Abdullah should personally answer the question in Parliament on July 6 on the outcome of the 18 “high profile corruption” cases and end the contradictions,  confusion  and cover-up attempts of various Ministerial and government statements

Media Conference Statement
Day Two of the 240-km Karak-to- Kuantan  trek to “Support King and Prime Minister in the all-out war against Corruption”  
by Lim Kit Siang

(Bentong, Monday):  I have specially come to Ketari, Bentong to demonstrate my solidarity and support to the 240 km- Karak-to-Kuantan trek by the Eight Anti-Corruption Stalwarts led by Li Sin to “Support King and Prime Minister in the all-out war against Corruption”, which enters into the second day.

Li has told me that the Eight Stalwarts Against Corruption have been greatly inspired by the Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail in calling for a determined effort against the corrupt, irrespective of their rank or position in society, regardless of whether they involved prominent personalities or unkowns,  when speaking at the investiture ceremony marking his official birthday on June 6, and the Prime Minister’s  interview with CNN’s Talk Asia programme at the same time when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said  he would only be satisfied when  Malaysia’s corruption index has improved by leaps and bounds. 

The King and the Prime Minister’s inspirational pronouncements against corruption has fired Li and the Eight Stalwarts Against Corruption to make the 240-km Karak-to-Kuantan Anti-Corruption Trek with three  primary objectives:

  • To create greater public awareness to support the King and Prime Minister in an all-out war against corruption;
  • To set an example for all Malaysians of the need for individual involvement and commitment to create a new Malaysian culture of political and public  integrity with zero tolerance for corruption; and
  • To highlight a case of high-level corruption at the end of the 240-km Karak-to-Kuantan “Support King and Prime Minister’s all-out war against corruption” Trek, tentatively in Kuantan on Thursday morning.

Abdullah has raised high hopes not only in the country but also internationally that Malaysia will emerge as a new star in the world  stage in the fight against corruption. 

This is one reason why Abdullah had led the Barisan Nasional to the unprecedented landslide victory with  nine-tenth parliamentary majority in the last general election, winning over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats – a feat all the other four previous Prime Ministers could not accomplish.

After the great Barisan Nasional election victory, the time has come for delivery of Abdullah’s pledge for a clean, incorruptible, trustworthy and  people-oriented administration which is prepared to listen to the truth from the people.

This is why I am asking  Abdullah to personally answer my  question in Parliament in the July meeting of Parliament on the outcome of the 18 “high profile corruption” cases to end all  the contradictions,  confusion  and even “cover-up” attempts of various Ministerial and government statements on the “18 high-profile corruption cases”.

It is most unfortunate and distressing  that the first meeting of the  11th Parliament from May 17 to June 14 failed to communicate to Malaysians and the world the powerful message that there is now  a new-found political will on the part of the government and Parliament in an all-out war against corruption, because of three episodes: 

  • The attempt by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Aziz to explain away the “ another 18 high-profile corruption cases” disclosed by the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim on February 13, 2004  after the arrest and the charging of former Perwaja Steel Bhd chief executive officer, Tan Sri Eric Chia and the former Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam – as if the “another 18 high-profile corruption cases” have suddenly vanished into thin air.
  • The denial of Barisan Nasional authorization and even knowledge of the multi-million ringgit series of “BN phantom election advertisements” in the Chinese newspapers, in particular those depicting Abdullah as “modern-day Justice Bao” to “cleanse” a  BN government which was “corrupt and rotten to the very core”.  This raises the question whether the Barisan Nasional government has lost all the anti-corruption fervour expressed during the election campaign.
  • The lack of positive response to the proposal to establish a Select Committee on National Integrity to provide parliamentary leadership and support for Abdullah’s agenda of an all-out war against corruption.

Nazri had said in his reply during the winding-up of the debate on the Royal Address on 2nd June 2004 that  the 18 “high profile” corruption cases referred to by the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, in February this year had included former Perwaja Steel Bhd chief executive officer, Tan Sri Eric Chia and the former Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, when clearly this was not the case. 

Eric Chia was charged in court for corruption on February 10, 2004 and Kasitah Gaddam claimed trial  to corruption charges on February 12, 2004.  Rais Yatim only made the statement in Jelebu on February 13, 2004 that at least another 18 high-profile corruption cases were still with various authorities awaiting further action after the Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam cases. 

In his speech in Parliament, Nazri had sought to give an accounting of the “18 high-profile corruption cases”, that 12 had been charged in court and another six awaiting decision of the Attorney-General.  Nazri said that apart from Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam, the other 12 already charged in court were two  former Selangor executive councilors, two former MPs, two from Permodolan Nasional Bhd, the general manager from Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, the Telekom general manager, Kangar Municipal President and one former Perak executive councilor.

The case of the former  Kangar Municipal President, Baharudin Ahmad, who was charged in Kangar Sessions Court with four counts of corruption totaling RM387,500 on 9th February occurred a week before Rais Yatim’s statement and cannot be included among the “18 high-profile corruption cases”.  This is also the position with some of the cases cited by Nazri.

Furthermore,  all the other cases cited by Nazri do not qualify to be “high-profile cases” as defined by Rais, “mempunyai reputasi kepentingan awam yang tinggi, profile yang tinggi dan mempunyai tanggungjawab yang berada pada strata teratas”.

But the most fatal blow, the coup de grace so to say,  to Nazri’s attempt to explain away  the “18 high-profile cases”  had been delivered by none other than the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general, Datuk Zulkipli Mat Noor, who said  five days earlier in Bintulu on 27th May  that  the “18 high-profile corruption cases” had been completed and that the ACA was awaiting the decision of  the Attorney-General on the actions to be taken. Zulkipli’s Bintulu statement was reported by both Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia on 28.5.04.

Such confusion,  contradictions and attempt “cover-ups” about the outcome of the “18 high-profile corruption” cases can only create a serious credibility gap and a crisis of confidence as to whether the government has the political will to fulfill the King and the Prime Minister’s call for an all-out war against corruption.

It is for this reason that I have submitted a question in the July meeting of Parliament  asking the Prime Minister to personally explain the outcome of the ACA investigations into the “18 high-profile corruption cases” in the second day of Parliament on July 6.

Another serious blow to the government’s credibility about its political will to declare an all-out war against corruption is the denial by Nazri in Parliament  that the Barisan Nasional had given any authorization or even knowledge to a series of  full-page election advertisements  in the Chinese newspapers carrying the BN logo  on the war against corruption.

In the “phantom election advertisement” on  March 16, 2004, Abdullah was described as the “modern-day Justice Bao”, who has to cleanse  the BN government  admitted as “corrupt and rotten to the very core”.  As Nazri has denied BN authorization or knowledge of this “phantom” BN election advertisement, the implication is very serious – that  the Barisan Nasional landslide general election victory was the result of a  BIG LIE in the series of “phantom advertisement” including the “Justice Bao” and BN system “corrupt and rotten to the very core” advertisement.

Malaysiakini reported on Thursday that the police have identified the person(s) responsible for the phantom BN election advertisements, quoting  Petaling Jaya district police headquarters investigating officer Sarih Salleh as saying that they knew the culprit and mastermind behind the advertisements.

He said the Police  had interviewed several Chinese newspaper editors over the issue and will record  statements from several witnesses, including a minister.

I myself had given a statement to the PJ police on Wednesday, as I had lodged the police report in Petaling Jaya, Selangor while simultaneous police reports were also lodged by other DAP leaders in six other states on the phantom election poster, viz: Penang, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Sarawak on June 4.

As I had always said, the Police should have no difficulty in finding the culprit and mastermind of the phantom Barisan Nasional election advertisement, as millions of ringgit had been paid to the Chinese newspapers for them.

I commend the PJ police for narrowing down responsibility for the BN phantom election advertisements  to a Minister, for only the highest political authority could give clearance for such a multi-million ringgit full-page  election advertisement campaign  in all the Chinese newspapers during the last general election.

By a process of elimination, the Minister who must bear final responsibility can only be a MCA Minister – as it could not come from UMNO or MIC, and  it is quite safe to eliminate Gerakan and  SUPP.  The question is which one of the four MCA Ministers must bear responsibility for giving the political approval for the publication of the Barisan Nasional phantom election advertisement – and I call on the MCA Minister concerned to step forward and own up to  his responsibility.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman