Not Only Must The Anti-Corruption Agency Be Independent And Answerable To Parliament, The Police Must Be Accountable To Parliament With An Annual Performance Report That Must Be Approved By Parliament.
Speech at the Cheras DAP dinner

Lim Guan Eng

(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): The World Bank academic report released on 9 May 2005 on local governance is shocking as it showed that the quality of governance in Malaysia from 1996 to 2004 has deteriorated alarmingly (see appendix). Based on six indicators from democratic rights, political stability, government effectiveness, government’s regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption showed marked deterioration that highlights the importance of restoring local government elections and making both the police and Anti-Corruption Agency independent and answerable to Parliament.

The worst decline in governance standards were in terms of democratic freedoms and human rights which went down from 51.8% in 1996 to 37.4% in 2004, a dismal failure mark. Malaysia would receive a pass mark if local government elections are immediately restored nationally and State elections granted in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur to achieve parity for the citizens of KL with other Malaysians.

Political stability, control of corruption and rule of law also declined from and average of 80% in 1996 to 60% in 2005. This shows the need for the Anti-Corruption Agency(ACA) not only to be independent and answerable to Parliament but that the police must be accountable to Parliament with an annual performance report that must be approved by Parliament.

As elected representatives of the people, MPs have a right to investigate and question the performance or non-performance of both ACA and the police in carrying out their duties. For too long has police misconduct allowed to go not only unpunished but also unaccounted for. DAP welcomes the proposed police reforms suggested by the Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin as Chair of the Royal Commission To Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police. 

Amongst the proposal is to set up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to investigate and punish wrongdoing. However, all laws approved would be meaningless if there is no political will and correct mindset to implement them. That is why the government must show the political will by not only approving these recommendations but also an annual audit check by Parliament on not just on the police but also the ACA.

To restore public confidence and the integrity of the police force from being tarnished by the misconduct of police personnel, there must be a complete overhaul and change of mindset by police personnel. First, zero tolerance of corruption must be enforced to ensure that the police personnel must not only be clean but must seen to be clean. Secondly, to avoid abuses of power, the police must always be reminded of the need to comply with human rights of those they are investigating or protecting.

Thirdly police must not become a political tool of the ruling party if they are to focus on their function to reduce crime. For instance it is sad that police resources are used by the ruling party to spy on opposition parties, when opposition parties are peaceful, crime-free and abide with the law. DAP wishes to propose that all police personnel should be directed towards fighting crime with other functions such as Special Branch to be taken by non-police trained civilians. It is a waste of public funds to spend so much money to train a policeman whose duties is limited to listening to political speeches.

There is a need to improve Malaysia’s international standards especially those conducted by internationally respected bodies from the World Bank or the World Economic Forum. Such studies have an impact on our economy by affecting Foreign Direct Investment Flows(FDI) into Malaysia. Is it a coincidence that FDI into Malaysia dropped 16% from RM 15.6 billion in 2003 to RM 13.1 billion in 2004.


*  Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General