DAP welcomes Mahathir’s assurance  that action would be taken against MPs, regardless of whether government or opposition, for improper, false or corrupt parliamentary claims and  proposes a Five-Point MPs’ Action Plan to clear the name of Parliament and every MP of wrongdoing

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaSaturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad declared in Langkawi  yesterday that the government would definitely take action against Members of Parliament who had committed wrongs and offences regardless of whether they are from the government or opposition, with Berita Harian giving it the top front-page headline “Ahli Parlimen bersalah tetap dihukum: PM”. 

DAP  welcomes Mahathir’s assurance  that impartial action would be taken against MPs, regardless of whether government or opposition, for  excessive, improper, false or corrupt parliamentary claims but such impartiality must not only be done, but must be seen  to be done in the entire stage of investigations. 

It is most unfortunate that this principle of impartiality, that action must be taken against the guilty, regardless of political affiliation whether in Barisan Nasional or opposition, was completely lost in the 10-day furore sparked off by  the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s  Department, Datuk Noh Omar, on Sept.  24  suggesting that there was something hanky-panky in the parliamentary claims by  16 MPs which exceeded  RM10,000 a month  in the 18 months from January 2002 to June 2003,  resulting in mass investigation of MPs by the Anti-Corruption Agency. 

Thanks to Noh Omar, MPs have overnight  become targets of public ridicule, distrust and contempt and Parliament identified in the public mind as in the dubious company of bodies like the Road Transport Department, the Land Office, the Police and the local authorities which are infamous for rampant corruption. 

It is now painfully clear to everyone, including the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs, that Noh Omar’s intention to target PAS MPs with his expose of monthly parliamentary claims exceeding RM10,000 had backfired dangerously, with Barisan Nasional MPs seriously tarnished by the parliamentary claims scandal.

This was why 10 days ago, when Noh first made his “expose” of the excessive claims   zeroing specifically on the PAS MP for Jeli,  Mohd Apandi Mohamad  in Parliament  as  the “King of Claims”,  there was loud table-thumping of support with  boos and jeers  for PAS MPs  by the Barisan Nasional front and  backbenchers.  However, on Thursday, Barisan Nasional MPs were united with the Opposition  in  all  thumping Noh for his indiscretion in the issue!

In the past 10 days of the swirling controversy, some MPs seems to be adopting completely unacceptable and untenable positions which are totally contrary to the public trust placed in them by the voters and people of Malaysia.  There were those who took the stand that improper, excessive and false claims below RM10,000 a month should be exempted from investigations.

Members of Parliament should realize that they are not immune from action, whether by the ordinary process of law in the courts (and Parliament has the powers of a court of law to conduct a trial, pass judgment and sentence, including that of imprisonment) for breaches of law and trust, such as  excessive, improper, false or corrupt parliamentary claims.

Instead of just crying innocence and creating a bedlam in Parliament causing  confusion galore and generating more heat without any light,  MPs whether in government or opposition, should act responsibly and decisively to restore public confidence in the devastated credibility, integrity and legitimacy of Parliament after the unprecedented battery in the past 10 days, and to establish the innocence of every MP as being free from any impropriety.

The top priority of  Members of Parliament, whether government or opposition, when they reconvene in Parliament on Monday is  to hold an urgent meeting to adopt a five-point action plan to clear the name of every MP of wrongdoing and  restore public confidence in credibility, integrity and legitimacy of Parliament, viz:

  • Public apology by Nor Omar and his resignation as Parliametnary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department for his deplorable and irresponsible precipitation of the worst crisis of confidence in MPs and Parliament in 46 years;
  • Public declaration of all “meeting” and “non-meeting” claims by all the 193 MPs since December 1999 to invite public scrutiny and to set an example of accountability and transparency.
  • Suspension of all “non-meeting” parliamentary claims until completion of investigations into the parliamentary claims controversy and reform of parliamentary claims.  Although I had been MP for 30 years from 1969 to 1999, I find it most shocking and unacceptable that   “non-meeting” claims by MPs could exceed RM10,000 a month on the basis of invitations to Federal, State and government agency functions. This  is not a productive way of spending public funds. 
  • Investigation by the  Committee of Privileges or establish a  five-men Parliamentary Claims Inquiry Committee to conduct public hearings, assisted by the Anti-Corruption Agency,  into improper,  excessive, false and  corrupt parliamentary claims.
  • A Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament to assist MPs to discharge their obligations to Parliament, their constituents, the public and nation, reminding them of their duty not only to uphold the law but to be mindful of  the public trust placed in them and their general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole. 


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman