Cabinet Ministers should publicly declare their assets to prove that they don’t “cakap tak serupa bikin” and to provide the most basic leadership to the civil service for a clean, incorruptible and accountable administration
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has made another good speech for a clean, incorruptible and accountable government yesterday when he said that political leaders should lead by example in combating corruption.
Declaring that it was sheer hypocrisy to tell government officials to behave when they did not uphold good work ethics, Abdullah said that there will be no place in his administration for political leaders who don’t practise what they preach - “cakap tak serupa bikin”.
He asked: “If the political leaders are themselves involved in corruption or are inefficient in carrying out their duties, how can they expect the officials under them to serve the people well?”
If Abdullah should conduct a national opinion poll, he will find that as far as the people are concerned, both the Cabinet and the government political leadership are studded with leaders who don’t practise what they preach and have no credibility in any campaign for a clean, incorruptible and accountable government.
This is why Abdullah’s speech yesterday, which would have received lavish praises from the public in the first two months of his premiership, is getting a much more sober response, as there have been too many promises and too little action in an all-out war against corruption and abuses of power to create a new culture of political integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.
One of the most noteworthy features of Abdullah’s first 70 days as Prime Minister is the total failure of the Cabinet to give him solid support in all-out campaign for a clean, incorruptible and accountable government, as long-standing reports of corruption lodged against several Cabinet Ministers whether in their individual capacities or over “black gold politics” allegations have still to be satisfactorily resolved.
This is why the surprise appointment of Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop as the Second Finance Minister has the effect of undermining Abdullah’s campaign for a clean, incorruptible and accountable administration unless the Prime Minister gives his full support for a White Paper to be issued to give full and proper accounting for the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign exchange speculation losses a decade ago, which was single-handedly presided over by Nor Mohamed Yakcop when he was the No. 3 in the Bank Negara.
If Cabinet Ministers want to provide the most basic leadership to the civil service for a clean, incorruptible and accountable administration as well as to give solid support to Abdullah in an all-out campaign for a clean, incorruptible and accountable government, then the Cabinet should take the policy decision next Wednesday for all Ministers to publicly declare their assets.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman