Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 10th April 2009:
Najib – first task is to get rid of the corrupt in his Cabinet whether Minister or Deputy Minister
The first task of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is to get rid of the corrupt in his new Cabinet team – whether Minister or Deputy Minister.
He should seek an appointment with former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who though praised the new cabinet as “more or less graft-free” nonetheless qualified his praise when he said that Najib "did very well by dropping most of the people who have been accused of corruption, although one or two slipped in".
“One or two” corrupt Ministers or Deputy Ministers succeeded in slipping through the integrity scrutiny and firewall to get into Najib’s first Cabinet?
This is clearly unacceptable if Najib is to lead a clean and incorruptible administration with zero tolerance for corruption.
As Prime Minister for 22 years, Mahathir had shown great tolerance for corruption – as demonstrated by the fact that in the last seven years of his premiership, Malaysia’s ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index fell from No. 23 in 1995 to No.37 to 2003 – which could only mean that more than “one or two” corrupt Ministers and Deputy Ministers had got onto his government without any protest or action by the longest-serving Prime Minister of the country!
If by Mahathir’s very lenient attitude towards corruption – after all, it was the new Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who a decade ago had stood up as Umno Youth Leader at the Umno Youth General Assembly in 1998 to denounce Mahathir as the “father” of Malaysian KKN, corruption, cronyism and nepotism – he could still talk about “one or two” corrupt members of the new cabinet, a more stringent integrity standard would have faulted many more members of the Najib Cabinet.
Be that as it may, Najib should identify the “one or two” corrupt Ministers or Deputy Ministers who slipped through to be on the Najib Cabinet so that they could be flushed out and removed.
Alternatively, this could be the first task of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department responsible for Unity and Performance Management, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to locate and flush out the “one or two” corrupt Ministers or Deputy Ministers who could not even pass Mahathir’s very low integrity benchmark for the Najib Cabinet to be completely “graft-free”.
Mahathir said Najib had dropped most of the Cabinet members accused of corruption.
Who are they?
Those dropped from the Cabinet are from a very small circle, seven Ministers, viz:Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Home); Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Tourism), Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Rural and Regional Development), Senator Datuk Amirsham Abdul Aziz (Prime Minister’s Department), Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (Housing and Local Government), Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Works), Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (Federal Territories) and two Deputy Ministers, Datuk Idris Haron (Higher Education) and Datuk Noraini Ahmad (Human Resources).
Everyone of them may want to clear their names and reputation from Mahathir’s public aspersions on their integrity.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor