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Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity should not disappoint former IGP and Malaysians who expect it to rise to the national challenge when it meets tomorrow to help the Prime Minister to honour his pledge to uphold integrity and fight corruption in the serious allegations against the ACA chief
(Penang, Sunday) : The longest-serving former Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, in his Sunday Star column “Point of View” today dealt the serious corruption allegations which had been made against the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Zulkipli Mat Noor by former top ACA officer and “whistleblower” Mohamad Ramli Manan in July last year.
Entitled “Panta Rei – It's inexorable”, Hanif wrote:
“If we recall the reported course of events in the ACA director-general’s case, an ACA director had reported by letter to the IGP on July 4 last year against his DG and another, asking the IGP to treat the letter as a first information report. It is reported that he had also sent copies of the letter to the AG, among others…
“In this particular case, there was no apparent useful response from the police or the others from July 4, 2006, to perhaps early March 2007. It would be interesting to know why. This inordinate delay could have been the cause of the complainant reporting to Parliament’s Select Committee on Integrity and Corruption. To the credit of the PSC, it acted expeditiously to make known that it would convene an enquiry into the allegations on March 12 by calling both complainant, the ACA director-general, as well as the previous IGP to clarify the situation. This was a far-reaching decision that could have made an enormous impact on the current battle against malfeasance and injustice.
“The action of the PSC has served notice that proper redress must be given to a citizen’s grievances and that Parliament would hold the public services to account. In one fell stroke it had brought the tipping point closer.
“No doubt the PSC itself has no punitive power: it doesn’t need it. It can act like the US Grand Jury; its ventilation of the problem by its grilling power will shine the light on the human or procedural weaknesses in the public services or on the malice or unreasonableness of the complainant. It can also provide other institutions with the cause and evidence to force the necessary remedial action.
“But alas, the Select Committee chairman is reported to have called off its March 12 session because of the latest developments in the case, including the investigations by the police and the AG. So, we won’t know for a while, if ever, what action the police and the AG had taken in the seven over months since the report was first lodged.
“I was hoping to end this column by proclaiming the PSC’s original move as proactive boldness on the part of Parliament to prevent our institutions from its perceived voluntary free fall, but the calling off of the case has put paid to that.”
Despite some minor errors, such as wrongly stating that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) had also called the “previous IGP”, i.e. Tan Sri Bakri Musa, Hanif had given expression to the hope by Malaysians that the PSCI would act with originality, creativity and “pro-active boldness” on behalf of Parliament “to prevent our institutions from its perceived free-fall”.
The PSCI, when its meets at Parliament Committee Room Two tomorrow at 9.30 am to review its earlier decision whether to call and hear Zulkipli and Ramli, should not disappoint the former IGP and Malaysians who expect it to rise to the national challenge to help the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to honour his pledge to uphold integrity and fight corruption in the serious allegations against the ACA chief.
At present, Abdullah is hampered by institutional obstacles and has not been able to deliver his pledge to make anti-corruption the top agenda of his administration.
Malaysians have lost faith in the ACA, not only because of its ineffectiveness or impotence as a “paper tiger” against the high and mighty but what is unprecedented in the past 40 years - over its integrity and incorruptibility, when the ACA director-general himself is the subject of serious corruption allegations.
The ACA is faced with a great crisis of confidence in 40 years and the nation the greatest crisis of integrity in 50 years of nationhood, which ordinary Malaysians are fully aware of (including former IGP Hanif) - except the authorities, whether the Prime Minister, the ACA or the Police, pretending that such a double crises do not exist.
The PSCI must step into the void and vacuum to save the day for the nation, quoting Hanif Omar, “ to prevent our institutions from a voluntary free fall” and restore national and international confidence in the integrity of our institutions.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman