(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Attorney-Generalís Chambers have clarified that its Head of Prosecution Division had received the Investigation Paper on the Anti-Corruption Agencyís report on the first part of its corruption investigations into former Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Muhammad bin Muhammad Taib only on the 1st of June 1998.
This was in response to my statement yesterday, deploring the "business as usual" attitude of the Anti-Corruption Agency, with no new sense of urgency whatsoever in the anti-corruption drive although Malaysians had expected a new era in the fight against corruption - but the people have found that corruption investigations into well-known individuals were going nowhere, whether Muhammad Taib, Ling Hee Leong or Eric Chia.
I had expressed the disappointment of Malaysians at the spectacle of the ACA and the AGís Chambers passing the buck from one to the other on the corruption investigations into Muhammad Taib.
This was because the ACA director-general Datuk Shafee Yahya had said the agency had completed the first part of its investigation into Muhammad Taib which started the moment Muhammad was detained for failing to declare more than A$1.2 million when he left Brisbane International Airport on December 26, 1996, and which had been submitted to the Attorney-Generalís Chambers for a further directive before proceeding with further action. The second part of ACA investigations into Muhammad Taib is still underway.
On Monday, the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah said he had not "personally seen the papers submitted by the ACA" and "It is therefore inappropriate for me to comment on it."
This caused me to ask when the Attorney-General would get to "personally see" and decide on the first part of the ACA investigations into Muhammad Taib and to question his effectiveness, sense of priority as well as commitment to the fight against corruption.
In view of the clarification from the Special Officer to the Attorney-General, Shamsuddin bin Haji Hassan today that the ACAís Investigation paper on Muhammad Taib was received by the Head of Prosecution Division, Attorney-Generalís Chambers only on 1st of June 1998, I unreservedly withdraw and apologise for any imputation on the effectiveness, sense of priority and commitment to the fight against corruption arising from the ACAís Investigation Paper on the corruption probe of Muhammad Taib.
However, I reserve the right to make all or anyone of these imputations if there is inordinate delay on the part of the Attorney-Generalís Chambers to act speedily on the Investigation paper submitted by the ACA. In view of the need to give the anti-corruption drive topmost priority, and to make an example of such a new commitment, there is no reason why the Attorney-Generalís Chambers cannot come to a decision within two weeks and to inform the Malaysian public of such a decision.