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?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaMonday): 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: 

  • Firstly, the four MCA Ministers should propose at the Cabinet meeting next Wednesday that all Ministers must lead and  set the example in Abdullah’s drive against corruption by publicly declaring their assets and adopt as  a national objective the target for Malaysia to be ranked among the world’ ten least corrupt nations instead of the present dismal 37th placing in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index;
  • Secondly, to ask the Cabinet to establish a public inquiry to  clear the MCA leadership of the serious allegation of “black gold” politics which had been  made by none other than the MCA Youth leader and a Deputy Minister, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat last year and which had implicated Ong Ka Ting, as “black gold” politics ala-Taiwan should not be allowed to take root in Malaysia for the inter-marriage of organized crime with corruption will subvert the political system, the economic system, the rule of law and social justice.
  • Thirdly, the public inquiry into “black gold” politics allegations against MCA should also investigate into the unsatisfactory investigations by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) into former MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and his son, Hee Leong on the RM1.2 billion corporate acquisitions by 27-year-old Hee Leong in a matter of months and whether there had been improper Ministerial and political influence by Liong Sik.  In August last year, I was given two conflicting versions by the ACA about the outcome of its investigations into Liong Sik and Hee Leong,  one that the investigations had been completed and that no offence was disclosed and the case closed; while another, that there had been a re-opening of the investigations consequent to an interview by Soh Chee Wen with Malaysiakini.

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