Call for a Grand Coalition against Corruption comprising political parties, NGOs, mass media and anti-corruption entities in government to ensure that Malaysia can avert the corruption crisis presently rocking Kenya for the failure of the Kenyan President to deliver his election pledge two years ago to clean up rampant corruption
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Monday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has described as “unpardonable”, while others have used even stronger terms like “traitorous”, on a syndicate of Home Ministry officials working in cahoots with human traffickers by providing identification documents, including MyKad, to illegal immigrants.
In an exclusive, New Sunday Times reported that a woman senior official of the National Registration Department (NRD) who is being held under the Internal Security Act to help investigations into the sale of MyKad to foreigners, had being leading “a high life” since 2002 – that “she loved the good life, traveling abroad frequently, hosting lavish kenduri and even owned properties overseas”.
The question Malaysians are entitled to an answer is why the high-living senior NRD woman officer was allowed with impunity to ostentatiously live beyond her known means of income for three years, which is prima facie evidence of corruption, if the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) had taken its statutory mission seriously, particularly in the past 16 months after Abdullah has taken over the premiership with his pledge of a clean, honest and incorruptible public service and an all-out war against corruption?
The NRD syndicate working in cahoots with human traffickers by providing identification documents, including MyKad, to illegal immigrants since 2002 is a reflection not only of the rot in the NRD but also of gross incompetence in the ACA.
Although Abdullah has pledged a clean and incorruptible government, the campaign against corruption has not been given the proper top priority in the national agenda – which explains the unimpressive match of anti-corruption reality with rhetoric so far.
The time has come for Malaysia to have a Grand Coalition against Corruption comprising political parties, NGOs, mass media and anti-corruption entities in government to ensure that Malaysia can avert the corruption crisis presently rocking Kenya for the failure of the Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to deliver his election pledge two years ago to clean up the rampant corruption during former President Daniel arap Moi’s 24-year rule.
In Nairobi, the President’s Adviser on Corruption has resigned while the Law of Society of Kenya has given the government 21 days to prosecute three Ministers and four permanent secretaries for corruption and vowed to institute private prosecution if the Attorney-General failed to do so.
In Cambodia last week, World Bank president James Wolfensohn told the country’s first investment conference that Phnom Penh’s top three tasks to promote economic development – essential to generating jobs for the youthful population – were “fighting corruption, fighting corruption, fighting corruption”!
As both the visiting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Abdullah share a common anti-corruption election platform and a public commitment against graft, they should make use of their discussions during the former’s two-day visit to Kuala Lumpur to lay the basis for an ASEAN initiative to promote good governance and fight corruption as the hallmarks of the ASEAN community of nations and to make it the centerpiece of the ASEAN Summit 2005 in Kuala Lumpur.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman