Row between Datuk Nazri Aziz and Datuk Nordin Ismail highlights the urgent need for making the ACA an independent body answerable only to the Parliament

Media Statement
Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): ACA Investigation Director Datuk Nordin Ismail said two  days ago that the agency would no longer be lenient to any witness required to give statements to assist in its  investigations and it would apply warrant of arrest against uncooperative witnesses including Ministers. 

He said in the past ACA had practiced diplomacy.


In response, Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Nazri Aziz asked why should ACA jump when asked to speed up investigations. He warned Nordin not to threaten Ministers. He was quoted as saying, “ I want to remind him for the last time that he is a government servant and in this structure, Ministers are his superiors and he is answerable to us”.


What Nordin said was merely stating legal powers which have been provided to the ACA and there is therefore  no necessity for Nasri to react in such an emotional manner .


His remarks are uncalled for and have in fact put in jeopardy the public image and  credibility of the ACA.


However, the question that the public are entitled to know is  why has ACA been diplomatic with Ministers?


Nordin should also explain firstly, investigations into how many cases have been delayed due to the diplomacy shown by the ACA and secondly, whether some ministers have been uncooperative.


Two fundamental questions which have surfaced in the row between Datuk Nazri and Datuk Nordin that must be addressed are: 


  1. Although the laws provide the ACA with powers to issue warrants of arrest against anyone who refuses to provide statements, why has ACA chosen to practice leniency and diplomacy, especially when the witnesses are Ministers?
  1. How could there be public confidence that ACA will be able to carry out its investigations fairly and effectively when a Minister could openly say that the Ministers are their superiors?


I therefore call on the Prime Minster Abdullah Badawi to  show his political will to wage an all out war against corruption in the country by immediately carrying out  a total revamp of the ACA and  making it an independent body answerable only to the Parliament. 


* Kerk Kim Hock,  DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka