Call on Abdullah to approve priority debate for DAP motion on corruption on first day of Parliament on Sept. 9 to underline government’s “zero tolerance for corruption”

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP calls on Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  to approve priority debate for the DAP motion on corruption on the first day of Parliament on Sept. 9 to underline the government’s “zero tolerance for corruption” which he announced on Monday. 

Speaking at  the Ethics and Integrity Conference at National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN)  in Kuala Lumpur, Abdullah said the public sector must always operate with the highest standard of honesty  and integrity, that “"Nothing else will do" as the Government had “zero tolerance for corruption” and wanted it to be eradicated at all levels.

He said the Government possessed ample political will to ensure that the scourge is eradicated in both the public and private sectors, and that ethics and integrity should be at the core of every person.

As this is the first time any top government leader in Malaysia had embraced the “zero tolerance for corruption” concept, the motion on corruption which the DAP MP for Tanjong, Chow Kon Yeow had notified the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Mohamad Zahir Ismail, should be given priority for debate to send out the signal loud and clear to Malaysians and the world of the government’s new-found resolve against corruption. 

Chow’s motion is the direct result of the new crisis of confidence in  the integrity of government precipitated by the conviction and two-year jail sentence of Keadilan Youth chief Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) which  sent out the outrageous message to the nation and the world that in Malaysia corruption is no crime while exposing corruption is the heinous crime.  

The parliamentary debate on Chow’s motion on Sept. 9 would also be  the proper occasion for a full discussion by MPs as well as by the Government on the latest bombshell on corruption to hit Malaysia from overseas – the arrest in the United Kingdom of the chief of YTL Power-owned Wessex Water on suspicion of receiving a bribe of almost one million pounds sterling (RM5.7 million) during YTL Power’s bid to take over the company.

According to London-based The Guardian and wire reports, chairperson and chief executive officer Colin Skellett was picked up by British police yesterday for allegedly receiving a bribe during YTL Power’s takeover of the company from Enron’s Azurix Corp for about 1.24 billion pounds sterling (RM7.15 billion).

Although YTL Power has since issued a statement to the British media denying knowledge of any illegal payment, Parliament cannot be blind or indifferent to the damage this latest bombshell has done to Abdullah’s “zero tolerance for corruption” declaration a mere five days ago, and a debate on Chow’s motion on the first day of the budget meeting of Parliament on Sept. 9 would provide an opportune and timely occasion for Parliament and the government to reaffirm its seriousness  and commitment to a policy of “zero tolerance for corruption”.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman