Police and ACA Cases: AG should
reveal the number of investigation papers still pending for action in
the Attorney General ‘s Chambers
by Kerk Kim Hock
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail said yesterday that his Chambers was ready to carry out its duty to ensure investigations of police and ACA cases are conducted speedily, properly and in the most efficient and professional manner.
DAP welcomes such an announcement by the Attorney General. I wish to, however, call on the AG to reveal the number of police and ACA investigation papers which have been sent to his Chamber for actions but are still unresolved.
I had last year asked a parliamentary question on the progress of a police report lodged against a Johore Barisan Nasional elected representative alleged of having committed criminal breach of trust, the answer given was that investigation papers had been sent to the AG’s Chambers. Since then, no one knows what is the outcome.
I have also recently made general enquiries with the ACA with regard to past reports lodged by DAP leaders and I was told that ACA normally sets a time frame of 3 months to complete their investigations and upon completion, the papers are sent to the AG’s Chambers for decision.
The ACA itself does not know what is the outcome until it is informed of the outcome of decisions made by the AG’s Chambers.
Hence, AG Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail should reveal, as at today, the total number of police and ACA investigations papers which have been sent to his office for decision but are still pending, otherwise it is unfair for the Police and the ACA to be publicly blamed if the delay is caused by the AG’s Chambers.
I also call on the government to amend Section 21(4) of the ACA Act 1997, so as to allow the ACA to be able to shed some light on reports lodged with the ACA, especially on cases involving public fund mismanagement or misappropriation committed by politicians or government servants.
Tough government leaders have recently been talking about the need to keep the complainants or the public informed about the status of investigations of ACA reports, the government itself has even used the above section to avoid giving the slightest information in its parliamentary replies.
I have asked a parliamentary question on 3.4.2003 on the number of politicians from Malacca who were being investigated by the ACA and the types of allegations lodged against them.
Though the reply given mentioned that investigations were still being investigated against three politicians, a fact which was already reported by the printed media , , no other detail was given as it stated that Section 21(4) of the Anti Corruption Act 1997 prohibited the disclosure of any information of report lodged to anyone except the ACA officer or the Public Prosecutor.
Section 21(4) reads:
“ Sesuatu aduan yang dibuat dibawah subsyeksyen (1) hendaklah dirahsiakan dan tidak boleh didedahkan oleh mana mana orang kepada mana mana orang selain pegawai pegawai Badan dan Pendakwa Raya sehinggalah orang tertuduh di pertuduh dimahkamah atau suatu kesalahan dibawah Akta ini atau mana mana undang undang bertulis lain berbangkit daripada aduan itu.”
Obviously such a clause, which is basically intended to prevent any disclosure which may allow the suspect the opportunity of destroying any evidence, has been used to avoid revealing the nature of allegation and status of investigation.
Hence, if the government is sincere and serious in wanting to keep the public informed about the status of investigations of reports lodged, it must amend the above Section in the coming September parliament meeting.
* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General & MP for Kota Melaka