Cabinet next week should find out why there is such intense speculation whether any big fish reaching Cabinet level would be arrested for corruption and how to gain public confidence that it is not just the Prime Minister but the whole Cabinet which is committed in the crackdown on corruption
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that speculation on the impending arrest of high-profile personalities by the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) is “unhealthy and unproductive” and will lead to public confidence in the nation's leaders being eroded.
Najib cannot be more wrong in posing the issue. He should be more worried about the “unhealthy and unproductive” scenario where the newly-raised public hopes that the ACA would at last have the independence, freedom and power to bring to justice, without fear or favour of rank or station, those implicated in corruption, malpractices and abuses of power are dashed to the ground and proven to be baseless.
This is because there will be no greater erosion in public confidence in the nation’s leaders and the pledge and commitment of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for “a clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion” administration if no “big fish” or high-profile personalities are brought to book to face justice by the ACA after the arrest and arraignment of former Perwaja managing director Tan Sri Eric Chia and Land and Co-operative Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam – who are “middling fish” and no “big fish”.
Najib’s acknowledgement of the widespread speculation on the impending arrest of high-profile personalities by the ACA is the strongest proof of the lack of public confidence in the integrity and incorruptibility of high-ranking leaders in the country and the people’s high hopes and expectations that the ACA would at long last be able to nab the “big fishes”, for three reasons:
The top agenda at the Cabinet meeting next Wednesday should address the the intense speculation whether any big fish reaching Cabinet level would be arrested in Abdullah’s campaign against corruption to find out the reasons as to why the people’s high hopes in Abdullah’s pledge for a “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion” administration has not been translated into full confidence for the ACA to fight corruption including the “big fishes”.
The Cabinet t should demonstrate that it fully supports Abdullah’s war against corruption by adopting 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 any pressure to “go slow” and stop with the two cases of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam.
The Cabinet should give full support to Abdullah’s campaign against corruption with three decisions next week::
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman