Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 19th May 2010:
Radzi doing the nation a grave disservice in down-playing the public crisis of confidence facing MACC
The Chairman of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Corruption, former Home Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad is doing the nation a grave disservice in downplaying the crisis of confidence facing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Radzi said in Parlimanet after the meeting of the Special Committee on Corruption that MACC’s image has suffered after Teoh Beng Hock’s death and loss of several court cases.
MACC’s image was already on the nosedive before Teoh Beng Hock’s tragic death at the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16 – as the MACC did not act as an independent, professional and fearless fighter against corruption but conducted itself as a shameless catspaw of Umno/Barisan Nasional to further their ulterior political agenda against the Pakatan Rakyat – but Teoh Beng Hock’s death sent MACC into a tailspin into the abyss of infamy from which it had not yet been able to redeem itself.
This was why nobody shed any tears when the first MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan retired early under a cloud for MACC under him had ended its first year with lower public confidence and esteem than when it started – actually fulfilling the worst fears of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah had warned at the belated launching of MACC on 24th February last year that the MACC should not end up as just pretty window-dressing of its predecessor the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).
The then Prime Minister had admitted the public perception of the ACA as “not being independent, of being a toothless tiger, of practicing selective enforcement, being late in taking action and not being professional in its investigations has damaged its image and credibility”.
Abdullah had announced at the launch of the MACC that the new anti-corruption body was to mark “the beginning of a very important chapter in Malaysia’s agenda to strengthen integrity and fight corruption” with the MACC able to stand up to scrutiny.
It is sad, tragic but true that in its first year of operation, the MACC was guilty of all the sins of the ACA and more.
What has the second MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassin Mohamed done to arrest and reverse the collapse of national and international confidence – powerfully illustrated by the shameful plunge of Malaysia’s ranking in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2009 to an unprecedented low, No. 56, which is 33 rankings lower than 15 years ago, No. 23 in 1995, the first Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index?
Radzi and the Special Committee on Corruption that he heads should be addressing these nettlesome issues.
Instead, he has evaded them and is helping to find excuses for MACC, saying that the MACC should be given time to find its footing because it’s so new – just formed one-and-a-half years ago.
Hey, Radzi, are you sleeping? MACC cannot claim to be only one-and-a-half years old – when it is in fact the successor to Anti-Corruption Agency, and together, is now with a history of 43 years!
MACC was established to begin a new chapter in the history of corruption-fighting – to start with a bang as Malaysia’s version of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) from Day One, and not to further deteriorate and degenerate until the Chairman of the Special Committee on Corruption has to plead for more time for MACC on the ground that it has only been established one-and-a-half years ago!
Parliament enacted the MACC Act 2009 and entrusted the Special Committee on Corruption to advise the Prime Minister on any aspect of the corruption problem in Malaysia; to examine the annual report of the MACC; examine the comments of the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board and to seek clarifications and explanations on the annual report of the Commission and the comments of the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board.
Under the MACC Act, the Special Committee shall make an annual report on the discharge of their functions to the Prime Minister who shall lay a copy of that annual report before each House of Parliament.
The MACC Act did not provide that the Special Committee on Corruption must meet the Prime Minister to get guidance on how to submit its annual report and recommendations for tabling in Parliament, as is suggested by Radzi.
Why should the Special Committee on Corruption, comprising Parliamentarians from both Houses act as if it is subservient and beholden to the Prime Minister when writing its annual report – which goes against all principles of parliamentary independence and sovereignty as well as the doctrine of separation of powers.
In fact, to make the point that the Special Committee on Corruption is not subservient and a creature of the Prime Minister, it should not meet the Prime Minister before it has completed and signed off its Annual Report on the MACC.
The Special Committee on Corruption should only ask for a meeting with the Prime Minister after it had completed its Annual Report and not before!
Parliament is reconvening on June 7 for a six-week meeting. Radzi must see to it that the first annual report of the Special Committee on Corruption is tabled in Parliament by the first sitting or he would be failing in his duty – both to Parliament and the nation.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor