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Abdullah should have suspended
both the chairman and director-general of LKIM until outcome of
investigations into the mutual allegations of corruption instead of asking
them to sweep their differences “under the carpet”
(Parliament, Saturday) : The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had pledged an “all-out war against corruption” when he succeeded Tun Dr. Mahthir Mohamad in October 2003, but his actions had never belied his word.
Ironically, Abdullah gave two illustrations of the vast gap between his rhetoric and action on the anti-corruption front when he spoke to the press at the launching of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA) on Thursday.
Firstly, Abdullah lashed out at the Chairman and Director-General of the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) for their public quarrel over allegations of corruption.
LKIM Chairman Adam Abdul Hamid had lodged a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) that the agency’s top management had spent RM55 million for its Kg Geluncur complex in Kuala Kedah without open tender.
Adam told New Straits Times (10.4.07) that the complex in Kg Geluncur, completed last year at a cost of RM29 million was unable to be used as the jetty was 10 metres from shore.
As a result, the same contractor was awarded a sand-dredging project to allow sea water to reach the jetty. The fee – RM100 per cubic metre of sand removed when PWD rate is RM30.
There was also a RM8 million land-levelling contract and a RM17.8 million contract to build a 1.8 km access road to the complex – all awarded without open tender.
The LKIM management, under its director-general Datuk Annas Khatib Jaafar, had on its part lodged an ACA report against Adam, who is also chairman of Majuikan Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of LKIM, for secretly giving an offshore loan of 10 million euros (RM46 million) last year.
Abdullah should have suspended both the chairman and director-general of LKIM until outcome of investigations into the mutual allegations of corruption instead of asking them to sweep their differences “under the carpet”, wanting the duo to “sit down and resolve the matter among themselves” rather than going public and making “the public lose confidence in the government”.
The second issue was on the appointment of the new ACA director-general to replace Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor.
When asked, Abdullah said he was waiting for a detailed list of the candidates. He said: “As this is an important post, I want to study the background of the candidates before making the right choice.”
This is proof that Abdullah was caught unprepared by having to appoint a new ACA director-general and vindicated my media statement a fortnight ago that the Prime Minister was going to further extend Zulkipli’s appointment as the ACA chief despite his dismal performance and record – until the serious corruption allegations by former Sabah ACA director and whistleblower Mohamad Ramli Abdul Manan against Zulkipli made this option untenable.
Abdullah is taking too long to fill the vacancy of the post of ACA director-general. The failure to promptly fill key posts after the long-expected retirement of incumbents, whether Chief Judge of Malaya, Chief Police Officer of Kuala Lumpur and now ACA Director-General reflects very poorly on the efficiency, competence and productivity of the civil service leadership and the Prime Minister.
Such failures to promptly fill key posts in the public service are rare phenomena under previous Prime Ministers but seem to be becoming a regular feature of the present administration. It is time that Abdullah snuff out such bad practices and buck up as Prime Minister as well as getting the entire civil service, particularly the top echelons of its leadership, to buck up.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman