(Penang, Sunday):DAP welcomes the proposal as reported in the New Sundays Times today to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act to give the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) powers to forfeit the properties of a person suspected of corruption even though there is no prosecution and to enable the ACA to go after properties found to have been acquired through corruption.
It is a mark of the failure of the anti-corruption campaign in the past three decades that there had not been a single instance of confiscation of the ill-gotten gains of the corrupt in high political places, which could run into tens and even hundreds of millions of ringgit of property and wealth.
Such a law to confiscate the ill-gotten gains of the corrupt in high political places is long overdue, and unless there is a first instance of such confiscation, Malaysia cannot claim to have made a serious start in declaring an all-out war against corruption, regardless of rank or status, without fear or favour.
I call on the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Cabinet on Wednesday to take a policy decision to make anti-corruption the highlight of the July meeting of Parliament just as computer laws was the highlight of the April/May meeting of Parliament.
There is no reason whatsoever why amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act should wait until end of the year to be tabled in Parliament, as the Anti-Corruption Agency under the former Director-General, Tan Sri Zulkifli Mahmood, had submitted proposals for a comprehensive anti-corruption law as far back as 1991.
The Cabinet should direct the Attorney-Generalís Chambers to be in line with national aspirations and to give top priority to present amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act to the July meeting of Parliament in keeping with a new national resolve to declare all-out war against corruption.
The Attorney-Generalís Chambers would be failing to take national aspirations into account if it continues to drag its feet on the urgent need to have new and powerful anti-corruption laws when the Cabinet, Parliament and the nation are ready for immediate action in the July meeting of Parliament.
If the Attorney-Generalís Chambers is not ready to table amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act, I I will demand to know in the July meeting of Parliament why the Attorney-Generalís Chambers have failed the national aspirations in this regard, and to give a full report as to the various stages of formulation of amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, including the outcome of the legislative proposals submitted by the former ACA Director-General more than five years ago.
If the Attorney-Generalís Chambers cannot give top priority to the need to introduce amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, then the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah should submit a personal statement to Parliament next month to explain his stand and commitment on the urgent need to have new and powerful laws to fight corruption in high political places.