Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 24th April 2010:
Farce of prosecution and acquittal of two Perak “frogs” has plunged public confidence in MACC to new low and will cause Malaysia’s CPI 2010 to plumb a new depth
The farce of the prosecution and acquittal of the two Perak “frogs” has plunged public confidence in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to a new low and will cause Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index 2010 of Transparency International to plumb to a new depth from the nation’s present worst ranking of No. 56 in 2009.
Even before public confidence in MACC has recovered from the fatal blow of the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters falling from 14th to 5th floor on July 16 last year, the MACC has scored another own goal with the farcical prosecution and acquittal of the two “frogs” in Perak.
MACC and the Barisan Nasional should know the outcome if an opinion poll is conducted among Perakians and Malaysians as to whether they believe there was a “package deal” offered to engineer the defection of the two “frogs” and their dastardly betrayal of the people’s mandate to topple the legitimate Pakatan Rakyat Perak state government and Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin.
The new grievous blow to public confidence in the MACC could not have come at a worse time, when public outrage at the obstacles and pressures put in the way of the renowned Thai pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand to prevent her from coming to the country to testify in the inquest into the causes of Teoh Beng Hock’s death has not subsided.
Although the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein finally offered police protection to Pornthip if she comes to Malaysia to testify at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest, it has not escaped notice that this was not the initial reaction of the Home Minister, who had to take ten long days to come up with such an offer after raising several obstacles and objections.
As a result, the credibility of Hishammuddin’s offer is not pure and pristine and from reports, Pornthip is not sufficiently convinced and is unlikely to come to Malaysia to to provide continuing testimony in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.
In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini on April 11, Pornthip said she would not appear for the Teoh Beng Hock inquest when it resumed on April 20 citing “political pressure” from the Malaysian government.
Pornthip said she was “advised” by high-ranking officials from the Thai Justice Ministry - where she is director-general of the ministry's Central Institute of Forensic Science - not to come to Malaysia for the inquest.
According to her, the Thai Foreign Ministry had received “signals” from the Malaysian government through “informal channels” suggesting that her presence at the inquest would not be welcomed.
She said: “It was conveyed to me by certain senior Thai government officials that there has been political pressure from certain Malaysian government circles to block my presence in court, so much so that it might interfere with my current important forensic mission in southern Thailand.”
Pornthip is concerned that her involvement in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest could impinge on her work in the three troubled southern Thailand provinces where thousands have died in a Muslim separatist insurgency.
In 2004, Pornthip led the forensic team which investigated the infamous Tak Bai incident where 85 Muslim protesters had suffocated to death while being held in military trucks.
With one senior Malaysian minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on public record with inflammatory and prejudicial statements against the Thai pathologist, with the infamous statement "She is a liar! She lied in the inquest and she is lying now", the onus is on the Malaysian Cabinet to convince the Thai Government to allow Pornthip to come to Malaysia for her continuing testimony in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.
Otherwise, the combination of these two cases – the mysterious Teoh Beng Hock death at MACC headquarters and the farce of prosecution and acquittal of the two Perak “frogs” – will drive Malaysia’s ranking on Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2010 to the 60th placing if not worse.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor