Call for Commission of Inquiry into Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam agricultural park scandal and farce and all forms of corruption, abuses of power and malpractices  involving Selangor State Government, Selangor PKNS and state municipal authorities

Media Conference Statement
- at  the “Return the Third Vote – Restore Local Government” campaign

by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Saturday): The four-day thunderous silence in Malaysia on the 2005 PERC corruption ranking as well as the farce of the Bukit  Cahaya Seri Alam agricultural park are sad but potent indicators of a  new denial syndrome afflicting the country  – that little headway had been made in the fight against  corruption in the   17 months of premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. 

For the past four  days, I have been waiting for a response or reaction in Malaysia to the latest 2005 annual graft rankings by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. (PERC), but there has only been thundering silence from the government, the anti-corruption agencies or institutes, and  the Malaysian media – casting a most adverse reflection not only on the anti-corruption commitment of the new Prime Minister and his administration, but also on the parlous state of the media and freedom of information, and the commitment of Malaysia to a K-based economy where knowledge is the most critical factor of production.


In the latest PERC annual corruption table in Asia  released on Tuesday, which every year is based on a poll of expatriates working in Asia on their perceptions on corruption,  Malaysia had fallen two places and ranked No. 6 as compared to 10 years ago, when Malaysia was ranked No. 4, losing  out to South Korea and Taiwan in the past decade, as well as having a worse corruption score, as follows:


Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) Corruption Survey


  1996       2005  
  Rank Score  Rank Score
Singapore 1.09 1 0.65
Japan 1.93   3.46
Hong Kong 3 2.79 3 3.50
Malaysia 4 5.00 6.80
South Korea 5 5.16 6.50
Taiwan 6 5.53 4 6.15
Thailand 7 6.55 7 7.20
India 8 6.86 9 8.63
Philippines 9 6.95   11 8.80
Indonesia 10 7.69 12 9.10
Vietnam  11 7.78 10 8.65
China 12 8.00 8 7.68


(Grades are scaled from zero to 10, with zero being the best grade possible and 10 the worst)


With a grade of 5.0 ten years ago, Malaysia just passed the corruption grade, but today, Malaysia has failed the corruption score with 6.80 grade.


In actual fact, Malaysia’s grade of 6.80  in the 2005 PERC Corruption Survey is an improvement from last year’s grade of 7.33, which was a serious deterioration from the 2003 PERC score of 6.00 – which was explained by PERC last year as “largely due to the willingness of the government under Prime Minister  Abdullah Badawi to admit that the problem of corruption exist, compared with the rule of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad”.


In releasing its 2004  Corruption Survey last year, PERC clarified on the deterioration of Malaysia’s score from 6.00 in 2003 to 7.33 in 2004:


“It does not mean that corruption has actually increased this much in the past year but the latest grade is a correction from underestimates in earlier years.”


The consultancy held Malaysia was an example of a country where the perception grade has worsened but the problem of corruption was being addressed more decisively.


What is the explanation for Malaysia’s inability to improve on its grade in the latest  PERC Corruption Survey to before the assumption of the premiership by Abdullah, or to get a passing grade of below 5.0, despite the anti-corruption campaign  being elevated as a top priority agenda?


Yesterday, three development companies, including the state-owned Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS), were fined a total of RM840,000 for carrying out illegal work on three separate pieces of land in connection with the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam agricultural park scandal.


Such fines do not fully address the problem of full accountability and the development of a culture of responsibility, and is in danger of becoming a farce, as the Chairman of PKNS is none other than the Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo himself.


What responsibility and accountability are being borne for the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam agricultural park scandal by the PKNS and its Chairman, the Shah Alam Municipal Council,  the Selangor Mentri Besar and the State Excos respectively?


Abdullah  should institute a Commission of Inquiry into the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam agricultural park scandal investigating into the degree of responsibility that must be borne by the Selangor State Government, in particular the Mentri Besar and State Excos, the Selangor PKNS and the Shah Alam Municipal Council and all other  forms of  corruption, abuses of power and  malpractices at these level of governance to set a new example of integrity and good governance under his premiership – that he is serious in  not “cakap tak serupa bikin” and is prepared to walk the talk of his pledge of a clean, incorruptible, efficient, accountable, people-oriented good governance.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman