If  Khalil is not prepared to resign, the Prime Minister or Cabinet on Wednesday should  ask him to go on leave until completion of ACA investigations into Fauziís police report against him for abuse of power and corrupt practice when Pahang Mentri Besar

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): After the UMNO Supreme Council meeting yesterday, UMNO President Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced a special UMNO ad hoc committee to investigate allegations  of money politics and corrupt practices made by Beserah state assemblyman Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman against former Pahang Mentri Besar and currently Information Minister and UMNO Secretary-General, Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob.

Mahathir said: ďWe will check, scrutinise and investigate his (Fauziís) allegations of malpractices within the (Pahang state) government, money politics and a (timber) company he mentioned (in the police report).

ďWe request the co-operation of all parties in providing clear evidence so that action can be taken accordingly.Ē (The Sun).

In launching investigations into the  allegations of corrupt practice and abuse of power which are now the subject of Fauziís police reports against Khalil, UMNO is treading in dangerous waters as it is arrogating to itself and usurping  powers which under the law are vested solely in the hands of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

Such a parallel  government  overriding the  powers of the ACA is clearly illegal and the Attorney-General, Datuk Ainum Mohamed Saaid should issue a stern warning to  the special UMNO ad hoc committee under the UMNO disciplinary board, chaired by Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen of the serious legal consequences if UMNO usurps the legal and investigative powers of the ACA.

Once Fauzi has lodged a police report against Khalil for  abuse of power and corrupt practice during his tenure as Pahang Mentri Besar by giving out logging concessions without following regulations as laid out by the National Forestry Policy, flouting the yearly quota for Pahang of  only logging approximately 28,000 acres of land, investigations into this specific subject-matter is exclusively in the hands of the ACA and no other bodies, not even UMNO, should interfere with the ACA investigations.

Fauzi had also made allegations about rampant  money politics in UMNO such as the "rampant use of money, hampers and distribution of meat to party members" at  UMNO branches.  If Fauzi has not lodged a police report on rampant money politics in UMNO, then it is perfectly permissible for the special UMNO ad hoc investigation committee to inquire into this allegation.

I call on Mahathir, as UMNO President, to announce categorically that UMNO would not in any way undermine or challenge the ACAís powers and right to be the sole body vested with powers under the laws of the land to investigate into Fauziís police report against Khalil for abuse of power and corrupt practice when he was Pahang Mentri Besar.

It has been reported that Fauzi may be asked to withdraw his police report against Khalil.  Any withdrawal of the police report  by Fauzi raises one of two implications: either he had made a baseless and frivolous police report in which case he should be charged for the offence of false reporting or that he has decided to aid and abet the commission  of abuse of power and corrupt practice by Khalil when Pahang Mentri Besar in which case Fauzi should be charged as an accomplice.

As Khalil is now the subject of a police report for abuse of power and corrupt practice  made against him  by a former Deputy Minister and current  Pahang state assemblyman, he should have resigned as Information Minister until he is fully cleared of the corruption allegation.  If Khalil is not prepared to resign as Information Minister, Mahathir or the Cabinet on Wednesday should ask him to go on leave until he is cleared of any corrupt practice, as it is most shameful for Malaysia to have a Cabinet Minister currently under probe for corruption.

Nobody would object  if the government asks the ACA to give top priority to  Fauziís police report so as to complete investigations in the shortest possible time as it affects the question as to whether  Khalil can return to Cabinet as Minister and when, but under no circumstances should any attempt by UMNO to usurp the investigative powers of the ACA be tolerated.

Tengku Rithauddeen should publicly declare whether the UMNO disciplinary board which he heads and which is responsible for  the special ad hoc committtee to investigate into Fauziís allegations against Khalil would fully respect the ACA and would not do anything to undermine, challenge or usurp the ACAís powers and jurisdiction.

DAP and the Barisan Alternative will study what  recourse is available if UMNO resorts to the unlawful act of usurping the powers and jurisdiction of the ACA in connection with Fauziís corruption report against Khalil.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman