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Samy Vellu cannot make the
transformation from “Dracula” to a saint unless he publicly apologises for
his earlier “bloodthirstiness” in demanding that four Opposition leaders be
jailed for at least one year for “blowing the whistle” about the lopsided
Litrak LDP concession
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : Works Minister and MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is both incensed and very hurt.
This came across powerfully in the exclusive interview he gave for New Sunday Times today, “’Works Minister, still smarting over being accused of ‘going for blood’, says…’I’m no Dracula’”.
He showed his feelings in the very first question of the interview, when he was asked about his “outburst about not being ‘the bad boy’ of tolls”, as follows:
Q: Your outburst about not being "the bad boy" of tolls took many by surprise. All kinds of allegations have been levelled at you over the years regarding toll hikes, so why did you react that way?
A: There’s pressure being applied now by the opposition. They were trying to paint a picture that I make all these decisions to bring hardship to road users and the people, which is not true.
First, let me state that “Dracula” had never entered my mind when in my statement of 3rd February I had demanded to know why Samy Vellu was “suddenly so ‘bloodthirsty’ as to want four Opposition leaders, namely Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Tian Chua of PKR, Ronnie Liu of DAP and Dr. Hatta Ramli (PAS) jailed for at least a year under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for revealing that the government had guaranteed profits to Litrak in the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) concession agreement?”
My statement continued:
“What have the four done that they must be treated like ‘highway robbers’ and must be made to suffer the most severe form of punitive punishment, of being jailed for at least one year, if they are charged under the OSA and found guilty of unauthorized communication of an official secret?
“Have they done anything akin to sabotage or imperil the national economy, subvert the national security or undermine national stability?
“I do not believe that Samy Vellu, even in his most creative best, would be able to make out a prima facie case that the four Opposition leaders had done any of these terrible things in connection with he publication of the Litrak LDP concession agreement.
“I went back to the news reports as to what was revealed about the Litrak LDP concession – that the LDP concession
“Are these revelations so earth-shattering as to shake the government, society and nation to their very roots as to require invocation of a draconian and repressive law to jail the four for a minimum term of one year each?
“In fact, astute Malaysians would have guessed the lopsided contents in the concession agreements and privatization contracts, even without sighting them.
“The question is what has made Samy Vellu so ‘bloodthirsty’ that he is behaving as if he has usurped the powers of the Attorney-General or had arrogated to himself the powers of a Super Attorney-General on toll concessions and OSA prosecutions? Why is he demanding his pound of flesh, muttering that ‘they will have to pay the price’?
“Samy Vellu should know that anyone charged and convicted under the OSA would be mandatorily jailed for a minimum of one year, regardless of whether the offence is grave or trivial, or the motive – whether it is to betray the country by selling national defence secrets or in the exercise of the highest form of patriotism to uphold accountability, transparency and integrity and to expose corruption and abuses of power.
“This was because Samy Vellu is one of the few remaining Cabinet Ministers responsible for the most shameful, undemocratic, repressive, draconian and pernicious pieces of legislation in the land - the 1986 amendment to the Official Secrets Act imposing a mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence on conviction, regardless of the gravity of the offence or the noble motivation for the disclosure. “
It was only after Samy Vellu had lost out in the public argument for his “bloodthirstiness” in wanting the four Opposition “whistleblowers” jailed for at least one year under the OSA while being blissfully unconcerned of similar breaches of the OSA by the concession companies, equity analysts and rating agencies which had freely made use of “official secrets” in the highway concessions to publicly flog their shares, loans and bonds that the Works Minister reacted with a lot of hurt and angst.
In another statement, I had described this as a most deplorable and retrograde government and Ministerial mindset which is only interested in using the OSA against whistleblowers who had acted in the public interest but not against profiteers for personal and private gain.
Now, Samy Vellu wants to fly the standard of a reformer and advocate for government openness, accountability and transparency over his efforts in the Cabinet to declassify the highway concessions.
Let me tell Samy Vellu that he cannot make the transformation from “Dracula” (his own term and not mine) to a saint unless he publicly apologises for his earlier “bloodthirstiness” in demanding that the four Opposition leaders be jailed for at least one year for “blowing the whistle” about the lopsided Litrak LDP concession.
This act of remorse and contrition must be followed up by his public advocacy, starting in the Cabinet, that all OSA investigations and proceedings, including against the four Opposition leaders over the toll concessions, should be halted until the OSA is phased out and replaced by a Freedom of Information Act.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman