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Serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli – police investigation lack credibility when an independent and impeccable commission must be empanelled to clear the name of the ACA director-general
(Parliament, Friday) : The announcement by the Inspector-General, Tan Sri Musa Hassan that he has directed his officers to record Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor’s statement, with New Straits Times front-page headline “IGP: GRILL ZULKIPLI” - which is reminiscent of a similar NST front-page headline eight days ago, “Johari grilled by ACA - deputy minister’s statement taken IN: 10 am OUT: 10 pm” – has caused many Malaysians to ask whether all this “grilling publicity” is just for the media and news bytes or for real.
Who is heading the 10-member police team to investigate Zulkipli? Is Musa himself personally heading the investigation into Zulkipli? If so, is the IGP leading the operation by “remote control”?
This is because Musa said he had issued the directive on Tuesday when he “instructed Federal CID director Datuk Christopher Wan to have his officers call Zulkipli and record his statement”.
However, Musa declined to say whether this had been done. Reason? “I have not yet been briefed on the progress by my officers.”
It is clear that if Musa is heading the investigation into Zulkipli, he is doing so by “remote control” as he is clearly not conducting a “hands on” operation with him directing all aspects of the investigation.
Is Christopher Wan heading the police investigation into Zulkipli, and if so, why is Musa interfering with the police investigation team which should independently make such a decision (and should have done so already without any “directive” or “green light” from anyone above), and if Wan is not heading the investigation team, why is Musa instructing Wan to interfere with the police investigation?
If neither Musa nor Wan is heading the police investigation into Zulkipli, who is this mysterious police officer spearheading the police investigation that his identity cannot be revealed?
All this hush-hush and strange goings-on only highlight the grave problem of credibility which the police investigation into the serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli is belabouring under, when an independent and impeccable commission must be empanelled to clear the name of the ACA director-general.
Another question that is being asked is whether the sudden “directive” by the IGP to “grill” Zulkipli is to clear the deck for the re-appointment of Zulkipli as ACA Director-General as his latest contract ends this month.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should realize that he would meet with a nation-wide “firestorm of protest” and international ridicule if Zulkipli’s contract as ACA chief is further extended when there is no credible and independent investigation into the serious corruption allegations which had been levelled against him by former Mohamad Ramli Manan.
Zulkipli’s credibility and integrity had suffered a big dent when he was conspicuously silent, failing to reiterate his earlier preparedness to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity with regard to the serious corruption allegations made against him on the ground that he had nothing to hide during the period when the Select Committee was deliberating whether to proceed with the decision to hold hearings for Zulkipli and Ramli.
In the past month, Zulkipli should have been directed to go on leave instead of hanging on to his post as ACA director-general, compromising the integrity of the ACA and doing a great disservice to the National Integrity Plan.
In fact, Zulkipli should have been dismissed as ACA director-general because of his failure to spearhead and deliver the anti-corruption campaign promised by Abdullah when he became Prime Minister more than three years ago.
In November last year, when Malaysia’s ranking on the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) plunged seven places from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 44 in 2006, I had called on the Prime Minister to sack Zulkipli as ACA chief to assume full responsibility over Malaysia’s continued slide in the past three years in the TI CPI when the National Integrity Plan objective is for Malaysia to achieve at least No. 30th ranking by next year.
From all recent indications, Malaysia’s TI CPI will plummet further south this year – not the best gift for the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations.
There is national and international consensus that corruption is one area which had deteriorated under Abdullah’s premiership, to the extent that former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad could righteously say yesterday at a public forum organised by Umno Kulai Besar branch that the corruption index, like crime, has risen.
Like it or not, Mahathir struck a sad resonance among the people when he said: “Corruption was a problem that the administration had pledged to eradicate ... and yet you see it rise ... we have gone up in the international corruption index….It's now not just a matter of what they want to snatch from you. You can lose you life, nowadays ... You have mothers killing babies.”
Corruption and abuse-of-power charges against the high and mighty are now flying thick and fast in the country, whether against the Prime Minister involving his family members, the Deputy Prime Minister concerning mega defence contract commissions, judges made by the Chief Justice himself, the ACA director-General and the Deputy Internal Security Minister in the “freedom for sale” scandal .
Most sad and tragic of, none of these serious allegations is being properly addressed by Abdullah and his administration. Time is fast running out for Abdullah to salvage his anti-corruption pledge and agenda – although there are many who would say that time has already run out!
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman