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ACA should adopt an open and transparent culture and not be selective in releasing information to suit the needs of its masters, whether political or bureaucratic

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Media Statement (2)    
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)ís former Disciplinary Management Centre chief and currently ACA Negri Sembilan director,  Halim Ibrahim did a most unusual thing for the ACA yesterday Ė publicly exonerating the ACA Director-General Datuk  Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor by revealing details of Zulkipliís various declaration of assets in public service. (New Sunday Times)

 

Zulkipli had  made the declaration on three occasions since 1988.


The first declaration, approved in 1999, was when Zulkipli was Johor police chief.

 

The  second declaration on Sept 14, 2003, was said to be  approved by the then Chief Secretary to the Government on March 25, 2004.

 

The third declaration was sent to the Public Service Department on July 7 last year.

Halim said Zulikipli listed five properties ó none in Pagoh, Johor, and no business interests óin his declaration of assets to the department.
 

I do not wish here to dwell on the details of Zulkipliís  three declarations of assets publicly disclosed by Halim.

 

While welcoming such publication, ACA should  as a matter of policy and principle adopt an open and transparent culture and not be selective in releasing information to suit the needs of its masters, whether political or bureaucratic.

 

In July 2005, I had queried the ACA why it had failed to take action in the case of the  former Sabah Chief Minister and Federal Minister for Land and Co-operatives, Datuk Seri Osu Sukam, in its investigations as to how he  could have amassed  such astronomical wealth as to gamble RM158.7  million, lose RM31.6 million and  run up RM7.1  million debts in a  London casino a year after political retirement, apart from bigger gambling debts in other casinos as well as in other countries like Australia.

 

I had pointed out that in Osu Sukamís 15 years in various public offices from Deputy Works Minister in 1986 to Sabah Chief Minister 1999-2001, Osu would have at least made four declarations of his assets to the Prime Minister. 

 

All these four declaration of assets to the Prime Minister should be the basis on which the ACA should launch a thorough investigation as to whether Osu had corruptly and illegally amassed  such astronomical wealth as to enable him to gamble hundreds of millions of ringgit in various casinos in London and Australia a year after his political retirement.

 

Or are declarations of assets whether by political leaders in government or top government officers so unsatisfactory and defective that they are worthless tools in the battle to promote national integrity and combat corruption?

 

The three declarations by Zulkipli in 1999, 2003 and 2006 do not seem to tally with the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Zulkipli went through a vetting process twice and was both times cleared to take up the post of ACA director-general.

Abdullah said the  first vetting was done in 2001 before he was to be appointed ACA director-general and the second time in 2005 before he was re-appointed to the post.  It would appear these vetting processes have nothing to do with examination of Zulkipliís declaration of assets or even the police report on complaints on sexual crimes and assault which had previously been lodged against Zulkipli, but which the police have no knowledge of its outcome until a few days ago.

These discrepancies should be explained without any delay so that public credibility with regarding to various governments pronouncement on this matter is not subject to further strain and stress.

 

(4/3/2007)  


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

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