Call on Najib to give full support to Abdullah’s crackdown of corruption with a three-point proposal in the Cabinet tomorrow, including an unanimous resolution calling on the ACA and the Attorney-General to go into full gear to nab the “big fishes” and not to succumb to mounting pressure to “go slow” and stop with the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): The Cabinet tomorrow should demonstrate that it fully supports the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the war against corruption by adopting an unanimous resolution calling on the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and the Attorney-General to go into full gear to nab the “big fishes” and not to succumb to mounting pressure to “go slow” and stop with the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam.
It is clear that there is an intense debate, not only among the people, but also in the corridors of power as to whether the campaign against corruption has gone far enough with the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam and should now “go slow” without netting any “big fish” or whether the two medium-size fishes are only a beginning and the ACA and the AG should build on the momentum to haul in real and many “big fishes” in the crackdown against corruption.
Last Friday, the ACA director-general, Dato Zulkipli bin Mat Noor had given Malaysians an inkling of the gravity of the problem of corruption in Malaysia when he said: “There are so many rivers, the sea is so huge, how can there be no fish?” – which made the front-page headline of a national newspaper!
However, Zulkipli could not explain why, despite so many rivers, the size of the sea and the multitude of fishes, the ACA had been so singularly ineffective and impotent to land any “big fishes”, whether sharks or piranhas, in the past three years that he was ACA director-general and prevent Malaysia’s international ranking in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from plunging 14 places from 23rd position in 1995 to 37th position in 2003.
The question now is whether the ACA will now finally be given the powers, independence and autonomy to net all the “big fishes” in the sea of corruption – particularly those from the ranks of the powerful and mighty who have so far been unlawfully granted the immunity from prosecution and could escape from being brought to justice for their corruption, breach of trust and misuse of power.
It is very disturbing that the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak seems to be emerging as the leader of the campaign for a “go slow” in the anti-corruption drive after the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam.
In a visit to Jeli yesterday, Najib said combating corruption must be done according to the law with investigation and supported by evidence, and that the government could not take action against individuals based on hearsay.
He said: “We cannot take action based on the wishes of the opposition or a political game played by the opposition. It must be done according to the law with investigations carried out and if there is strong evidence, only the Attorney-General can decide.” (Bernama)
Abdullah has asked the people to speak the truth and Najib should learn the truth that Malaysians have enough of official stonewalling in the past two decades as to why the government could not net “big fishes” in the war against corruption.
Can Najib explain what have changed in the 100 days after Abdullah became Prime Minister with regard to ACA investigations into the cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam as to warrant their arrest and being charged in court – which could not be done before Abdullah became Prime Minister?
Is Najib advocating a “go slow” in the crackdown of corruption after the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam, especially as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim has admitted to at least another 18 high-profile corruption cases, including involving Cabinet Ministers, which are being reviewed by the ACA and the Attorney-General?
As Najib has become the Deputy Prime Minister, it is only right that he should declare publicly his position as to whether he is for a “go slow” in the crackdown of corruption after the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam or he advocates “full steam ahead” for the ACA to nab the “big fishes” as the crackdown on corruption has nothing to do with the general election and must go on regardless of when the general election is to be held.
As Deputy Prime Minister, Najib should lead the Cabinet to give full support to Abdullah’s campaign against corruption by spearheading three proposals in the Cabinet tomorrow:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman