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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 22nd July 2009: 

Five prerequisites for Najib to demonstrate he has the political will to break the back of the problem of endemic crime which has given Malaysia an international notoriety of a nation where citizens, tourists and investors are not safe from crime

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib will announce on Monday details of the measures to fight crime under one of the six National Key Result Areas to be implemented in September.

Hishammuddin said the details to be announced by Najib would include the hot areas and crime statistics. Najib would also announce the co-operation to be effected with the non-police sector, such as the Attorney-General’s Chambers, courts and prisons.

In his “Hundred Days as PM” address on 11th July 2009, Najib announced a slew of goodies and pledged delivery of promises in six key areas, viz:

  • The prevention of crime;

  • The fight against corruption;

  • Access to quality education;

  • The improvement of the living standards for the lower income group;

  • Improvement of rural infrastructure;

  • Improvement of public transportation.

In less than a week, Najib’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas) in one of these six sectors, the fight against corruption, is in tatters and utterly discredited.

This is why the director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives Dr. Lim Teck Ghee has issued an Open Letter to the 41 members of the five Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board, committee and panels to resign collectively following the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC headquarters last Thursday as Malaysians have lost faith in the MACC and the five watchdog or advisory committees.

As Lim said:

“I myself have lost faith with the MACC and I must also declare here, with the advisory bodies which you are members of.

“I know some of you personally – a few for many years now. Because you are honourable people and had good intentions when you agreed to serve, I strongly feel that the only way for you to redeem that lost honour and integrity when Teoh Beng Hock died under the custody of the MACC, is for you all to resign en bloc.

“I know that it may prove difficult for you to resign all alone by yourself given the long and vindictive reach of our political authorities in dealing with individual dissent.

“But as a group, that decision to resign should be a lot easier.

“Not only will you redeem that lost honour and integrity when you resign but your decision will – in my view – impact positively on the political consciousness of the nation at large.

“With your decision, we can console ourselves that during this period of finger pointing and blame deflecting, there is a group of leaders that is willing to shoulder responsibility personally when things they are entrusted with go horribly wrong.”

These are very strong words but all the 41 members of these five MACC committees, the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, Special Committee on Corruption, Complaints Committee, Operations Review Panel and the Corruption Consultation and Prevention Panel must wrest with their individual conscience whether they are prepared to continue as “fig leaves attempting to cover up or justify the political agenda of an untrustworthy and disreputable agency”.

The dismal failure of one of Najib’s six key KPI/KRA areas is also the reason why veteran Umno/Barisan Nasional political leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has openly lambasted the MACC for becoming a “rogue” organisation, with a witness called up for queries ending up in a coffin as well as blasting the MACC for investigating minor cases while ignoring major examples of graft.

Actually, the rot of corruption and decadence has reached the highest levels of the seats of power in the country, as admitted by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in a wide-ranging interview with Sin Chew Jit Poh last Thursday and in his Sunday speech, where he said high-level corruption and abuses of power have reached all the way to the Cabinet, and lamented that corruption has now emerged from the “darkness” into the open under the Najib premiership to do their evil work.

But both the MACC and Cabinet have closed their eyes and ears to pretend Ong had never made such serious allegations of worsening corruption in the country, reaching all the way to the Cabinet?

Four of the five scrutinising bodies of MACC held an emergency meeting yesterday and collectively called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death.

But is this adequate? No, unless there is public confidence in the composition and terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry!

This is why in my Open Letter to the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers last evening, I had stressed that the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death must be the result of consultation with Pakatan Rakyat leaders with regard to its terms of reference and composition.

Furthermore, the Royal Commission of Inquiry should not be confined to investigating Teoh’s death but must be a wide-ranging remit to authorise a total review of MACC’s investigation procedures and its independence, professionalism and integrity particularly from political interferences and directions of the government-of-the-day.

Will Najib’s pledge to combat crime go the sorry way in the fight against corruption?

There are at least five prerequisites for Najib to demonstrate he has the political will to break the back of the problem of endemic crime which has given Malaysia an international notoriety of a nation where citizens, tourists and investors are not safe from crime, viz:

  • Appoint a new Inspector-General of Police to provide new police leadership to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional police service to carry out the three core police functions identified by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Police Commission, viz to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption and to protect human rights.

  • Name the capitals of crime in Malaysia, which will include Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, and the time-line to get rid of endemic crime in these capitals;

  • Ensure that the Home Minister is personally answerable to Parliament for the war against crime, with a progress report at every parliamentary meeting followed by a debate;

  • Revive and establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission, after suitable amendments; and

  • Establish an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee on Police and Crime to issue half-yearly reports on the police and crime situation in the country.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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