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Isa Samad should resign as MP without delay  as his continued membership in Parliament will be an intolerable affront to Abdullah’s pledge to create a new political culture of zero tolerance for corruption

Media Statement(1)

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya
, Sunday): The resignation of Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad as Federal Territories Minister is eight days, if not 113 days, too late and the next question is why he should not resign as Member of Parliament.

Isa should resign as MP without any further delay as his continued membership in Parliament is an intolerable affront to the national integrity system that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants to establish and his campaign of zero tolerance for corruption in the public service.   Isa cannot remain a single day as Member of Parliament  when he has to relinquish all his posts in UMNO and the Cabinet  because he had been found guilty of money politics and corruption in UMNO - although his sentence had been halved to three-year suspension as UMNO member by the UMNO Supreme Council.


Isa should have resigned or be sacked  as Federal Territories Minister when he was first suspended as UMNO member for six years by the UMNO Disciplinary Board on June 24, and it is most shocking that Isa  had been allowed to remain as Federal Territories Minister for eight days after the final decision of the UMNO Supreme Council on Oct. 7 to uphold the verdict of the UMNO Disciplinary Board.


UMNO leaders, like the Information Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir,  who had described  the UMNO party election on September 23 last year for UMNO Vice President and UMNO Supreme Council as “the worst case of money politics in the 34 years he had held national-level positions in the party”, has now been fully vindicated. 


In June this year, former Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Tun Ghafar Baba, lamented   that money politics involved in UMNO elections for a Supreme Council position was  not merely  RM1,000 or RM2,000, nor RM1 million or RM2 million, but from RM10 million to RM50 million!  (Sin Chew 19.6.05)  Ghafar did not mention the astronomical sums  expended for the UMNO Vice President stake. 


The critical question is whether the Isa case is the  first of a major clean-up of UMNO money politics and corruption, which is a prerequisite for the success of any nation-wide campaign to eradicate corruption and establish a national integrity system with zero tolerance for corruption.


The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), which had not been able to shake off its image as a “toothless” tiger despite  two years of Abdullah premiership, won plaudits when it detained the son of the Inspector-General of Police for corruption.  But such newly-won credit and recognition would be completely wiped out if  a Cabinet Minister or just-resigned Cabinet Minister is  immune from ACA investigation and prosecution despite being found too corrupt to remain as an UMNO member and Cabinet Minister!


The ACA director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor should explain why the ACA had signally failed in the past four months to initiate any action with regard to Isa’s corruption and money politics in UMNO party elections.


Recently, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk M. Kayveas kicked up a storm  when he lashed out at local governments for their rampant corruption and lack of accountability and transparency – acting like “secret societies”.


Kayveas said it is the local councils which were responsible for bringing down the country’s ranking in  the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index to 39th position, claiming that if the local councils are clean and efficient, the country would by now be ranked in the Top 20.


While Kayveas is “spot on”  about the “root-and-branch” corruption in the local councils, he is wrong in identifying it as  the main cause for the deep-seated culture of corruption in the country. 


I would attribute greater blame to money politics in UMNO, as it is the culture of corruption of the ruling political leadership which set the tone and example of graft and greed in the local councils and other sectors of national life, and not the other way round.


If Isa, for instance, enjoys immunity from ACA investigation and prosecution despite being found guilty of corruption and money politics as to cost him his UMNO membership and Cabinet Minister post, the national integrity system and campaign against corruption would be exposed as quite hollow while the ACA would lack  credibility and authority  to fight and eradicate  corruption in all  reaches of the government and society.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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