Focus View
Do away with support letters
FocusM team | 13 Oct 2017 00:30
Anyone can be a bogus dentist. And if you somehow get caught, you might escape a jail term. 

The most recent case of a fake dentist which received wide publicity was that of a part-time waitress who operated a dental clinic. She couldn’t pay the fine and had to serve a six-month jail term. 

Fortunately for her, some parties came to her aid by raising funds so she could pay the fine and leave prison. From the many comments, it’s sad that many Malaysians cannot distinguish right from wrong. Bogus doctors pose a severe danger to life as they could administer the wrong treatment. It can even lead to death.  

But what is interesting is that this particular fake dentist claimed she had secured a letter of support from a deputy minister. That particular deputy minister later denied that he supported her and that the letter was issued in his capacity as a member of parliament.      

Politicians have a tendency to issue support letters to their supporters or other members of the public without question. This is perplexing. 

In August, a minister confessed to issuing letters of support to the immigration department in support of a foreign businessman although he didn’t know him personally. When queried, the minister said anyone who goes to his service centre for a support letter will be given one.

In 2009, it was reported that letters of support issued by a minister had no implied guarantee by the government on the repayment of funds secured by the Port Klang Authority.

From all this, can it be inferred that support letters by politicians should not be taken seriously? Are they issued merely to get support but have no clout? 

If these support letters have no value, why do people even bother asking for them? Could it be the perception that such letters do carry some weight?   

And if they do carry weight, why pressure civil servants? It smacks of abuse of power. Civil servants must be allowed to scrutinise all applications or requests based on their merit and make decisions without pressure from politicians. 

So, it’s best if politicians stopped this dubious practice of issuing support letters. It is a mockery of the government’s drive towards a more transparent and corrupt-free administration.