Call on the  Prime Minister to state whether he had intevened and saved  Rafidah Aziz from being  the first Cabinet Minister in Malaysia  to be arrested and charged for corruption


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 
 

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): In his first police report against corruption in high places on July 9, 1999, former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim  had alleged interference of justice  by  the Prime Minister,  the Attorney General Mohtar Abdullah  and Public Prosecutor Abdul Gani Patail in shielding Datuk Paduka Rafidah  Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry from being  prosecuted in court on five corruption charges.
 
Anwar referred to a document of the Prosecution Division, Attorney General's Office dated 14 March, 1995 signed by Abdul Gani Patail, which was  handed to  him  when he was Deputy Prime Minister by Attorney General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah towards the end of 1995. The document clearly stated there was prima facie basis to prosecute Rafidah Aziz on five counts of corruption under Section  2(2),Emergency Ordinance 22, 1970 in connection with her duties as Minister for International Trade and Industry.
 
Anwar said the Attorney General being satisfied with the investigations carried out by the Anti-Corruption Agency was ready to prosecute Rafidah Aziz on five corruption charges in connection with the allotment  of 1.5 million Leader Universal Holdings Bhd. shares and   4,173,190 units of  FACB shares to her son-in-law, Fazrin Azwar bin Mohd. Nor but  this was not done because of the interference by the Prime Minister.


This is a very serious allegation and I call on Mahathir  to  come out with a forthright statement as to whether  Anwar Ibrahimís police report is true and  that he had intervened and saved Rafidah Aziz from being the first  Cabinet Minister in Malaysia  to be arrested and charged for corruption.

During the  debate on the Anti- Corruption Bill in Parliament in July 1997, the DAP had opposed the provision which downgraded the independence and authority of the Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Agency, making him subservient to the Attorney-General in his capacity as Public Prosecutor, not only with regard to powers to decide whether to initiate prosecution but  even in matters concerning the operational independence of the ACA.

Under the new Anti-Corruption Act,  the previous powers of the ACA Director-General as a Deputy Public Prosecutor under the Criminal Procedure Code was removed, to the extent that he lost full operational independence with regard to investigations, search and seizures  where he had to seek the prior approval of  the Public Prosecutor in many important instances.

The argument for the removal of the DPP powers of the ACA Director-General is that it is necessary to have a system of check-and-balance, with investigation vesting in the ACA while the decision on prosecution devolving on the Attorney-General as Public Prosecutor.

In the light of the recent history of selective prosecution by the Attorney-General, which he had not been able to rebut despite very serious allegations being made inside and outside Parliament, and now the shocking expose by Anwar Ibrahim of the interference with the course of justice in the Rafidah Aziz case, public confidence in the governmentís commitment to fight corruption will now plumb to a new low unless there is a full and proper accounting on the matter by both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General.

(2/8/99)


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