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Nazri’s guilty of height of ministerial irresponsibility in Parliament – Abdullah leading a government in disarray

Media Conference        
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Thursday): The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz is guilty of the height of Ministerial irresponsibility in Parliament when he defended the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Johari Baharum from RM5.5 million corruption allegations while admitting that he knew nothing about the outcome of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigations which have been sumitted to the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail.

I am shocked that Nazri could also turn Ministerial responsibility to Parliament “upside down” when he retorted to my query as to the Attorney-General’s decision on the ACA investigations into the RM5.5 million corruption allegations at Johari, by asking why he was being asked in Parliament about the Attorney-General and why I could not ask the question outside.

This is the first time in my experience in Parliament where a Cabinet Minister could be so brazen in his irresponsibility as to challenge an MP why he is posing a question to him on a matter which comes directly under his Ministerial and parliamentary responsibility and why he did not pose the question to the officer concerned outside the House.

This is a most deplorable precedent in the development of parliamentary democracy and accountability on the occasion of the nation commemorating 50th anniversary of nationhood.

I want to make it clear that I am not making any judgment as to whether Johari is guilty or otherwise with regard to the the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations that the Deputy Minister had released three men held under the Emergency Ordinance.

I am fully in support of Johari’s repeated public calls for the outcome of ACA investigations to be made public, especially as the ACA completed its investigations into the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations “shortly after” the deputy minister was questioned by ACA officials on March 19 and the investigation papers had been in the hands of the prosecution division.

What is the cause of the delay of over three months for a decision to be made one way or another by the Attorney-General with regard to the corruption allegations against Johari or the former ACA Director-General Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor?

It is most regrettable that my urgent motion to debate the procrastination of investigations over corruption allegations against Johari and Zulkipli on Monday had been rejected.

But why did Nazri take the extraordinary step of pre-empting both the ACA and the AG’s Chambers about the investigations into the allegations against Johari by virtually clearing him of the allegations, when he should have clarified with the Attorney-General as to the status of the investigations so that he could inform the House when asked?

Or are we seeing a government in great disarray where the Minister responsible to Parliament on the AG’s Chambers is not in good communications with the Attorney-General, Gani Patail while the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Johari, who is the de facto Police Minister, is waging a running war with the Police leadership?

What type of a government is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi leading?


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

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