that corruption is not prevalent in the country contradicts BN public
admission during 2004 general election that its government was corrupt and
rotten to the core
Speech (Part 5)
- in the debate on the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address
by Lim Kit Siang
(Dewan Rakyat, Thursday): The statement in the Royal Address that “corruption is not prevalent in this country” is very shocking, especially as during the recent 2004 general election campaign, the Barisan Nasional had made a public admission and confession that the government was corrupt and “rotten to the core”.
I have here the full-page advertisement taken out by the Barisan Nasional in all the Chinese newspapers on 16th March 2004 during the election campaign confessing that the government was “corrupt and rotten to the core…with no aspect of life untainted by corruption”, that “down the years, only Pak Lah dare to declare an all-out war against corruption, and that he is just and stern like Justice Bao”. The advertisement ended with the Barisan Nasional pledging to “Defend the People” by ensuring “a clean and transparent” nation for the people and future generations.
How can the Barisan Nasional now be trusted when two months after publicly admitting and confessing that its government was “corrupt and rotten to the core…with no aspect of life untainted by corruption”, the government could come to Parliament to claim innocence and make the policy statement that “corruption is not prevalent in this country”?
I call on the Prime Minister to declare why the Barisan Nasional had taken out the full-page advertisements in all the Chinese newspapers on 16th March 2004 as part of the general election campaign admitting that the government was “corrupt and rotten to the core”, pledging a total clean-up, and yet could renege on this statement two months later, to justify inaction or low-keyed action in the fight against corruption?
This flip-flop of position between the full-page advertisements in all the Chinese newspapers and the Royal Address statement yesterday totally contradicting each other on the question of corruption in a matter of two months has only reinforced doubts as to whether Abdullah could “walk the talk” in an all-out war against corruption - “without fear or favour”.
This is why I have considerable reservations about the National Integrity Plan launched by the Prime Minister last month as to whether it would make any contribution to create a new culture of national integrity with zero tolerance for corruption by political and public leaders and to fulfil the Barisan Nasional general election pledge for a clean, incorruptible and trustworthy government.
The drafting and launching of a national integrity plan does not per se make a country clean and incorruptible or set it on the path of greater integrity, as many countries have become even more corrupt despite the launch of national integrity plans or codes of ethics.
Bolivia is one example. In 1998, it launched its National Integrity Plan. In 1998, Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranked Bolivia 69 out of 85 countries with a score 2.8; which progressively worsened, as illustrated as follows:
Will Malaysia follow in the footsteps of Bolivia, of getting even worse TI CP after the launch of the National Integrity Plan?
We have had numerous examples, such as the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994 which was not only a dead letter but became a farce when the person responsible for its drafting and launch was also the person responsible for plunging public confidence, both national and international, in the system of justice, rule of law and an independent judiciary to the country’s nadir since Merdeka in 1957.
The National Integrity Plan is full of beautiful and noble sentiments. It is important that it should not end up like the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994 or the Bolivian National Integrity Plan 1998, not only as a “dead letter” but a farce because of the wide divide between promise and practice.
The most important part of the National Integrity Plan is in page 22 on its five-year plan from 2004-2008 to achieve the target of improving Malaysia’s 37th placing in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2003 to 30th place, i.e. improvement of seven placings in five years.
I find this target most disappointing. Malaysia has the much-boasted “Malaysia Boleh” spirit in many fields, but in fighting corruption, the standard attitude appears to be “Malaysia Ta” Boleh”!
Malaysia had fallen 14 places in nine years from 23rd ranking in 1995 to 37th placing last year in the TI CPI. If Malaysia really believes in “Malaysia Boleh”, there is no reason why the government cannot accept the DAP proposal submitted in a memorandum to the Anti-Corruption Agency in August last year for a ten-year action plan for the country to be ranked among the world’s ten least corrupt nations in the annual TI CPI.
There are many major flaws in the National Integrity Plan. Although both Abdullah and the Chief Secretary, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman had spoken about the Plan being a holistic approach to deal with the problem of corruption, it is not holistic in many aspects, such as:
I had made three proposals to Abdullah during tea break at the launching of the NIP, viz:
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman