Attorney-General’s statement has confirmed allegations of improprieties in the issue of taxi permits as well as undermined the credibility, independence, professionalism and integrity of ACA
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The statement by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail that there is no truth in the allegation that 6,000 permits were approved to a particular company but he had directed the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to further investigate “other irregularities” that had emerged during the investigations has confirmed allegations of improprieties in the issue of taxi permits as well as undermined the credibility, independence, professionalism and integrity of ACA.
The question is why the ACA could not undertake investigations on its own steam on “other irregularities” in the issue of taxi permits under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1997 without having to wait or secure the approval of the Attorney-General to continue investigations.
It would appear that the ACA’s real powers of fighting corruption are even more limited than the public knew, as it has not only to secure the approval of the Attorney-General before there could be any prosecution for corruption, it has now to get the sanction of the Attorney-General before it could probe into “other irregularties” that had emerged during corruption investigations.
Is it seriously suggested that in the case in point, while investigating a report lodged in respect of the alleged issue of 6,000 permits to a particular company, the ACA has no powers to probe further if it found improprieties and irregularities in the issue to a particular company of taxi permits short of the 6,000 figure, involving scores or hundreds or a figure less than 6,000 permits, without prior sanction from the Attorney-General?
The Attorney-General said he perused the ACA Investigation Paper and had chaired two meetings involving officials from the ACA and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, one on Monday night and the other yesterday afternoon – and he rushed out a media statement on the subject late yesterday evening.
It is clear that the Attorney-General had to drop everything that he was doing just to focus on the Ministerial row with the ACA, an unhealthy example as to how the political agenda of Barisan Nasional leaders had dictated the work schedule of the Attorney-General – when the top national priority should be to restore public confidence in the credibility, independence, professionalism and integrity of the ACA to achieve a clean and incorruptible administration.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman