Nazri should give a
clear-cut Ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday to address grave
and growing concerns of a high-level cover-up of the “18 high-profile
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Friday): The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz should give a clear-cut Ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday to address grave and growing concerns of a high-level cover-up of the “18 high-profile corruption cases”.
Nazri had said in his reply during the winding-up of the debate on the Royal Address on Wednesday that the 18 “high profile” corruption cases referred to by the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, in February this year had included former Perwaja Steel Bhd chief executive officer, Tan Sri Eric Chia and the former Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, when clearly this was not the case.
Eric Chia was charged in court for corruption on February 10, 2004 and Kasitah Gaddam claimed trial to corruption charges on February 12, 2004. Rais Yatim only made the statement in Jelebu on February 13, 2004 that at least another 18 high-profile corruption cases were still with various authorities awaiting further action after the Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam cases.
In a front-page headline, “18 lagi kes besar – Menteri antara individu berprofil tinggi dalam siasatan BPR”, Utusan Malaysia dated 14.2.2004 reported:
“JELEBU 13 Feb. - Sebanyak 18 lagi kes rasuah yang membabitkan individu berprofil tinggi termasuk menteri, kini memasuki peringkat akhir siasatan, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim.
“Menurutnya, apabila prosedur akhir pengumpulan bukti oleh Jabatan Peguam Negara dan Badan Pencegah Rasuah selesai sepenuhnya, mereka ini akan dihadapkan ke mahkamah.
“Bagaimanapun Rais enggan mendedahkan mereka yang dikatakan sedang disiasat itu.
“’Saya cuma boleh katakan bahawa mereka ini mempunyai reputasi kepentingan awam yang tinggi, profil yang tinggi dan mempunyai nilai tanggungjawab yang berada pada strata teratas.
“’Walau bagaimanapun terdapat sebahagian daripada 18 kes itu mempunyai beberapa masalah dari segi pengumpulan bukti-bukti kukuh bagi menyokong siasatan dan dakwaan,' katanya kepada pemberita selepas melakukan lawatan kerja ke Kampung Orang Asli Ulu Lakai, di sini hari ini.”
It is clear that Rais Yatim never included Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam in his “18 high-profile corruption cases pending action by the various authorites”, as Rais Yatim made the disclosure after both Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam had been charged.
In his speech in Parliament, Nazri had sought to give an accounting of the “18 high-profile corruption cases”, that 12 had been charged in court and another six awaiting decision of the Attorney-General. Nazri said that apart from Eric Chia and Kasitah Gaddam, the other 12 already charged in court were two former Selangor executive councilors, two former MPs, two from Permodolan Nasional Bhd, the general manager from Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, the Telekom general manager, Kangar Municipal President and one former Perak executive councilor.
The case of the former Kangar Municipal President, Baharudin Ahmad, who was charged in Kangar Sessions Court with four counts of corruption totaling RM387,500 on 9th February occurred a week before Rais Yatim’s statement and cannot be included among the “18 high-profile corruption cases”.
It also seems very inappropriate to include the cases of the two MPs in the “18 high-profile corruption cases”. Nazri should made a Ministerial statement to dispel concerns that there is now a cover-up of the “18 high-profile corruption cases”, and that Rais Yatim was removed from the Prime Minister’s Department and sent to the comparatively inconsequential Ministry of Art and Heritage because of his disclosure of the “18 high-profile corruption cases”.
In his Ministerial statement on Monday, Nazri should also clear the name of the 10 of 16 MPs in the last Parliament who had been investigated and cleared by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) for their RM10,000 monthly claims on grounds of having made excessive, false and corrupt claims.
Nazri said two had been charged in court, four still being considered by the Attorney-General’s Chambers while 10 had been cleared.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said in Parliament the previous week that when someone under investigation is cleared of corruption, that fact will be made public. This is only fair to the persons who had been investigated by the ACA, in order to remove the perception of their being involved in corruption.
For this reason, Nazri should in Parliament name the ten MPs of the last session who had been cleared of corruption in the ACA investigations into excessive and corrupt claims of parliamentary allowances, especially as two of them had become Deputy Ministers, namely Kong Cho Ha (BN - Lumut) and Robert Lau Hoi Chew (BN – Sibu).
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman