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by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Monday
): How can Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Khir Toyo claim that Selangor is cleaner than Belgium when he is so protective of UMNO Majlis Perbandaran Klang(MPK) councillors such as Datuk Zakaria Mat Deros and Mazlynoor Abdul Latiff who abuses their powers? When Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Mohd Khir Toyo unilaterally declared Selangor as a developed state on 27 August 2005, he proudly claimed a study showed:-
· Selangor is more developed than New Zealand,
· Selangor has better university education than Singapore; and
· Selangor is less corrupt and cleaner than Belgium.
Very few are convinced that Selangor is more developed than New Zealand or that Selangor possesses better universities than Singapore. Most astounding of all is the claim that corruption is effectively controlled in Selangor until Selangor is cleaner than Belgium.
Belgium’s capital (Brussels) houses the European Commission. Belgium’s effectiveness in checking corruption is substantiated by Transparency International which placed Belgium as No. 17 in the World Corruption Perceptions Index(CPI). Belgium scored 7.5 out of 10 points in the CPI whilst Malaysia at No. 39, barely passed with 5 out of 10 points. Selangor is definitely not cleaner or less corrupt than Belgium.
The failure to sack councilors who abuse their powers only highlight the lie that Selangor is cleaner than Belgium. If such abuses of power happened in Belgium, not only would the councilors be forced to resign from all official posts, but they would also be prosecuted. However in “clean” Selangor, such action to ask Zakaria to resign is taken only after intervention by Sultan Selangor.
Zakaria should be asked to quit all public posts as he clearly shows that he is unfit to hold public office and be the people’s representative when he violates the very laws he has sworn to uphold and protect. The people ask why these two councilors were not directed to tear down their buildings as provided for under section 72 of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.
Or if the buildings were not required to be torn down, then Zakaria and Mazlynoor should be charged under Section 26(1) Town and Country Planning Act 1976 which provides that any person who commences, undertakes or carries out any development or permits the same to be done without any planning permission commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding RM500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both. In the case of a continuing offence, a further fine which may extend to RM5,000 for each day during which the offence continues after the first conviction for the offence.
Only a heavy fine of RM 500,000 and a jail term of up to 2 years would frighten Zakaria not to blatantly and openly violates the law. Zakaria would be frightened because he would be disqualified from his position as State Assemblyman and lose all his pension and gratuities were he to be punished with a fine exceeding RM 2,000 and/or imprisonment of more than a year.
The Selangor Menteri Besar should be ashamed that it required the Selangor Sultan to openly show leadership and personally intervene in public administration to force Zakaria to resign as MPK councilor. Were it not for the Sultan’s intervention, the Selangor Menteri Besar would not have the courage to ask him to resign by 8 November or be sacked?
DAP is disturbed not only at the lack of leadership but also at the inability of a duly democratically elected government to exercise their constitutional powers to act against those who break the law. This failure to punish UMNO leaders who offend the law would only result in loss of public confidence and public trust.
Whilst the public is grateful to the Sultan for intervening and at least showing that there is a leader willing to act against abuses of power, the failure of Datuk Mohd Khir Toyo to do so raises questions about his ability and capability to exercise his powers as Selangor Menteri Besar. The public can not expect the Sultan to intervene and take corrective action to cover up UMNO’s weaknesses every time Datuk Mohd Khir Toyo fails to perform his duties.
The Port Klang state assemblyman and Majlis Perbandaran Klang(MPK) councilor Datuk Zakaria Mat Deros’ actions in allowing his supporters to behave like hoodlums to forcibly prevent the public from expressing unhappiness with his abuse of power shows he has not learnt his lesson from the Sultan Selangor’s advice that Zakaria should seek forgiveness from the rakyat and those he had wronged.
DAP organized a peaceful meeting of local residents unhappy with the abuse of power by Zakaria yesterday morning comprising of more than 500 people at Zakaria’s “palace” valued at RM 8 million. Selangor DAP Vice-Chair Sivadurai was hurt and two cars belonging to DAP branches were damaged by hoodlums trying to disrupt the meeting.
DAP regrets the police failure to arrest these hoodlums.that despite such attacks happening in front of police. Zakaria should seek forgiveness from the people and those he has wronged as the people would not bow to such “violent” tactics by Zakaria’s supporters.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP