Was ACA breakthrough in Perwaja investigations  the cause of Zaki’s “downfall” in the same way that  ACA investigations into Ali Abul was the cause of Shafie’s end as ACA director-general?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Malaysians are still waiting for a satisfactory answer from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as to why  the term of Datuk Ahmad Zaki Husin as ACA  Director-General was not renewed  and he was replaced  instead by  a policeman to head the ACA  for the first time in 32 years.

Public interest in his answer is intense as it would throw light on whether the ACA is going to graduate to greater independence and professionalism in the new decade, or whether it would continue to be a “toothless tiger” not only against the high and mighty in government and business, but even against the people in middling levels  with only power to act against the small fries.

Apart from his failure to act against the high and mighty despite the benefit of operating under the new Prevention of Corruption Act 1997  with expanded powers and increased penalities for corruption offences, Zaki had made quite a good impression in his two-year tenure as ACA director-general.
Since Zaki had loyally  rallied beyond the call of duty  to the  anti-Anwar Ibrahim campaign of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  before the 1999 general election, as in his disgraceful reactions to  the baseless  statutory declaration by former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid that  Anwar had amassed a fortune of RM3 billion while in government through 20 "Master Accounts"; had scrupulously left the “high and mighty” alone in his anti-corruption drive and made quite a good impression as far as fighting corruption at other levels are concerned, why was he suddenly dropped as ACA chief although he was given an assurance on his re-appointment up to the very last minute?

I could only think of one case in Zaki’s two-year tenure as ACA chief which might have blotted his copy-book with the powerful - his pursuit of the RM11 billion Perwaja Steel scandal.

In early February, Zaki announced a breakthrough in ACA investigations into the Perwaja Steel scandal and promised  that the six-year long investigations would “shift into full gear”  with the Swiss government  agreeing to help with several Swiss bank accounts the ACA was after.

Could it be that this ACA breakthrough in the  six-year investigations into the Perwaja Steel Scandal was not regarded as a “plus” but a “minus” for those who matter in deciding whether to renew his term as  ACA director-general?

The announcement  that former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman has been appointed economic adviser to the Prime Minister reminded Malaysians that just as the “downfall” of Zaki’s predecessor as ACA director-general  Datuk Shafee Yahya was the ACA investigations into Ali Abul when he was Economic Planning Unit director-general, was the Perwaja investigations and breakthrough the “downfall” of Zaki as ACA director-general?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman