As MCA’s New Year Resolution to fight corruption is not out of conviction but because it is the new Prime Minister’s priority, will MCA be the first to endorse its abandonment if the anti-corruption campaign is not sustained after the next general election like Mahathir’s “ABC” slogan 22 years ago?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): For the first time in its 55-year history, the MCA leadership has publicly expressed concern about corruption with the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting announcing yesterday that checking corruption would be the MCA’s New Year Resolution.
However, what is most significant and noteworthy is that the MCA’s New Year Resolution to fight corruption is not out of any conviction that corruption is the bane and curse of society and nation, but because it is the priority of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as vividly illustrated by the New Straits Times headline for its report, “MCA to make Abdullah’s anti-graft drive a priority”.
This was why no MCA Minister or leader had ever said a word or expressed any concern about corruption when for over two decades, Malaysia’s corruption deteriorated from bad to worse, with the worst financial scandals in tens of millions of ringgit in the seventies skyrocketing to tens of billions of ringgit in the eighties and nineties - fully reflected by the 14-place plunge in nine years in the country’s world ranking in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from 23rd position in 1995 to 37th placing this year!
MCA should be spearheading an anti-corruption campaign not because it is the priority of the new Prime Minister, but because it is its priority that Malaysia should have a clean, incorruptible, open and accountable government with a new national culture of political and public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.
Or is Ong suggesting that if Abdullah, for whatever reason, is unable to sustain his campaign to place corruption as a top national priority after the next general election – as happened 22 years ago when Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad failed to sustain his anti-corruption drive as signified by his “ABC” slogan of “Amanah, Bersih and Cekap” after the landslide Barisan Nasional victory of his first general election in 1982 - MCA would be the first to applaud and endorse the abandonment of the anti-corruption drive?
Reading Ong’s announcement of the MCA New Year Resolution against corruption reminds me of what a Transparency International publication said in 2,000, viz:
“History is littered with the pretence of reform – grandiose promises and a conspicuous inability to even try to deliver. An example is the former President of South Korea, Roh Tae Woo. He vowed at his inauguration to be the cleanest President in his country’s history but wound up in prison, facing a host of major corruption charges.
“In other cases the intentions are genuine: newly-elected leaders arrive determined to clean up corruption, but are quickly overwhelmed by the size of the problems facing them. Yet others simply posture, making speeches, signing laws – all in the absence of any expectation that meaningful change will follow. Some enact reforms, and then privately flout them.” – Transparency International Source Book 2000
Which category does the MCA leadership and its belated New Year Resolution against corruption come under? Or is it all a class of its own – just to curry favour with the new Prime Minister and for the duration until the next general election, meanwhile waiting and praying for the end of the anti-corruption drive?
And what is this MCA New Year Resolution against corruption? From what Ong said yesterday, it is most laughable as it is nothing grandiose but just to get rid from the MCA anyone with evidence of being corrupt – as if MCA leaders and members proved to be corrupt by a court of law can still continue to hold their party positions in the MCA!
If the MCA’s New Year Resolution is not to be a farce and fiasco, there are three things which the MCA leadership should do immediately, viz:
Is Ong and the MCA leadership prepared to prove that the New Year Resolution against corruption is not a Chinese New Year Joke by embracing these three proposals?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman