ACA should stop wasting public funds and widen as well as focus its investigations into non-meeting parliamentary claims by MPs exceeding RM5,000 a month in the past four years as well as excessive Ministerial claims to show a “no-nonsense” attitude after Abdullah’s “clean, incorruptible and beyond suspicion” pledge
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): Nanyang Siang Pau reported today that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has started summoning and interrogating some of the 14 Members of Parliament in connection with their parliamentary claims which exceeded RM10,000 a month.
The ACA Director of Investigations, Datuk Nordin Ismail, who is heading the 14-ACA-squad investigations, said the ACA has completed its first stage of investigations, i.e. getting documents from Parliament’s finance division, and is now conducting the second stage of investigations, i.e. interviewing hotel personnel to verify the MPs’ claims as well as interviewing the MPs concerned.
The ACA investigations into MPs’ excessive or improper parliamentary claims have become a farce and a charade, as the ACA is investigating things it has no business to waste time on while avoiding investigating areas which it should focus on if it is serious about combating corruption and abuses of power, regardless of rank or station.
If the ACA is efficient, competent, professional and independent, it would have known by now that it is not unusual for MPs to submit “meeting claims” exceeding RM10,000 a month when Parliament meets for at least three weeks in a month (or 12 days of sittings), based on the meeting, subsistence, hotel, telephone, mileage/airfare and other claims which they are entitled to.
The problematic cases are “non-meeting” parliamentary claims, whether above or below the RM10,000 monthly figure, when Parliament is not meeting.
How can the ACA enjoy public confidence when it could waste time investigating fairly legitimate MPs’ meeting claims which exceed RM10,000 a month, while totally ignoring the most improper and highly questionable “non-meeting” parliamentary claims, whether above or below RM10,000 a month, regardless of whether by Opposition or the Barisan Nasional MPs?
The ACA should stop wasting precious time and public funds by doing two things:
Otherwise, the ACA should be censured for a gross dereliction of duty, a shocking lack of professionalism and sheer cowardice in not daring to investigate what should be the proper subject of concern of the agency.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman