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National Integrity Plan becomes a joke with the 3-month dilly-dallying in clearing or charging Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum over RM5.5 million corruption allegations when investigations had been completed in past three months

Media Statement        
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Wednesday): The National Integrity Plan has become a joke with the three-month dilly-dallying in clearing or charging Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharum over RM5.5 million corruption allegations when investigations had been completed in the past three months. 

It was some 14 weeks ago that news reports of “Freedom for RM5m” (Star 3.3.07) “Pemimpin politik terima sogokan RM5j disiasat” (Utusan Malaysia 3.3.07) and “Probe on ‘VIP’ for Graft” (New Sunday Times 4.3.07) of the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations that Johari had released three men held under the Emergency Ordinance shocked Malaysians. 

The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general, Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan, was reported by the New Straits Times of April 21, 2007 as saying that the ACA had completed its investigations into the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations “shortly after” the deputy minister was questioned by ACA officials on March 19 and that the investigation papers were in the hands of the prosecution division. 

Yesterday, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail said he was still looking into investigation papers on Johari and the former ACA director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor, adding: “I have nothing else to say. I have to look at certain things more this afternoon.” (Sun) 

This is totally unsatisfactory, unacceptable and intolerable, raising the question whether the Attorney-General is fully committed to the National Integrity Plan and has placed the upholding of national integrity particularly among the top government leadership as top priority in the agenda of the AG’s Chambers. 

Why has the Attorney-General sat on the investigation papers by the ACA on Johari for some three months, only now talking about having “to look at certain things more this afternoon”, if the AG’s Chambers is serious about the National Integrity Plan? 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, should step in and assert leadership to ensure that the National Integrity Plan which he launched three years ago is taken seriously by the Attorney-General and all top government officials. 

Abdullah must be decisive and act on the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations – either clear Johari of the allegations or charge the Deputy Internal Security Minister for corruption. If more time is needed as investigations to date are unsatisfactory or incomplete, then direct Johari to go on leave until a definitive decision could be made, whether to clear or charge the deputy minister. 

Abdullah should also explain why the Attorney-General is procrastinating over police investigations into the serious corruption allegations made against the then ACA director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor by former Sabah ACA director and whistleblower Mohamad Ramli Abdul Manan in June last year, as the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan had said in April that the police had completed the investigations after taking statements from 30 persons and that the investigations papers had been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers. 

As Johari is also a Member of Parliament, I will raise the issue of the procrastination in taking action on the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations at the meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Code of Ethics for Members of Parliament on Monday. 

This will the first meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee since it was established by a motion of Dewan Rakyat on 13th December 2006, tasked with formulating a Code of Ethics for Members of Parliament.


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

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