DAP agrees that there be no "witch-hunt" to eradicate corruption but the all-out war against corruption must be sustained to create a new culture of integrity with zero tolerance for corruption


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday):
On his return from his two-month leave yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said that the government was not on a witch-hunt to eradicate corruption but a clean-up would be carried out if necessary.

DAP agrees that there be no "witch-hunt" to eradicate corruption and this is why when expressing support to the all-out war against corruption launched by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, I had made it clear that we are interested not so much about personalities, but in creating a new culture of integrity in political life and public service with zero tolerance for corruption.

The all-out war against corruption must have three dimensions:

Firstly, bringing the corrupt to book to show that it is not only the small fish who are caught, but also the big ones. Where there is evidence of corruption, whether small ones or big ones, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) must be able to bring them to justice or public confidence in its credibility and independence would be further undermined.

Secondly, prevention of corruption as changes in laws, practices, institutions, government structures and methods of assuring accountability, such as increasing powers for the ACA and enhanced penalities for corruption offences to make corruption a high-risk and low-profit undertaking.

Thirdly, educating and involving the whole society in developing a zero tolerance for corruption so as to create a new culture of integrity in political life and public services - as the fight against corruption is not just the responsibility of the ACA or even the government but the entire population.

I agree with the Prime Minister that an all-out war against corruption need not mean a witch-hunt, but it must be serious campaign involving all sectors of the society to create a new climate and culture for integrity.

At present, Malaysia is ranked No. 26 out of 54 countries in the 1996 Transparency Internationalís international corruption perception index. This is a ranking for which Malaysia cannot feel proud.

Let the all-out war against corruption aim at the national objective, in keeping with the Vision 2020 strategy of achieving a fully moral and ethical society, where Malaysia is universally recognised as ranked among the 10 top cleanest nations in the world in any international survey on corruption.

(23/7/97)


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