Round Table Conference on Corruption to create a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday):
As Parliamentary Opposition Leader, I am convening a "Round Table Conference on Corruption - An Assembly of Voices" in Petaling Jaya at Tropicana Golf and Country Club (Meeting Room I) tomorrow 13th July 1997 at 9.30 a.m.

The "Round Table Conference on Corruption - An Assembly Of Voices" is conceived as a gathering of eminent personages to give their views and proposals as to how a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption could be created as the prerequisite for a good government and a clean society.

The panellists of the Round Table Conference include former Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin; the first ACA Director-General and former judge, Tan Sri Harun Hashim; former Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas; veteran journalist Tan Sri Samad Ismail; Director of Just World Trust Dr. Chandra Muzaffar; convenor of Transparency International (Malaysia) Tunku Aziz; Special UN Rapporteur on Independence of Judiciary and Lawyers, Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy; economist Dr. Jomo K.S; President of FOMCA, Prof. Hamdan Adnan; Secretary-General of HAKAM, Gurmit Singh and MP for Parit Sulung and Chairman of BackBenchers’ Club, YB Ruhanie Ahmad.

The Round Table Conference will be followed by "An Assembly of Voices" which will be a discussion involving panellists and guests. The Round Table Conference is not concerned about personalities or political parties but will focus on the need for creating the conditions in government and society where a new political culture for public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption could develop and flourish.

Public support is the most crucial factor for all anti-corruption efforts, for no drive against corruption can succeed unless it is a joint commitment involving the government, political parties, the private sector and the civil society such as religious leaders, professional organisations and NGOs.

In support of the all-out war against corruption that has been launched by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, all sectors of society, whether political parties, professional organisations, religious leaders, business organisations or community groups should be fully involved in a national awareness campaign to develop a new culture of zero tolerance for corruption.

In this connection, I am most happy to read in the press that the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club, together with three other organisations, is jointly organising a National Conference known as "Consensus Against Corruption" at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on July 19, which would be attended by MPs, politicians, officials from public sector, captains of industry, top corporate figures, NGOs and distinguished academicians.

There should be more such conferences, whether in the form of "Consensus Against Corruption" or "Round Table Conference on Corruption - Assembly of Voices" in order to create a national momentum to develop a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

Creation of special website for "Assembly of Voices" on developing a new political culture with zero tolerance for corruption on the Internet

As another contribution to creating a new political culture with zero tolerance for corruption, a special website has been created known as "Assembly of Voices - Zero Tolerance for Corruption" which will be a forum for discussion and exchange of views to raise national awareness about the need to create a system of national integrity in Malaysia.

The URL for this special website to be the forum for "Assembly of Voices - Zero Tolerance for Corruption" is:

For a start, this website has posted the present anti-corruption laws in the country, namely the Prevention of Corruption Act 1961 and the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 22/1970 as standard reference for discussion.

Once the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill is available, it would be posted on this website. It is also proposed to post the relevant anti-corruption laws of other countries when they are available.

This "Assembly of Voices - Zero Tolerance for Corruption" website will post a report of the discussions at the Round Table Conference on Corruption tomorrow, and it is hoped that this would spark off a nation-wide discussion on this important subject.

I will seek the support of MPs from Barisan Nasional, PAS and PBS for the proposal that Malaysia bid for the hosting of the 9th IACC in 1999

In the forthcoming meeting of Parliament, which begins on Monday, I will seek the support of MPs from Barisan Nasional, PAS and PBS for the proposal that Malaysia should make a bid to host the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Kuala Lumpur in 1999.

It is time that Malaysia make the debut in the global arena as a country which is serious in wanting to be recognised as among the "ten cleanest nations in the world" instead of being listed No. 26 out of 54 countries in the 1996 Transparency International’s international corruption perception index.

By hosting the the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will be sending a signal inside and outside the country that we are serious in wanting to root out corruption in the country and to create a new system of national integrity that would be the model in the world.

The 8th IAAC Conference will be held in Lima, Peru from 7 - 11 September 1997 and Malaysia should send a strong delegation, including a Parliamentary component, to the Conference to make the bid to host the next IACC Conference.

The July Parliament beginning on Monday will be unique in Malaysian history for in every one of the ten Parliamentary sittings, there would be at least one question on corruption during the question time.

On the first day, in fact, six questions on corruption had been submitted, four by the Opposition, one by the Independent MP and one by the Barisan Nasional.

My question on the first day is on the subject on corruption and it is slated to be the fourth question to be answered during the question hour, asking the Prime Minister "what actions and measures the Government has taken on all fronts to launch an all-out war against corruption whether in increasing powers to fight corruption; enhancing penalties for corruption offences; creating an anti-corruption political culture as in encouraging an investigative media, a more accountable public service and more transparent procurement and pricing policies whether by government or privatised agencies; or developing and/or strengthening anti-corruption watchdog mechanisms."

Altogether some 33 questions concerning corruption had been submitted for the 10-day Parliamentary meeting, most of them come from the Opposition, with 16 questions from the DAP, 5 questions from the PAS, two questions from PBS, one question from the one Independent MP and eight questions from the different Barisan Nasional MPs.

Considering that Barisan Nasional controls 87.5 per cent of the seats in Parliament, its MPs should be asking 87.5 per cent of the questions on corruption as well and not merely 24 per cent of the questions.

Be that as it may, it is my hope that all MPs, regardless of whether government or opposition, can stand united to make history so that future generations will remember this Parliamentary meeting as the one which laid an important basis for creating a new political culture of public integrity by enacting an anti-corruption law which signifies the country’s zero tolerance for corruption.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong