(Petaling Jaya, Monday): I will seek an appointment with the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to give full support for an all-out war against corruption so that Malaysia is admired and emulated internationally as a clean and honest country, rather than at present, being regarded as a corruption-infested society which was ranked No. 26 out of 54 countries in the Transparency Internationalís international corruption perception index last year.
The pledge by Anwar in Jerlun yesterday that there would be absolutely no compromise when it comes to wiping out corruption and that action would be taken against those suspected of being corrupt, whether ministers, UMNO leaders, Barisan Nasional leaders or senior government officers have strengthened my hope that at long last, Malaysia might be seeing a serious campaign against corruption in high political places for the first time in national history.
Anwarís disclosure that he was entrusted by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad before going on leave "to be firm in curbing corruption and not to tolerate it among the top leaders" should end speculation as to whether the recent anti-corruption measures taken recently were soley the decisions of the Acting Prime Minister without the blessings of the Prime Minister and that these decisions might be overturned on Mahathirís return from leave.
Anwar said that before going on leave, Mahathir told him: "We have to start from the stop...if we are only concerned about nabbing those who accepted RM20 and let those accepting RM2 million and RM3 million go scot-free, we will face the consequences of losing the peopleís support".
This had been the crux of the DAPís case against the anti-corruption record of the government in the past three decades - that the Anti-Corruption Agency could only act against the "ikan bilis" but not the "ikan yus" of corruption.
As the Government has now announced its resolve to "start from the top" to clean up the government, the DAP will give full support to the Governmentís all-out war against corruption.
An all-out war against corruption is not achieved merely by the arrest and prosecution of a former Malacca State Executive Councillor or the sacking of a UMNO Deputy Minister for her involvement in the "missing" RM1.8 million from the Wanita UMNO account and her suspension from all party posts, or even the requirement that all new State Exco members are required to declare their assets to the Anti-Corruption Agency before taking office, but must involve the fostering of a new political culture to uproot and replace the culture of corruption or tolerance of corruption which had been prevalent in the Malaysian political system and government.
This is why the government must show its sense of seriousness and urgency by making its anti-corruption drive the highlight of the July meeting of Parliament, just as computer laws were the hallmark of the April/May meeting of Parliament.
This is why the introduction of new anti-corruption laws to give new powers to the ACA and to enhance penalties for corruption offences must be speeded up for the July meeting of Parliament, and it is a completely unacceptable reason that the Attorney-Generalís Chambers is not ready to present such a Bill to the July meeting of Parliament.
This would give the unfortunate impression that the Attorney-General is completely out of touch with national aspirations to create a clean, honest and incorruptible government, that while the country, including the Government, Parliament and the people want firm and immediate action to give teeth and substance to an all-out war against corruption, the Attorney-Generalís Chamber is indifferent and unsympathetic to these national aspirations.
In my meeting with the Acting Prime Minister, I will propose that the government should adopt "Zero Corruption" as a national objective, which should aim to make Malaysia universally recognised to be among the 10 cleanest and least corrupt nations in the world - instead of being placed in the 26th position out of 54 countries in the Transparency International's international corruption perception index for 1996.
I would also urge the Government to introduce amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act to
But most important of all, I would wish to discuss with Anwar the possibility of slotting into the July meeting of Parliament amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as well as a major parliamentary debate to highlight the countryís new resolve to declare an all-out war against corruption, regardless of rank or status, without fear or favour.
DAP fully supports the call by the Sabah UMNO Youth that a Sabah Minister under investigation by the ACA go on long leave so that investigations could be conducted independently without hitches.
Sabah UMNO Youth chief, Jema Khan Datuk Majid said in Kota Kinabalu yesterday that the Sabah Chief Minister should advise the minister concerned to take leave.
He said Sabah UMNO Youth did not want people to conclude that the state administration was corrupt just because one state minister was under investigation. He also urged all members of the Sabah state cabinet and government officials to declare their assets.
The Sabah UMNO Youth leader must be commended for showing that he has understood as to what is required in a new political culture which has no room or place for corruption, and I hope that more UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders can follow his example.
It is not only the Sabah Minister who is under ACA investigation who should go on leave until he is either cleared by the ACA or charged in court, the same should apply to the other six State Exco members in Malacca, Johore, Pahang, Kedah and Selangor who are also under investigations by the ACA.