Rais Yatim should submit a full and satisfactory reply on the Attorney-General's failure to prosecute Rafidah Aziz for corruption and the ACA's selective mentality in Parliament on Monday 
Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): A great disappointment in the first day of the Ministerial winding-up  in the general debate on the 2000 Budget in Parliament yesterday was the failure of either the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to personally reply to issues raised by Members of Parliament during the debate pertaining to the important issues of law, justice and corruption in order to set an example to other Cabinet Ministers that parliamentary duties is an important and integral part of Ministerial responsibilities and to end the disease of Ministers playing truant from Parliament.

What I find even more surprising is that the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, who is specifically in charge of law, justice and the Anti-Corruption Agency, and who has been the only Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in the past three months to make speeches and comments on these subjects, stayed away from Parliament.

Instead, another Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Pandikar Amin, was delegated the task to reply to these issues in Parliament yesterday.

This is another act of parliamentary irresponsibility.  Why should Rais be talking about law, justice and the Anti-Corruption Agency outside Parliament every other day, but when the time comes for the Government to respond to these issues in Parliamentary debates, he stays away and gets  another Minister who is not directly responsible for these subjects to reply?

Parliament should demand that the specific duties and responsibilities of every Minister in the Prime Minister's Department be defined and made public - whether the special duty of Pandikar Amin as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department is to answer for Rais in Parliament on the latter's specific portfolios of law, justice and Anti-Corruption Agency so as to save Rais from the embarrassment of being quizzed in Parliament for inconsistency of his present views on these subjects  from those when he was out of government.

While I may appreciate why Rais does not want to stand up in Parliament and be confronted with his writings and speeches in the past which totally contradict his present views, his duty to Parliament demand that he cannot continue to run away from his parliamentary duties.

The answers given by Pandikar on the many issues raised by Barisan Alternative MPs, such as the Attorney-General's failure to prosecute the International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz over the issue of the share allocation to her son-in-law, the Anti-Corruption Agency and the government's bail-out of the Indah Water Konsortium are most superficial and unsatisfactory, primarily because he is not the Minister's whose portfolio directly cover these subjects.

For instance, when Pandikar said that the Attorney-General's Chambers was satisfied with the probe conducted by the Anti-Corruption Agency on the issue and its conclusion that there was no clear and adequate proof to prosecute Rafidah, Pandikar eluded two pertinent questions:

As Pandikar's reply on the Attorney-General's failure to prosecute Rafidah Aziz for corruption is inadequate and unsatisfactory, and the Ministerial winding-up will continue for the second day on Monday, there is still time for Rais to make up for his Parliamentary lapse by giving a full and proper reply on Monday, which should incorporate a satisfactory explanation of the two issues eluded by Pandikar yesterday.

Pandikar's reply on the Anti-Corruption Agency also leaves much to be desired. He said that matters raised in the affidavit of the former assistant governor of Bank Negara Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid are still being investigated and no one had been charged yet as the Anti-Corruption Agency had not completed its investigations into the affidavit that was made just before the general election last year.

Among the allegations Murad made was that the former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had amassed a total of RM20 billion in master accounts, which were giving prime media treatment - an infamous example of media persecution.

An answer that investigations by the  Anti-Corruption Agency are still pending is a meaningless statement, as it could camouflage a total lack of investigations after the agency had made a highly-politicised statement as part of the larger Barisan Nasional game-plan at the time to damage the reputation and credibility of Anwar just before the general election.

The least Pandikar should have done is to inform Parliament as to the nature of the investitagions which had been conducted by the ACA, how many people had been investigated,  why Anwar himself had never been questioned by ACA on Murad's allegations and the ACA's selective action and mentality acting promptly on Murad's unverified allegations in his statutory declaration while ignoring unverified allegations in other statutory allegations and reports directed at Barisan Nasional leaders.

Rais Yatim should do his duty and  submit a full and satisfactory reply on the Attorney-General's failure to prosecute Rafidah Aziz for corruption and the ACA's selective mentality in Parliament on Monday


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman