Mahathir’s “tough”  London speech quite a fiasco when it could be regarded by a Cabinet Minister as a  “cue” to the ACA for action but which quickly  became cue-less!

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday):  The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, has proved to be very wrong when he declared that  the “toughness” of the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in London on Sunday that the government would not tolerate any deliberate misappropriation of funds or mismanagement, "crony or otherwise", was “long-awaited” and that “From the legal viewpoint, it is one of the brightest notes in the country's history".  

Rais told Malay Mail yesterday that Mahathir’s London statement  that the government would act against those who mismanaged funds, even if they were “cronies”, was the “cue” to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and all enforcement agencies to investigate allegations of misappropriation of funds.  

But in less than 10 hours after the Malay Mail carrying the front-page headline, “Probe Cue for ACA”, hit the newstands yesterday, the “cue” became “cue-less” when on his media conference on his return from overseas, Mahathir  declared: “I would  like to stress that the Government is not going after anyone.”  

A “cue” means  “a signal for action”, but it is now clear that Mahathir had not intended any “cue” to the ACA  or to be  “tough” in his London statement when he clarified yesterday that the government was “not going after anyone”.   

I can  agree with Mahathir’s assurance of  no “witch-hunt”, which implies an indiscriminate persecution campaign  affecting even the innocent, but when the Prime Minister is not prepared to declare that the government would go all-out against those who misappropriated or mismanaged funds -  when Malaysia must be the leading candidate for the Guinness Book of Records as a nation with  the most number of mega billion-ringgit scandals without anyone having to take responsibility and accountability - then Rais is very wrong in trumpeting a “cue” for the ACA when there was no such cue!  

In the circumstances, Mahathir’s London speech is quite a fiasco when it could be regarded by a Cabinet Minister as  a  “cue” to the ACA for  an intrepid campaign  against corruption but which  quickly became cue-less! 

However, the fiasco of the “cue to ACA which quickly became cueless” would not be completely in vain if the episode refocussed public attention on the ACA - which seemed to have disappeared from the radar of national consciousness in the past year, especially after a policeman was  appointed as its director-general for the first time in the 23-year ACA history.  

Media activist Ahmad Lufti Othman yesterday declared his loss of confidence in the ACA when he said he would not  lodge a report on the latest graft scandal concerning the Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo as the ACA had not responded to his previous five reports against the Menteri Besar despite persistent enquiries as to the progress of their investigations.  

Rais should try to rescue the ACA from the limbo of public oblivion as this is the best way for him to salvage some public benefit from the fiasco of the Prime Minister’s “cue which became cueless” by seeking Cabinet endorsement for an innovation requiring the presentation of a report by the ACA to Parliament on the progress of its fight against corruption.  

The first ACA report should be presented to the forthcoming meeting of Parliament which will be reconvening on March 11 and it should deal with the various long-standing  high-profile cases, such as:  



*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman