DAP invites Mahathir to commission a nation-wide opinion poll to gauge public perceptions on the trustworthiness,  credibility, independence and professionalism of ACA 22 years after his premiership

Media Statement
y Lim Kit Siang

(PenangSaturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday made a most unwarranted attack on me when he commented on my statement expressing dissatisfaction that ACA had closed investigations as it had found “no offence disclosed” in  my June 1997 report on former MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, and his son Hee Leong on  the latter’s corporate acquisitions exceeding RM1.2 billion in a matter of months when at the age of 27 and whether there had been improper use and influence of his father’s political and Ministerial position. 

This is the report in The Star today:

Dr Mahathir was also asked to comment on DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang’s statement that he was not satisfied with the Anti-Corruption Agency over its investigation of alleged wrong-doing by former Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Long Sik and his son, Hee Leong. 

The ACA had cleared them of any wrong-doing following its investigations on corporate acquisitions amounting to RM1.2bil in 1997. 

Dr Mahathir said that if Lim did not trust the ACA, who was he going to trust? 

“For Kit Siang, everything is political. It is not a question of law, or right or wrong,” he said.  

If Mahathir wanted to comment on my dissatisfaction with the ACA, he should have addressed the two reasons which I had given, viz: 

  • The parliamentary reply by Douglas Unggah to DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok  on March 17, 2003 on “ongoing” ACA investigations on various police and ACA reports on Liong Sik,  which contradicted what I had been told by the ACA on Wednesday that it had closed its investigations into Liong Sik arising from my June 1997 report “more than six months ago last year”; and
  • How could the ACA close and complete its investigations into my first report on Liong Sik and Hee Leong when it had not completed its investigations into my second report on June last year, as both were inter-related, the latter arising from Soh Chee Wen’s interview with Malaysiakini on May 28, 2002 that Liong Sik had asked him (Soh) “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”.

What is  Mahathir’s stand on  the lightning change of ACA position  in  a matter of hours on Wednesday after my meeting with ACA officials  that it had cleared Liong Sik and Hee Leong of any wrongdoing, as the Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian the next day reported the ACA Director of Investigations, Datuk Nordin Ismail denying that ACA investigations had been closed, saying that they have been re-opened after my second report last June. 

Mahathir should clarify what is he endorsing – the ACA closing of the investigations into Liong Sik and Hee Leong or the ACA re-opening of investigations into the two? 

ACA has thoroughly confused the Malaysian public with its lightning change of position on the status of its investigations into Liong Sik and Hee Leong, and this is why I had immediately on Thursday written to the ACA Director-General Datuk Zulkpli Mat Noor that I  would revisit the ACA headquarters in Putrajaya on Monday at 11 a.m. to find out what exactly is happening about these ACA investigations. 

Mahathir best describes himself when he made the accusation that for me, “everything is political – it is not a question of law, or right or wrong”, as illustrated by a long catalogue of  unresolved and unaccounted Cabinet scandals, such as: 

  • For six years, a senior Cabinet Minister, viz. Liong Sik, had ACA investigations hanging over his head;
  • Keadilan Youth chief, Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor had been convicted of contravening the Official Secrets Act for exposing a secret document in March 1995 from the Attorney-General’s Chambers that there was prima facie basis to prosecute the  International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz for corruption.  The conviction of Ezam could only mean the genuineness of the document, but if so, why had Rafidah not been prosecuted in court for corruption?  Or is the Official Secrets Act truly meant to protect corruption and abuses of power?
  • The serious allegation against another Cabinet Minister, Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob that he was involved in multi-million ringgit logging scandal involving Pahang UMNO when he was Pahang Mentri Besar until 1999;
  • Another Cabinet Minister tainted with the serious allegation of “triad politics”  who dared not welcome a public inquiry to clear his name of all possible triad  links and associations since his appointment as Deputy Home Minister; and
  • The latest allegation that a Cabinet Minister was involved in the bogus Federal Special Forces of Malaysia (FSFM) outfit with its RM64 million scam selling bogus military ranks to the 8,000 people it had recruited.

If Mahathir is serious about public perceptions, trust and confidence in the ACA, he should not indulge in rhetorical questions like “If Lim did not trust the ACA, who is he going to trust”, but should commission a nation-wide opinion poll to gauge public perceptions on the trustworthiness,  credibility, independence and professionalism of ACA 22 years after his premiership. 

Would Mahathir allow  ACA to carry out such a public opinion poll to chart and ascertain public confidence and trust in the agency during the 22 years of his premiership? 

When I re-visit the ACA in Putrajaya on Monday, this will be one of the proposals the DAP memorandum on the ACA and corruption would highlight in order to conduct a serious war against graft and to create a culture of integrity in public life with  zero tolerance for corruption.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman