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Customs Director-General and Jasin MP should be summoned to appear before Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity next week to get to the bottom of allegations of graft among top Customs officials on sale of confiscated luxury cars
I will propose to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity that both the Customs director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid and the Member of Parliament for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof be invited to appear before the Select Committee on the latter’s allegations of graft among top Customs officials on sale of confiscated luxury cars.
Said had alleged in Parliament on Wednesday that top Customs officers were involved in questionable practices involving the sale of confiscated luxury cars and that the going rate for Mercedes Benz and BMW was RM40,000 in “special deals” for friends, contacts at palaces and government departments to please the buyers for specific reasons or curry favour to get datukships.
In an immediate refutation on the same day, Customs director-general, Datuk Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid denied any abuse of power in carrying out the sale. He said that “there is a committee involved in this and it is chaired by the Treasury’s secretary-general”.
This has been elaborated today by the Customs prevention division head Adnan Ariffin who said that a committee under the Finance Ministry decides on the sale of luxury cars seized by it, not the department itself.
although under Section 127(2) of the Customs Act 1967 the department’s
director-general has the power to dispose of seized items — including luxury
cars — the current director-general mooted the idea of a special committee
to ensure greater transparency.
He did not dismiss the possibility that “disgruntled Customs officers” who were unhappy with the “no-nonsense Rahman” were making use of Mohd Said to vent their frustrations.
Adnan said: "There are many out there who are unhappy with him (Rahman) simply because he does not tolerate hanky-panky. He does not play golf, never goes for karaoke but what he has been doing since he helmed the department about nine months ago is to conduct spot checks on officers.” (New Straits Times 1.7.06)
To close observers, both parties, Customs Department and the Jasin MP, seem to be pulling their punches and there appears to be an attempt to hush up the whole episode, as if each side has something to hide.
This is no more possible nor acceptable in the public interest, as both the public and Parliament are entitled to know the full facts about the allegations – the truth or otherwise. The genie is out of the bottle and it cannot be put back again, without a full public and parliamentary accounting.
Let is not be said that the “close-one-eye” syndrome has reached epidemic proportions undermining the national integrity system which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had been vainly trying to promote in the past 32 months.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity, which is entrusted to study issues of integrity in the country, including the government and Parliament, is a suitable forum for both the Customs director-general and Jasin MP to give full disclosures about the allegations, including a full list of the confiscated luxury cars which had been sold, their respective prices and buyers since Abdul Rahman took over as the top Customs officer end of last year.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman