Parliamentary reply on
conferment of royal awards at the federal level completely unsatisfactory as
highlighted by the case of Tun-ship for Ling Liong Sik
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Thursday): The parliamentary reply given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum on the criteria for the conferment of royal awards at the federal level on Tuesday is completely unsatisfactory as highlighted by the case of the Tun-ship for the former MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik.
It is no use Mohd Johari Baharun, in his reply to the DAP MP for Cheras, Tan Kok Wai, saying that Tuns, Tan Sris and Datuks may be stripped of their titles if they are convicted of criminal offences, or that the government may push to have the Federal titles withdrawn if the recipients are found to have committed “major crimes”, when the government is unable to give a list of such revocations or withdrawal of titles.
Furthermore, Parliament and the nation has not been given a satisfactory explanation as to whether Liong Sik been cleared by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to be specifically conferred the nation’s highest honour of ‘Tun’.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said all Barisan Nasional candidates had to be cleared first by the ACA. As the Seri Setia Mahkota (SSM) award which carries the title ‘Tun’ is one of the nation’s highest honours conferred by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, Parliament and the nation are entitled to know whether Liong Sik had been specifically cleared by the ACA for this purpose.
This is a matter of great public interest, as the ACA had not been able to give a full and satisfactory accounting of its investigations into reports involving Liong Sik and his then 27-year old son Ling Hee Leong’s RM1.2 billion corporate acquisitions in a matter of months in 1996 and whether there had been improper Ministerial and political influence by his father as Transport Minister.
I myself had lodged an ACA report in 1997 and a second report in June 2003 on Liong Sik and Hee Leong.
Last August, DAP leaders went to the ACA headquarters in Putrajaya to find out the outcome of ACA investigations into the seven-year-case, and I was given two versions:
Whichever one of the two versions is more correct, the fact remains that ACA investigations into Liong Sik and Hee Leong are still open and pending, and not closed, and no proper or satisfactory reply has been given in Parliament on whether Liong Sik had been cleared specifically by ACA for the conferment of the high national honour of being made a Tun.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said in the current Parliamentary meeting that when someone under investigation is cleared of corruption, that fact will be made public
As Liong Sik, one of the “high profile” politicians under investigation by the ACA since 1997, had never been publicly cleared of corruption, why had the federal government recommended that he be conferred the “Tun-ship”?
As the reply in Parliament on the criteria for the conferment of federal awards is completely unsatisfactory, DAP has formed a committee headed by the DAP National Organising Secretary and MP for Cheras, Tan Kok Wai, to consider ways and means of pursuing the matter to fully restore public confidence in the credibility and integrity of federal awards.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman