Call on Prime Minister to give a categorical assurance that UMNO will not usurp the powers of ACA or arrogate to itself non-existent prerogatives to first decide what are the UMNO “money politics” cases to be referred to ACA, and to welcome ACA to conduct, without any strings attached, untrammelled investigations into all cases of money politics in the September UMNO Supreme Council election
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Friday): The statement by the UMNO Deputy President, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday that not all cases of money politics in UMNO will be referred to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) for investigation as they are internal party matters is not only misguided, wrong, untenable, but a grave blow to the independence and credibility of the ACA as well as a setback to the campaign by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for a national integrity system affecting all aspects of national life and to create a new culture of public and political integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.
claims that UMNO has the necessary mechanism in place to investigate
complaints of money politics and the ACA would not be involved until all
the process had been exhausted.
Under the Anti-Corruption Act, 1997, UMNO does not enjoy any discretion to decide what are the cases of money politics in UMNO which should be referred to or withheld from the ACA. As the ACA has taken two long months to finally recognize that money politics is corruption, then all cases and complaints of money politics in the September UMNO Supreme Council elections must automatically be referred to the ACA.
The 1997 Anti-Corruption Act also does not give any power or authority to any other agency, including UMNO, to pre-empt the ACA from carrying out it duties, by first investigating and determining whether and which cases of money politics and corruption should be referred to the ACA.
UMNO has the powers to institute proceedings, whether inquiry or punitive action, against its members for money politics in party elections, but it does not have the powers to preclude the ACA from launching its own investigations by claiming non-existing prerogatives to vet and decide what are the cases to be referred to the ACA.
Otherwise, the ACA will suffer a most grievous blow to its public credibility and integrity, in not only having to get the “green light” from the Prime Minister but also from UMNO before it could act to discharge its duties to fight corruption under the Anti-Corruption Act.
I call on the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail to send an urgent opinion to the Cabinet stating out clearly and unequivocally that there is no one, whether individual, political party or organization, with the lawful powers under the Anti-Corruption Act or any other law to first vet cases to decide whether they are fit to be referred to the ACA for corruption investigations.
Gani Patail should in fact explain what action he would take to strike down such illegal usurpation of the powers of the ACA and the constitutional prerogative of the Attorney-General.
As the ACA Director-General Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor has belatedly but correctly discovered that money politics is corruption, stating that the ACA is prepared to investigate anything that is related to money politics, the ACA should act on the report lodged by the DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng yesterday on money politics in the UMNO Supreme Council elections in September, without fear or favour of rank or station, whether involving Minister, Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, Mentris Besar, State Exco, MP or State Assembly member without being subject to the dictate of the UMNO Disciplinary Committee or any UMNO leader – whether regard to the scope or the personalities involved.
The Prime Minister should give a categorical assurance that UMNO will not usurp the powers of ACA or arrogate to itself non-existent prerogatives to first decide what are the UMNO “money politics” cases to be referred to ACA, and to fully and unreservedly welcome ACA to conduct, without any strings attached, untrammelled investigations into all cases of money politics in the September UMNO Supreme Council election.
Such an assurance from the Prime Minister is imperative and timely after the ACA and the Malaysian public have been told in no uncertain terms that UMNO is out-of-bounds for the ACA, or access is only allowed within the strict confines decided by the UMNO leaders – which are against both the spirit and letter of the law and the constitution.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman