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If Nazri’s shocking claim that Umno members are immune from the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 for money politics has the full endorsement of the Prime Minister, it marks the end and full retreat of Abdullah’s lacklustre three-year anti-corruption campaign
(Parliament, Thursday) : Yesterday, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that the Anti- Corruption Agency (ACA) cannot investigate cases of political corruption or money politics because these offences are confined to political parties and not public transgressions.
He said political parties were associations for members only, hence positions in such organisations were not public posts.
He, however, said this did not mean that members could buy votes in a party election because the political parties had their own mechanism such as a disciplinary board or committee to handle such misdemeanour.
“But the ACA can’t come in because this (money politics) has nothing to do with the public. It does not affect the public in the sense that it does not involve public projects or public funds,” he said in an interview.
This was not the view of one of his predecessors in charge of the law portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, who in early 2003 called on Umno to allow the ACA to investigate its leaders alleged to be involved in money politics as it falls within the definition of “corruption” under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.
This was also not the view of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he was the Deputy Prime Minister in 2001 when he publicly invited the ACA to cleanse up money politics in Umno.
Although Nazri said yesterday that he was expressing his own views as the Minister in charge of law, his claim far-reaching implications to Abdullah’s campaign against corruption.
The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail should come out publicly to state whether he agrees with Nazri and that all cases reported to the ACA involving Umno money politics as well as cases which did not involve government funds should be chucked out as they are irrelevant to the scope, functions and powers of ACA?
Even more important, Abdullah should declare whether he has authorized and endorsed Nazri to declare that Umno members are immune from the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 for their money politics and financial malpractices.
If Nazri’s shocking claim that Umno members are immune from the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 for money politics has the full endorsement of the Prime Minister, it marks the end and full retreat of Abdullah’s lacklustre three-year anti-corruption campaign.
I call on all MPs, regardless of party, to take a collective stand on Monday when Parliament reconvenes to demonstrate an unswerving commitment to an all-out war against corruption by dissociating and denouncing Nazri’s new-fangled theory to allow corruption to thrive in political parties outside the jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Act and ACA - especially as Umno’s money politics can be described as the root cause of the rampant corruption in Malaysia.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman