Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 10th August 2009:
Why is MACC wasting time trying to find out whether all 42 advisory panel members share adverse opinions about MACC when it should be giving top priority to end gross abuses and malpractices to restore public confidence?
Why is the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) wasting time trying to find out whether all the 42 MACC advisory panel members share adverse opinions about the MACC following the mysterious death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock when it should be giving top priority to end gross abuses and malpractices to restore public confidence in it as Malaysia’s version of Hong Kong-style Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC)?
It is reported by Malaysiakini today that emails had been sent out recently by the secretariat to 33 members of the MACC Advisory Panel following six “offending” media statements made by panel members Ramon Navaratnam and Robert Phang.
The MACC wanted the views of the other panel members as it felt that the views of the two “were not supportive of the establishment of the anti-corruption body and wanted to know the views of other panel members on the issue”.
MACC is now run by narrow-minded and bigoted people who equate criticisms of MACC failings as being anti-MACC.
Malaysiakini reported that not everyone has responded so far, and of the handful who did, not even one panel member has been critical of Navaratnam or Phang.
Panel members Simon Sipaun and Yong Poh Kon were mentioned in the Malaysiakini report as members who were “equally critical” in their response to the MACC.
I support Yong’s view that the Advisory Panel has “a role to offer views to ensure that most MACC priorities are correct, the methods fair and that overall it gains the confidence of the public”; and that "to achieve this would need work by all members and an attitudinal and culture change in the MACC itself".
Stressing the need to get the support and confidence of the public to fight corruption,Yong said he believed that in Hong Kong, 97 percent of the population has confidence in the IACC and that the same cannot be said of the MACC.
Two weeks ago, in a Home Ministry website opinion poll on the police, 97% of those polled felt unsafe because of the high crime rate with only 1% feeling safe.
A Prime Minister’s Office website opinion poll for the MACC could be worse, with an even higher percentage than 97% expressing lack of confidence in MACC to wage an independent and professional war against corruption!
The top priority of MACC is to restore public confidence in its efficacy, independence and professionalism in the battle against corruption instead of trying to find out whether all the MACC Advisory Panels share the same criticisms as Navaratnam and Phang.
What will MACC do after the email views? Launch a witch-hunt to persecute and drum Navaratnam and Phang out of the Advisory Panels? Is MACC next going to sack Sipaun and Yong from the Advisory Panels as well?
The MACC should realise, swiftly and immediately, that in a matter of seven months of its operation from 1st January 2009, it had plunged the anti-corruption agency into a crisis of confidence which is unprecedented in the 41-year history of its predecessor, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) from 1967 to 2008 because of four primary reasons:
Instead of MACC quizzing the members of the Advisory Panel, it should be the various Advisory Panels which should be quizzing the MACC Chief Commissioner and officers to explain why MACC has plunged into its worse nadir of public confidence when even compared with ACA and in particular, the above-mentioned four factors resulting in the loss of public confidence in the MACC.
In fact the Advisory Panels should hold emergency meetings to demand that the MACC should halt its deviation and betrayal of its statutory objectives in the MACC Act by demanding an immediate halt of its war against Pakatan Rakyat – and to return to its original objective to declare war on corruption.
All members of the Advisory Panels must not only answer to their conscience but also to the Malaysian public why they have allowed the MACC to get out of control of all statutory and legal checks-and-balance as to become a catspaw of Umno and BN to go on a rampage against the Pakatan Rakyat.
I will demand in Parliament an accounting by all the MACC Advisory Panels as to what they have done to arrest and check the MACC from betraying its statutory objectives.
The various MACC Advisory Panel composition are as follows:
Anti-Corruption Advisory Board members
Abdul Hamid Mohamad
Special committee on corruption
Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad
Mohd Nor Abdullah
Operations review panel
Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil
Corruption consultation and prevention panel
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor