Is Joseph Salang the Sarawak Federal deputy minister under ACA investigation as he is the only one of the five who had not denied or are all the denials by the other four deputy ministers dubious as they had included the deputy minister under ACA probe?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Friday): Is Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, the one under Anti-Corruption Agency investigation as he is the only one out of the five Sarawak Federal deputy ministers who had not denied or are all the denials by the other four deputy ministers from the state dubious as they had included the deputy minister under ACA probe?
Yesterday’s Sun reported the first denial, by the Deputy Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Dr. Tiki Lafe who said he had not been approached by the ACA.
Malaysiakini yesterday reported the second denial by Deputy Transport Minister Douglas Uggah Embas, who announced that the five deputy ministers from Sarawak will meet in Parliament during the special sitting on Monday to discuss their next course of action following the revelation by the outgoing Sarawak ACA director Mohd Jamidan Abdullah that a federal deputy minister from Sarawak is being investigated by ACA for malpractice since last November under Section 11(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1997.
Will the meeting of the five Sarawak deputy ministers in Parliament demand that the deputy minister being investigated by the ACA should own up publicly to spare the other four deputy ministers from being unfairly placed under a cloud of corruption, or are all the five going to unite to demand action against the ACA on the ground that it should not have made any such revelation?
Be that as it may, the Sun today reported that two other Sarawak deputy ministers have denied that they are under ACA probe, namely Housing and Local Government deputy minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Joseph Entulu Belaun.
This leaves Joseph Salang Gandum as the only Sarawak deputy minister who has not denied being under ACA proble, raising the pertinent public interest question whether he is the one referred to by Mohd Jamidan.
Joseph Salang should clarify without any delay or he has only himself to blame if he is generally regarded in Sarawak and in the country as the deputy minister from the state under ACA proble, which would adversely affect his effectiveness and usefulness as deputy foreign minister.
If Joseph Salang denies that he is under ACA probe, then we are back to square one, as it would render completely useless the first round of denials by the five Sarawak deputy ministers – raising a new issue of one of the five Sarawak deputy minister telling a public lie, unless the ACA had misled the people and country about a deputy minister from Sarawak under ACA investigation.
Whatever the real picture, such merry-go-round can do the nation’s reputation and the government’s commitment to a system of national integrity no good. The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, should cut the Gordan knot and announce the identity of the Sarawak deputy minister under ACA probe and what he proposes to do with him until the deputy minister could be cleared of corruption by the ACA.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman