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Pak Lah as Justice Bao?


Speech (3) in Parliament  on Royal Address Motion
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Wednesday) :The  reasons for the general  assessment that Abdullah had failed in his mid-term report card to deliver his reform pledge, even among Malaysians who want him to succeed and are still prepared to support him to ensure his reforms can succeed, would include:

1.      Failure of anti-corruption campaign


Yes, there is the National Integrity Plan, the Integrity Institute of Malaysia, Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity, and the Royal Address yesterday mentioned the campaign for the  police to wear the  “I am Anti-Corruption” badge – but all these do  not add up to any anti-corruption drive.


The Public Complaints Bureau public opinion poll system should seek the opinion of Malaysians as to whether corruption is less or more 30 months after the Abdullah premiership. 


Let me state here that many Malaysians I asked in the past few days have said that corruption has got worse since Abdullah became Prime Minister – which is supported by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who said in May  last year that “corruption might be getting to a point of no return” as it had become a  culture in Malaysia with corruption almost at the "above the table" level and more and more people no longer trying to hide the fact.


It is also supported by the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index  which saw Malaysia’s ranking falling from 37th  in 2003 to  39th placing in 2004 and 2005.

In the March 2004 general election campaign, the Barisan Nasional took out full-page advertisements 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.  

What is there to show in the past 30 months for Pak Lah to be a Justice Bao in  “an all-out war against corruption”?


Those who follow the television or videos of Justice Bao will know of his team of lieutenants who helped him to fight corruption and power abuses regardless of rank or wealth – Zhan  Zhao, Gongsun Ce,  Wang Chao, Ma Han, Zhang Long and Zhao Hu.


Who are his Zhan Zhao, Gongsun Ce,  Wang Chao, Ma Han, Zhang Long and Zhao Hu.  Is Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak his Zhan Zhao, Local Government and Housing Minister Ong Ka Ting his Gongsun Ce, Works Minister S. Samy Vellu his Wang Chao, International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz his Ma Han, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik   his Zhang Long and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Aziz  his Zhao Hu?


Without  his Zhan Zhao, Gongsun Ce,  Wang Chao, Ma Han, Zhang Long and Zhao Hu, Justice Bao would be toothless and helpless to rein in the corrupt among the high and mighty. Similarly, without his team of anti-corruption campaigners, there is nothing Abdullah can do to make a dent on the scourge of corruption, however well-meaning he is, as he would only be a lone and helpless voice.

If more evidence is needed about the worsening corruption in Malaysia in the past 29 months, let me just advert to four items:

  • The failure to nab the 18 “high profile” corruption cases highlighted by the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Rais Yatim, before the March 2004 general election.
  • The “advice” by the former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba at his 80th birthday celebration in Kota Bharu last year  proposing the auction of top UMNO posts to the highest bidder – with UMNO division chief probably fetching RM50,000 while a UMNO Vice President bidding RM5 million – if there is no way to resolve the problem of money politics in UMNO. (Berita Minggu 17.4.05)


  • The systemic and even syndicated corruption in the Malaysian police as exposed by  the Police Royal Commission in its Report, which “is part of a larger problem of corruption in Malaysia” and not affected in any manner by the police wearing “I am Anti-Corruption” badge.


  • The AP Kings and their beneficiaries  rolling in tens and hundreds of millions and even  billions of ringgit.


During the debate on the first motion of Thanks for the  Royal Address in May 2004  after the last  general election, I had made two proposals to give meaning  to the anti-corruption campaign, but they have still to be acted upon by the government after two years.


These two proposals were:


  • That the United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2003 which Malaysia ratified at the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Mexico in  December 2003 should be presented and formally ratified by Parliament, to underline the message that the campaign against corruption is a national campaign directly involving Parliament and all stakeholders of the society. 


  • That there should be a  Code of Ethics for all MPs and State Assembly members, as such a Code should  not be treated as an internal party affair, as national integrity must be regarded as an issue which transcends party politics.  Public  asset declarations by elected representatives could emulate the example of New Zealand, United Kingdom and other countries where their legislatures maintain a register of the declaration of financial interests and assets of members which are public documents open to public scrutiny. 


Most important of all, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) must be elevated into an independent body answerable only to Parliament if it is to have the credibility to spearhead the war against corruption, and not continue to be a toothless agency barred from investigating and prosecuting the corrupt among the high and mighty.


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

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