DAP calls for
the National Integrity Plan to be tabled and debated in Parliament and all
State Assemblies for endorsement so that the farce of the rejection of the
DAP motion supporting the Prime Minister’s fight against corruption in the
Perak State Assembly by the Speaker last week would not be repeated
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman yesterday announced that four front-line ministries have been selected to spearhead the National Integrity Plan (PIN) to fight corruption and improve the public delivery systems, namely the Ministries of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Housing and Local Government, Women, Family and Community Development, and Higher Education.
Apart from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the choice of the other three Ministries to spearhead the government’s war against corruption is most controversial and debatable as they go against the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)’s own finding on the “Top Ten” government agencies and departments most prone to corruption – headed by the police, followed by the local authorities, land offices, the education ministry/department and the road transport department. The other three “front-line” Ministries to combat corruption should have been chosen from the Ministry of Internal Security, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Education and the land offices.
Samsudin, who is also the National Integrity Institute chairman, said the ministries had been asked to look at replacing procedures that were no longer relevant and improve the delivery system to stamp out corruption. For instance, the Housing and Local Government Ministry could push the local authorities to improve procedures in handling public complaints.
Malaysians are wondering whether the recent proposal by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to do away with the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO) requirement for new buildings and replace it with the declaration from professionals like the engineers and architects in the project to certify the safety of the building and compliance with specifications is primarily prompted by the failure to root out corruption and improve the public delivery system of local authorities.
Instead of coming out with a formula which most probably would end up with the house-buyers jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, as the cure may be worse than the disease, the better solution is to overhaul the entire local government system by restoring City, Municipal and local council elections to ensure greater responsibility and efficiency as well as direct accountability to the ratepayers.
Samsuddin should be aware of the widespread skepticism about the National Integrity Institute and the National Integrity Plan (NIP), and his claim that the NIP is “on the right track as planned” has been most forcefully rebutted by the farce in the Perak State Assembly last week when the DAP motion to support the Prime Minister’s fight against corruption was rejected out-of-hand by the Speaker!
I do not think the Perak State Assembly Speaker, Datuk Mat Isa Ismail had read or understood the National Integrity Plan which was launched by the Prime Minister in April, or he would not have gone against the very spirit of Abdullah’s pledge for a clean and incorruptible administration by rejecting the DAP’s motion to support the Prime Minister’s fight against corruption.
It is most astonishing that with the paucity of results so far in the fight against corruption – there is for instance still no word of the outcome of the 18 “high-profile corruption cases” in the past four months since it was first revealed by Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim when he was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in February – there are more and more hyperbolic claims about the achievements of the national integrity campaign.
One recent example is the claim by the ACA director-general Datuk Zulkifli Mat Noor that Malaysia is set to be Asia's premier training and referral centre for the war against graft with the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Academy. How can Malaysia be set to be Asia’s leading centre against corruption when Malaysia trails so woefully behind other Asian countries in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2003?
In the TI CPI 2003, Malaysia is ranked 37th out of 133 countries with the CPI score of 5.2, as compared to Singapore, ranked No. 5 with score of 9.4; Hong Kong ranked No. 14 with score of 8.0; Japan ranked No. 21 with score of 7.0; Taiwan ranked 30 with score of 5.7.
score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business
people, academics and risks analysts, and ranges between 10 (highly clean)
and 0 (highly corrupt).
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman