Call on Abdullah to outline his parliamentary agenda particularly  for  a sustainable and successful  policy for a clean and  incorruptible administration

- at
Seri Setia DAP Branch dinner
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday): Yesterday was the last day for Members of Parliament to submit their questions for the parliamentary session  which will be officially opened by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on March 8 for the 24-day  Dewan Rakyat meeting ending on April 15 and 11-day  Dewan Negara meeting ending on May 6. 

There is 50-50 chance that the March meeting of Parliament would be held as scheduled as there is intense speculation of the dissolution of Parliament before March 8 to pave the way of the 11th national general election, with polling day bruited as falling between March 20 to 27. 

There is also the possibility of Parliament being reconvened on March 8 as scheduled but dissolved mid-way – after the 11-day debate on the Royal Address from March 9 to March 25, before the Dewan Rakyat starts debating and passing Bills on March 29, which will lapse if Parliament is dissolved subsequently before completion of the entire parliamentary programme.  This will enable the national election to be held simultaneously with the Sabah state general election, as the five-year term of the Sabah state assembly expires on April 12 – which will save RM10 million in costs as compared to holding separate elections. 

There is the third possibility of Parliament being dissolved after the end of the full parliamentary meeting on May 6 for polling to fall at the end of May or early June. 

Be that as it may, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should outline his parliamentary agenda particularly for a sustainable and successful policy for a clean and incorruptible administration. 

Last week, Tan Sri Eric Chia and Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam were arrested within a span of three days and charged in court for corruption. They are not “small fishes” but neither are they “big fishes” – only of middling size.

Last Friday, the ACA  director-general, Dato Zulkipli bin Mat Noor gave  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.

Pressures are mounting that there should be a “go slow” of arrests particularly of any “big fishes” with the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam, when this is the time not for any “go slow” but for  “all systems go” for the campaign against corruption, particularly the arrest and arraignment of the  “big fishes”.

Abdullah should not only ensure  no let-up in the campaign against the “big fishes” of  corruption, he  should spell out his parliamentary agenda for a sustainable and successful campaign against corruption, which cannot depend on  the  commitment of one man, but must be based on the rule  of laws and not the rule   of men.

In other words, Abdullah must urgently put in place a system of national integrity to  provide the institutional checks-and-balance to combat corruption regardless of who is the Prime Minister, and such institutional reforms should form the basis of Abdullah’s parliamentary agenda.  The elements of such  a parliamentary agenda for a national integrity system should include the following:

  • An Independent anti-corruption agency answerable not to the Prime Minister but to Parliament;
  • A strong and effective Parliament to combat corruption – strong not in terms of two-thirds or five-sixth parliamentary majority for the ruling coalition, but strong in having an effective and articulate Opposition committed to an all-out combat against corruption and  abuses of power starting with the denial of the Barisan Nasional two-thirds parliamentary majority.
  • A truly independent judiciary.
  • A free and crusading media in the very forefront to  expose  and combat corruption – not at present, just to report corruption arrests and prosecutions.
  • A vibrant civil society performing effective watchdog role against corruption.
  • Ensuring that the next general election is the most “free, fair and clean” in the nation’s history to lay the basis for a new culture of political integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.



* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman