Abdullah should introduce legislative amendment in Parliament next month to make the ACA answerable only to Parliament, which will be a quantum leap to establish it as a “towering institution” in the mission to transform Malaysia into a “First World Infrastructure, First World Mentality” nation

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament, Wednesday): The proposal by Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob, President  of the Integrity Institute of Malaysia, to place the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) under the jurisdiction of Parliament as part of efforts to enhance the anti-corruption drive is to be commended.  (Berita Harian) 

In his  speech to some 2,000 UMNO leaders early this month, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  called for the generation of “Malays with  towering personalities”,  outstanding in the respective fields they embark upon.

Equally if not  more important than the generation of “towering Malays”,  “towering Chinese” or  “towering Indians” must be the generation of “towering institutions” such as  “towering Parliament”, “towering judiciary”, “towering universities”, “towering police force”, “towering ACA”, “towering Election Commisson”, “towering mass media”  for the emergence of “towering Malaysians”.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should introduce legislative amendment in Parliament next month to make the ACA answerable only to Parliament which will be a quantum leap to establish it as a “towering institution” in the mission to transform Malaysia into a “First World Infrastruture, First World Mentality” nation.

Malaysians should follow closely the corruption crisis rocking Kenya because of 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 and had to do so from London in  fear of his life. 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.  

Foreign governments, like the United Kingdom, had raised the stakes in its fight against sleaze in Kenya by warning that ministers, civil servants and businessmen suspected of involvement in corruption will be refused visas to the United Kingdom.

It is most unfortunate that the Malaysian media, whether printed or electronic, has so far ignored the Kenya corruption crisis when its day-to-day developments  should be extensively reported as an object lesson to Malaysian leaders and the citizenry to avoid a similar crisis of confidence when Abdullah completes his two-year premiership – because of his failure to become a modern-day “Justice Bao” to eradicate corruption and abuses of power.

Malaysia’s slide from 37th position in 2003  to 39th position in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index  (CPI) 2004 – which coincides with Abdullah’s first full year as Prime Minister – should be grim warning that the anti-corruption drive is never easy, that the country is not making any significant headway in the campaign against corruption and the need for urgent and drastic measures if Malaysia is not to slip further in the 2005 TI CPI.

It is most disturbing that there is a prevalent denial syndrome about  the complex problem of corruption in Malaysia when the country has even fallen below the target set by the National Integrity Plan (PIN) launched by the Prime Minister last April, i.e. to improve on the 37th placing in 2003 to  attain the 30th ranking in 2008  in the TI CPI ranking, or a very modest goal of improving by  seven placings in five years or  a betterment of 1.4 positioning per year.

However, in the first year of the 2004-2008 PIN target, Malaysian had fallen behind two places instead of making a modest advance.

Malaysia had fallen 16 places in 10 years from 23rd ranking in 1995 to 39th placing last year in the TI CPI.  There are legitimate and widespread concerns that this downward spiral is not being arrested, let alone reversed.

Anti-Corruption should be top priority agenda in the Parliament meeting next month, not only with a legislative amendment to make the ACA answerable only to Parliament, but also for a parliamentary resolution to revise the very modest target of the National Integrity Plan to attain the 30th ranking in the TI CPI in 2008 when Malaysia was placed No. 23 in 1995 as well as  the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on National Integrity to monitor the anti-corruption drive.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman