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Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity should be consulted on the appointment of ACA director-general who should not come from police ranks after the disastrous example of Zulkipli
(Parliament, Saturday) : An hour before midnight, Bernama released the news from the Prime Minister’s Office “Zulkipli's Contract As ACA Chief Not Extended”.
The decision not to renew Zulkipli’s contract as Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general, which ends today, has saved the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from a “firestorm” of nation-wide protest and international ridicule which would have immediately exploded in his face if Zulkipli’s contract as ACA chief had been further extended – a grave consequence which I had taken pains to serve public warning in my media statement yesterday morning.
In fact, no ACA director-general apart from Zulkipli had brought greater disrepute and odium to the anti-corruption agency in its 40-year history – with Malaysians questioning for the first time its very integrity apart from its ineffectiveness and impotence when dealing with corruption involving the big “political fishes”.
It reflects poorly on the lack of political will of the Prime Minister in his pledge to give top priority in his administry to the campaign against corruption that Zulkipli was allowed in the past month to continue to helm the ACA in the face of serious corruption allegations made against him by former Sabah ACA director Mohamad Ramli Manan when he should have been asked to go on leave to protect the public image and integrity of ACA.
Zulkipli’s credibility and integrity suffered a serious dent when he backed out of his earlier public commitment to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) as he had nothing to hide, raising questions as to what are the things he could not say and reveal to the PSCI about ACA’s integrity, commitment and sense of purpose to wipe out corruption.
The close-to-midnight statement from the Prime Minister’s Office is however a great disappointment.
expressed gratitude to Zulkipli for his services since his appointment to
the post on secondment in April 2001 and subsequently on contract from July
What is the use of “upgrading” the ACA’s “international network of collaboration” when domestically, corruption had plunged to the worst-ever level in 50 years of national independence, as reflected by the 44th ranking of Malaysia in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2006 – which is seven places worse than No. 37th in 2003 when Abdullah became Prime Minister and 21 places worse than in 1995 when TI first started its annual CPI.
Zulkipli had undoubtedly scored another first among all the ACA director-generals in the past 40 years – being the most travelled ACA chief attending the most number of international conferences, though with the least results in stopping the rot of corruption despite the biggest budgetary and staff increases for the agency in the past three years.
It will be salutary if the full list of the international conferences and foreign trips which Zulkipli had made during his tenure as ACA director-general is made public, as he clearly was more interested in the ACA’s “international collaboration” than in the real war against corruption in the country.
I said yesterday that time is fast running out for Abdullah to salvage his anti-corruption pledge and agenda – as Malaysia is in the throes of a full-blow corruption crisis, with corruption and abuse-of-power charges against the high and mighty 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, heads of state governments like the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, judges made by the Chief Justice himself, the ACA director-General or the Deputy Internal Security Minister in the “freedom for sale” scandal.
It must be very galling for Abdullah that the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has now turned the table on him with the latter repeatedly declaring that corruption today is worse than under his 22-year premiership – and with more and more people agreeing.
There are two things Abdullah must immediately do salvage his collapsing, if not already-collapsed, anti-corruption campaign:
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman