to make ends meet from month-end to the next month-end.
One likely area to be exploited is tendering and contracting processing and management.
As it stand right now, despite every effort being put in by relevant Government agencies including proactive role by Anti Corruption Bureau, acts of corruption and misuse of power are rampant in the country particularly in the Government sectors. Those who got caught and eventually prosecuted (and majority of whom is regarded as 'small fries') represent a mere tip of an iceberg !!!
These people normally caught in the act while their pants are down. Those who are not get caught in the act or smart enough not to be caught with their pants down are still active and reaping handsome benefit (albeit unfairly and illegally) from it at the expense of Government money. Why and how Government money ?
All contract let by the Government are budgeted by the Government.
What these corrupted people are doing is taking a slice of the allocated budget for personal gain. The higher the position the person is holding the easier for him to take such slice.
With his influence, he can bring in his crony to do his dirty work. To ensure his slice is secured he or his crony will collude with one or more of the bidders by making certain that their submission always get the award. Built into the total contract value of such awarded contract is a percentage for himself.
Another way is to abandon recent tender and re-tender. With the knowledge gained from the previous tender, it is so easy to direct his crony to set a new bid which would be slightly below the lowest bid from the previous tender. Another possibility is by disqualifying technical submissions of others in favor of own crony's. It is also observed that it is not uncommon that several companies owned by same person accepted to bid for same tender. This certainly increase chances of winning contract.
All these acts are carried out in order to gain that additional income to top up their own little salary that never get increased for years. On reflection, although such act is wrong, unacceptable, unethical, unfair and illegal, people have no shame doing it because they know that they have no much other option. In a way, this is a self-inflicted problem on the part of the Government.
Perhaps, if the people are provided with reasonable pay hike on periodic basis they would feel that they are appreciated and rewarded. This can only strengthen their loyalty and work ethic. And hence they would not be tempted to resort to such illegal act of corruption.
It is quite difficult to determine how much in total amount from the Government money over these years had been siphoned by those scrupulous corrupted people. It could be in millions of dollars or even billions or tens of billions or hundreds of billions. Whatever the amount if it were to be allocated as budget provision for pay rise that involves every Government servants over these years, wouldn't that be better and fairer - where everyone sharing a slice of the pudding !
That's all I can share for now. I hope this can give all of us an inspiration for the interest of our beloved country.
TITAH DIJUNJUNG.. MEMPERKASAKAN RAKYAT
Dr Haji Mohd Hatta Bin Hj Zainal Abidin PSB, PJP