Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Thursday, 18th December 2008: 

MACC/JAC Bills – don’t count chickens before they are hatched 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah should not count the chickens before they are hatched as he did yesterday following the passage of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bills when he indulged in the following hyperbole:

MACC – “They (foreign investors) will know there is no corruption or very little of it”; and

JAC – “we will bring back the confidence of the public in the judiciary”.

As I said during the debates on the MACC and JAC Bills, nobody in Government really believe

(i) that the MACC could check the rot of corruption in the country and catapult Malaysia into the stratosphere among the world’s ten or twenty least corrupt nations, with the MACC able to rival the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong or the Corrupt Practices Investigation Board (CPIB) in Singapore; and

(ii) that the JAC could fully restore national and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary after two decades of erosion and devastation or even to prevent in future the repetition of controversial appointments like the Zaki Azmi appointment as Chief Justice.

After the 1988 “mother of judicial crisis” which saw the sacking of the Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges, the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and Datuk George Seah, the country had seen the appointment of six heads of the judiciary in the past 20 years, three of whom had brought shame and scandal to the institution of the judiciary in the country and the world spanning 17 years in the past two decades.

Could the JAC ensure that this long dark chapter of the Malaysian judiciary could never happen again?

The MACC and JAC Bills should pave the way for the restoration of public confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of key institutions in the country, but the signs are not there that this will be the case, with big question marks about the professionalism and integrity of key institutions remain unanswered – including those concerning the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General.

In these circumstances, instead of counting the chickens before they are hatched, what should concern Malaysians is chickens coming home to roost as a result of the MACC and JAC Bills.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor