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Abdullah should present White
Paper in Parliament on investigations into the serious corruption
allegations against former ACA director-general Zulkipli and Deputy Internal
Security Minister Johari and allocate time for parliamentary debate
(Parliament, Tuesday) : The inability of the Prime Minister to announce the new Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general is proof that Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor would have been given a fourth extension as ACA chief if not for the serious corruption allegations made against him by former Sabah ACA director and whistleblower Mohamad Ramli Abdul Manan.
I would have been the first to welcome Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s statement that the new ACA director-general would be announced as soon as possible if the delay to immediately fill the vacancy following the termination of Zulkipli’s contract last Saturday is because the Prime Minister is adopting a new and more consultative process for the appointment of key posts like the ACA chief such as consulting the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity and representative stakeholder organizations and NGOs concerned about national integrity.
However, there are no signs that the delay in the appointment of a new ACA chief is because the Prime Minister is adopting a more transparent and consultative process in the appointment process but because he was caught totally off-guard and unprepared to fill the post as it has become completely untenable to extend Zulkipli’s term when Zulkipli had plunged the ACA and the country into the greatest integrity crisis in the nation’s history.
Although Zulkipli had claimed that his appointment on secondment as ACA director-general and extension of his contract three times showed that the Prime Minister had confidence in him, Zulkipli’s repeated extension as ACA chief will probably go down as one of the biggest failures of Abdullah’s premiership – when a new ACA director-general should have been selected when Zulkipli’s appointment first ended under his premiership on March 31, 2004.
How could Abdullah be serious about his pledge when he became Prime Minister and during the 2004 general election to make anti-corruption the top priority of his administration and a major difference with the previous Mahathir administration when he leaves untouched the person who had headed the ACA with such lacklustre record for the last two years of the 22-year Mahathir premiership?
It is a great “missed opportunity” for the ACA that in the first 40 months of the Abdullah administration committed to give top priority to the anti-corruption agenda, Zulkipli had absolutely nothing to show in an all-out war against corruption - except to go globe-trotting for international conferences which made absolutely no contribution whatsoever to fighting corruption and promoting national integrity inside the country.
The result is the plummeting in Malaysia’s international rankings such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index – falling seven places during the Abdullah premiership from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 44 in 2006.
Zulkipli’s six years as ACA chief will remembered by his failure to capitalize on Abdullah’s pledge to give top priority to the anti-corruption agenda to spearhead an all-out war against corruption.
Instead, he had let off the 18 “big fishes” which were to be netted and prosecuted when Abdullah became Prime Minister on 31st October 2003 to escape free into the “South China Sea” as well as turning in a totally “blank” record in the fight against the worst period of money politics and political corruption in the Umno supreme council elections in September 2004.
Abdullah’s stand that investigations into allegations of corruption and abuse of power against Zulkipli as well as against the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Mohd Johari Baharun in the Emergency Ordinance (EO) “freedom for sale” scandal will not be revealed to the public is a further breach of the Prime Minister’s reform pledge and agenda for an open, accountable and transparent administration.
In June 2003, Malaysians were told of a new ACA policy and pledge to be more transparent, responsible and responsive towards public demand for information about its investigations, with the ACA adopting three measures, viz:
It is in the public interest that the public should be fully informed about the investigations into Zulkipli and Johari and their outcome. For this reason, I call on Abdullah to table in Parliament a White Paper on investigations into the serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli and Johari. The Prime Minister should also agree to allocate time for a parliamentary debate on the White Paper.