Anti-Corruption Bill should be referred to Select Committee not only to allow for more mature study of how to enact a model anti-corruption law for the world but even more important to be the catalyst for a nation-wide crusade involving all sectors of society to make Malaysia universally recognised as one of the top ten least-corrupt nations in the world

Speech - Anti-Corruption Bill (Motion - Select Committee)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
I rise to propose that the Anti-Corruption Bill, which has been given the second reading, stand referred to a Select Committee.

As I had said during the debate, all MPs regardless of party affiliation, including from the Opposition parties represented in the House, support the Anti-Corruption Bill although there are differences as to how the war against corruption can be given real teeth and the "fear of God" instilled into all involved in corrupt conduct, whether the "small ones" or the "Big Ones".

Although I had faulted the government for not allowing for time so that there could be public participation, consultation and input on the Anti-Corruption Bill, I commend the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, firstly for piloting this Anti-Corruption Bill to Parliament and secondly, for allowing extensive debate on the Anti-Corruption Bill, as Dewan Rakyat had spent three full sittings on the Second Reading of the Bill.

However, the four-day debate by the Dewan Rakyat on the Anti-Corruption Bill can be no substitute for meaningful public participation, consultation and input on the Anti-Corruption Bill - and if Malaysia is maturing as a democratic polity and moving towards a more developed civil society, then the four-day Parliamentary debate on the Anti-Corruption Bill should be the culmination of a nation-wide process of public participation, consultation and input on the Bill rather than a total substitute for such a public consultation process - which is completely non-existent in this case, as the Malaysian civil society has not been consulted in any manner before the Anti-Corruption Bill was presented to Parliament for second reading.

At present, the Parliamentary debate is taking place in a national vacuum.

In fact, after following the four-day debate on the Anti-Corruption Bill in the Dewan Rakyat, I am even more convinced of the need to refer the Bill to a Select Committee, for there does not seem to be a proper understanding of the problem of corruption among some of the MPs who spoke in the debate or even the definition of corruption and most disturbingly, about the possible implications of the various provisions in the Anti-Corruption Bill.

Inadequate focus on "grand" corruption of high political and public officials

I am proposing that the Anti-Corruption Bill be referred to a Select Committee as the parliamentary debate during the second-reading of the Bill had failed to give adequate attention or focus to many important aspects of the problem of corruption, such as:

(The motion to refer the Anti-Corruption Bill was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat).


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