Liong Sik should be investigated for a new offence under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 which is liable to maximum  10-year jail or RM100,000 fine or both

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday) The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim deserves commendation if he can bring about legislative changes binding enforcement agencies like the Anti-Corruption Agency to provide regular updates on the status and outcome of their investigations into corrupt practices, not just to government but to Parliament.

Rais, who told Malaysiakini that he is working on such a proposal, said the  progress reports will ensure that the government and those who lodge complaints against corruption know what is happening to the cases.

He said:

“There is a need to create a mood of what to expect next after lodging a complaint with any of these agencies because only then can public confidence be restored. But the agencies must first be more open and transparent.

“I’m in the midst of creating a module of action requiring them to provide scheduled progress reports on their investigations and need a bit more time to put together a proper mechanism.”

Without legislative back-up to amend the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, for instance, it is dubious that mere administrative measures can bring about any fundamental changes in the accountability and transparency  of enforcement agencies like the ACA to the Malaysian public.

The most appropriate way to ensure the accountability and transparency of enforcement agencies like the ACA with regard to its investigations into complaints about corruption is to impose a statutory requirement to  present regular reports to Parliament and to be subject to Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny, as by way of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Corruption and specific parliamentary debate and scrutiny.

After the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said he agreed that there was some truth to claims made by Rais that government enforcement agencies had sat on high-profile cases involving criminal breach of trust.

He said that some of the things brought up by Rais were based on  facts and he promised to “look into them”.

The  question is how Mahathir is going to “look” into the long-outstanding high-profile cases and how is he going to account to the Malaysian public  the  ACA investigations which seemed to have gone nowhere, whether   the RM 10 billion Perwaja Scandal or my ACA report on 13th June 1997 asking for full investigations as to how Ling Hee Leong, son of MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, could at the age of 27 embark on corporate acquisitions exceeding RM1.2 billion in a matter of months and whether there had been improper use and influence of his father’s political and Ministerial position.

Is Mahathir going to present a White Paper in Parliament on June 17 listing  and explaining the status report of each high-profile case, whether Rais’ list of  21 outstanding high-profile cases or better still, a full list of the outcome of all reports which had been lodged against Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the past decade.

I have been asking for the outcome of the ACA investigations into my 1997 report both inside and outside Parliament in the past five years, but all to no avail. Is Mahathir prepared to “look into” this outstanding high-profile case and let the Malaysian public know what has happened to  the ACA investigations into Liong Sik and Hee Leong?  

In fact, Malaysians are entitled to ask whether the ACA has re-opened investigations into my ACA report in 1997 since the return of Soh Chee Wen, the one-time protégé of Liong Sik who claims to have intricate and intimate business relationships with Liong Sik and Hee Leong.  

A  Malaysiakini report on Tuesday (28.5.02) from an interview with Soh referred to my ACA report in 1997, and it states:   

“ACA probe

It was around that time that opposition party DAP lodged a report against Ling with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

And what was Ling's reaction?

"’He asked me to assist him in not implicating him in the ACA
investigations and to omit stating both Ling and his wife's roles and the benefits derived by them from the previous deals,’ recalled Soh.

He said he abided by that request out of ‘fear of losing my posts in MCA’.

“But, ‘in hindsight, I regret my doing so and I intend to put things right by disclosing the true picture to the ACA in due course’, he said.”

If Soh was telling the truth, then it discloses Ling committing an offence of obstructing the ACA investigations.  

Section 19(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 reads:  

“19*1) Where any person makes or causes any other person to make to an officer of the Agency or to the Public Prosecutor, in the course of such officer or Public Prosecutor exercising any power conferred by this Act, any statement which to the knowledge of the person making the statement, or causing the statement to be made –

(a)   is false, or intended to mislead;

(b)  ….,  

he  shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to both.”

The ACA should publicly explain firstly, whether it had re-opened investigations into my 1997  ACA report against Liong Sik and Hee Leong  with the return of Soh Chee Wen and secondly, whether the ACA is investigating Ling for committing an offence under Section 19 of the Anti-Corruption Act as a result of Soh Chee Wen’s interview with Malaysiakini disclosing an offence liable on conviction to the  maximum sentence  of RM100,000 fine or ten years’ jail or both.  


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman