Call on Abdullah to issue a directive to all Barisan Nasional Ministers, Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar to adhere strictly to his pledge for a “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion” administration and not to use any public funds or government resources for campaigning for the next general election on pain of dismissal
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is to be commended for beginning to “walk the talk” in his pledge for “a clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion” administration after his first hundred days in office, with the arrest of former Perwaja Managing Director Tan Sri Eric Chia and Land and Co-operative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, the former for breach of trust involving RM76.4 million and the latter for corrupt practice involving shares with the value of some RM24 million.
The question asked by all Malaysians is whether the two Tan Sris mark the beginning or the high point of the crackdown on corruption – whether they are the biggest fishes to be caught in the crackdown or an earnest of bigger fishes which would be brought to court and justice.
Abdullah said in Penang
yesterday that the crackdown on corruption has nothing to do with the
general election, as it is the responsibility of the government to fight
corruption at any time.
It must be conceded that never before in the nation’s history have there been such high hopes that firm and sustained actions would be taken against the corrupt who are powerful and influential, as never before in the nation’s history has corruption become so deep-seated, grave and rampant – resulting in Malaysia plunging 14 places in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from 23rd placing in 1995 to 37 position in 2003.
As Abdullah had asked the people to tell him the truth, I wish to send him a message from ordinary Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation – that they applaud him for the crackdown on corruption, but they will be greatly disappointed if this is not the mere beginning of a full clean-up of the rot which had infested the system, hauling in bigger and bigger fishes to court.
Malaysians are also concerned that Abdullah’s battle against corruption cannot last or be sustained, unless he makes fundamental institutional changes where the success of the battle against corruption does not depend on one man but on a national integrity system, which is characterized by an independent Anti-Corruption Agency answerable only to Parliament, a truly independent judiciary, a meaningful and effective Parliament, a free press and a vibrant civil society.
Abdullah is correct when he
said yesterday that from what he read in the newspapers, the people are
supportive of the government's action to fight corruption, but the people
want the “big fishes” who at present are still scot-free to be sternly
dealt with and be deprived of their long-standing immunity from
prosecution, and even more important, institutional and systemic changes to
ensure that the Anti-Corruption Agency, Parliament, the judiciary, the press
and the civil society can all play their full role to check and stamp out
corruption to give a new meaning to “Malaysia Boleh” – with the country
internationally recognized as among the world’s ten least corrupt nations!
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman