Parliament should take serious note of the ACA stand yesterday that money politics in the UMNO Supreme Council election in September was tantamount to corruption and should support my privileges motion to suspend UMNO MP for Titiwangsa Astaman and refer him to Committee of Privileges as he has been suspended for three years as UMNO member for money politics
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Thursday): On the first day of the reconvened budget meeting of Dewan Rakyat on November 22, I had sought under Standing Order 26(1) which exempts requirement for notice for a motion to suspend a member [S.O. 26(1)(h)] or “relating to a matter of privilege” [S.O. 26(1)(p)] to suspend the UMNO MP for Titiwangsa, Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz and to refer him to the Committee for Privileges to protect Parliament from becoming a laughing stock where a member had been suspended from UMNO for three years for being guilty of money politics but is allowed to continue to take his seat in Parliament.
In refusing to allow me to move the motion under S.O. 26(1) followed by a debate, both the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz and the Deputy Speaker, Datuk Lim Si Cheng, suggested that I should formally submit a motion by giving proper notice.
I have today sent in the following motion:
“Bahawa Dewan ini menggantungkan Ahli Parlimen Kawasan Titiwangsa dan merujukkannya kepada Jawatankuasa Hak dan Kebebasan demi melindungi reputasi, maruah dan kredibiliti Parlimen memandangkan Ahli Parlimen Kawasan Titiwangsa telah didapati bersalah kerana terlibat dalam politik wang dan rasuah pada pilihan raya parti UMNO bulan September 2004 dan telah digantung keahlian UMNOnya untuk tempoh tiga tahun supaya Parlimen tidak menjadi bahan ketawa dimana seorang Ahli Parlimen dibenarkan bebas keluar masuk Dewan Rakyat sungguhpun beliau telah disabit kesalahan politik wang dan rasuah sehingga digantung keahlian dari parti politik beliau untuk tempoh tiga tahun.”
I am asking the Cabinet next Wednesday to take the decision to give priority to this privilege motion so that it could be debated in the current meeting of Parliament before it adjourns on December 14, as it concerns the credibility, legitimacy and authority of Parliament and MPs, particularly at a time when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has staked his personal authority and reputation on the success or otherwise of his campaign to develop a national integrity system and the creation of a new political culture with zero tolerance for corruption by political leaders.
Parliament should take serious note of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) stand yesterday that money politics in the UMNO Supreme Council election in September was tantamount to corruption and should support my privileges motion to suspend UMNO MP for Titiwangsa Astaman and refer him to the Committee of Privileges as he has been suspended for three years as UMNO member for money politics.
ACA Director-General, Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor said
yesterday that money politics in any political party is considered as
bribing others to buy votes and secure a position and that is a crime and
that the ACA would not hesitate to act on complaints or reports and
investigate those involved or believed to be involved in such activities.
However, it is better late by two months than never, and the ACA should make up for its foot-dragging on this issue which had dented its credibility and authority with a high-powered, effective and expeditious investigation into what has been described by the Information Minister, Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir as the “worst money politics in UMNO history”. Yesterday in Parliament, I had described UMNO Supreme Council election as an “orgy of money politics”, resulting in the defeat of good and clean Ministers like the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Shafie Salleh.
It is however not good enough for Zulkipli to merely say that the ACA is prepared to investigate the disease and crime of money politics in the September UMNO Supreme Council election, and that investigations would start as soon as the ACA receives a report alleging vote-buying when it should be swinging into action after two months of inaction and indecision.
There are precedents where ACA had initiated investigations into corruption without receiving any formal report, with the ACA itself lodging the report – and one such example were ACA investigations against former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1999 in connection with allegations that Anwar had misused his powers as Finance Minister and had amassed a fortune of RM3 billion through 20 “Master Accounts”.
Why should the ACA be reluctant to launch full-scale investigations into money politics in UMNO after agonizing for two months whether vote-buying in the September UMNO Supreme Council elections running into tens and even hundreds of millions of ringgit fall within the ambit of corruption?
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman