should respond to the King’s call for an all-out war against corruption by
setting up a Select Committee Against Corruption headed by the Opposition to
provide parliamentary leadership to the campaign so as not to be seen as a
laggard in the anti-corruption drive
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Sunday): The Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail has made one of the most exciting royal speeches in recent times when he called for a determined effort against the corrupt, irrespective of their rank or position in society.
Speaking at the investiture ceremony marking his official birthday, the King said the Government would treat all cases of corruption, whether they involved prominent personalities or unknowns, with equal vigour.
He said: “Corrupt practices, even though not rampant, should be fought to the end. My Government will continue its anti-corruption efforts strictly and transparently”.
Parliament should respond to the King’s call for an all-out war against corruption by setting up a Select Committee Against Corruption headed by the Opposition to provide parliamentary leadership to the campaign so as not to be seen as a laggard in the anti-corruption drive.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also spoke about corruption in his interview with CNN’s Talk Asia programme, where he said he would only be satisfied when Malaysia’s corruption index has improved by leaps and bounds.
This reiteration of Abdullah’s election pledge to create a clean, incorruptible, efficient, trustworthy and people-oriented government, together with the King’s royal command for an all-out war against corruption, should be powerful wake-up calls to all sectors of the Malaysian society to take a clear stand against corruption in all its forms.
This includes Parliament which in the past few decades, had completely failed to play any leadership or pro-active role to create a new culture of political integrity with zero tolerance for corruption. In fact, in the past decade, no single Barisan Nasional MP had ever expressed concern about the lowly placing of Malaysia in the international corruption perception indices, especially the Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index which saw Malaysia’s ranking plunging from 23rd placing in 1995 to 37th placing last year!
When I was in Parliament from 1995 to 1999, I was the only Member of Parliament talking about TI’s Corruption Perception Index, and in the past five years, this concern had continued to be expressed by other DAP MPs in the last Parliament – but again with not a single Barisan Nasional MP showing any interest or concern!
In view of the King’s call and the Prime Minister’s CNN interview yesterday, I propose to meet tomorrow with the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, whose specific portfolio is parliamentary affairs, to ask him to seek the agreement of the Cabinet on Wednesday for the establishment of a Select Committee Against Corruption before the adjournment of the current Dewan Rakyat meeting on June 14.
It is most unfortunate and distressing that the first three weeks of the 11th Parliament failed to communicate to Malaysians and the world the powerful message that there is now a new-found political will on the part of the government and Parliament in an all-out war against corruption, because of three episodes:
Parliament should rise up to the occasion to respond to the King’s call and the Prime Minister’s CNN interview underlining the seriousness of the national commitment against corruption by setting up a Select Committee Against Corruption to place Parliament at the very forefront in the national campaign against corruption.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman