Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 18th August 2009:
Ahmad Said’s claim “No one accorded special treatment by MACC” – Tell it to the Marines!
Bernama today headlined “No one accorded special treatment by MACC” on its report quoting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan as saying that everybody who is investigated by the MACC for corruption is treated the same regardless of whether the individual is an ordinary person or a politician.
Ahmad Said said politicians, whether they were from the opposition parties or the government, were also treated the same.
He said: “Everybody is the same and no one is accorded special treatment.”
My response and the response of overwhelming majority of Malaysians to Ahmad Said’s statement is – Tell it to the Marines!
Ahmad Said’s claim that “no one is accorded special treatment in MACC” qualifies for the champion trophy for the year for any “Believe it or not?” competition for the category of a statement made by a public officer with the least public credibility!
Has Ahmad Said realized that under his leadership, the MACC (previously Anti-Corruption Agency or ACA) has sunk to the lowest point of public confidence in the past 42 years since the establishment of the ACA in 1967 and has he paused to try to understand why this unprecedented crisis of confidence faced by MACC after seven months of becoming a world-class anti-corruption commission?
Former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had hoped that MACC could be one of his very few legacies as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, but it is proving to be the opposite, as Abdullah is being blamed for creating a Gestapo-like monster completely contemptuous of the rule of law and the human rights of Malaysians as illustrated by the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock in MACC headquarters and the high-handed and gangsterish behavior of unidentified MACC officers in trying to arrest another DAP political aide, Wong Chuan How in Sungai Pelek last Friday.
In yesterday’s press, in trying to deny adopting Gestapo tactics on Wong, MACC claimed that Wong had tried to escape from arrest – which is the most ridiculous charge to level against any political worker as the whole episode happened in full public view.
Two DAP lawyers and elected representatives who were eye-witnesses of what happened, DAP MP for Seremban John Fernandez and DAP Negri Sembilan Bukit Kepayang State Assemblyman have jointly refuted the MACC account.
The primary reason why Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s (TI) annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is going from bad to worse – plunging from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008 – is because of the failure of the anti-corruption body to break away from its culture of selective investigation and prosecution, gunning for the “ikan bilis” while steering clear of the “ikan yus”.
MACC can never restore public confidence in its efficiency, independence and professionalism or be of any use to break the back of the scourge of corruption in Malaysia and see significant improvements in Malaysia’s ranking in TI CPI unless it proves that it is capable of fighting corruption “without fear or favour”.
At present, MACC operates in “fear” of the powerful and in “favour” of those in high political places.
After becoming MACC, the anti-corruption body has degenerated as instead of declaring an all-out war against corruption it has become the Umno/BN catspaw to declare an all-out war against Pakatan Rakyat.
The defence of MACC by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz is therefore no surprise to the majority of Malaysians, who regard this as a confirmation of their worst fears about MACC’s betrayal of the trust of Malaysians to eradicate corruption without fear or favour.
The Anti-Corruption Advisory Board yesterday called on the MACC to continue its investigations into corruption cases regardless of the status or background of the individual involved.
Unfortunately, the MACC has not even made a start in this direction or its public esteem would not for plunged to such a nadir – even lower than the police.
Has MACC started investigations as to whether Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had corruptly abused his powers in flying RMAF Nuri helicopter officiate Umno divisional meetings in Sabah last weekend – completely unrelated to Muhyiddin’s official powers and duties?
Dare MACC conduct a public opinion poll about its public standing and credibility?
Transparency International Malaysia has called on the MACC not to leave any stone unturned in its investigations into the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
This is actually quite a ridiculous statement - as the more pertinent question is whether MACC or previously ACA had turned any single stone since the first official report was lodged about the PKFZ scandal four years ago?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor