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Zulkifli and Ramli should
voluntarily attend the PSCI meeting in Parliament on Monday to honour their
public undertaking of their preparedness to appear and tell all about the
serious corruption allegations in ACA
(Parliament, Saturday) : The Monday (March 12) meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) will be held as fixed although with an altered agenda.
The March 12 meeting had been decided by the PSCI at its meeting on 27th Feb. 2007 to hear the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general, Datuk Zulkipli Mat Noor and former top ACA officer and “whistleblower”, Mohamad Ramli Manan on serious allegations of corruption in the ACA; but the Chairman of PSCI, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, had on Thursday arbitrarily and unilaterally made a shock announcement of its cancellation in view of police investigations against Zulkifli and the filing of lawsuits by Ramli against his former boss and several government agencies.
I had faxed a protest to Bernard yesterday asking that the PSCI meeting on March 12 should be held as scheduled to hear Zulkipli and Ramli or to reconsider whether to hear the duo and the Select Committee’s role in the latest developments raising fundamental questions about national integrity, in particular in ACA and Police.
As the March 12 meeting to hear Zulkipli and Ramli was the formal decision of the PSCI meeting on 27th Feb. 2007 - the second day of its meeting to deal with issues concerning the scourge of the false identity card rackets in Sabah - any cancellation of the March 12 meeting could only be made by the PSCI itself and not unilaterally and arbitrarily by any one person.
Bernard has agreed that the PSCI meeting on Monday should proceed as scheduled to consider whether Zulkipli and Ramli should appear before the Select Committee. A new notice from Parliament informing all MPs on the PSCI of the Monday meeting had been sent out yesterday.
Although the invitation to Zulkipli and Ramli to the Select Committee meeting on Monday had been cancelled earlier and they had accordingly been informed, both of them should voluntarily attend the PSCI meeting in Parliament on Monday to honour their public undertaking of their preparedness to appear and tell all about the serious corruption allegations in the ACA.
Zulkipli had told Bernama (1.3.07) that he was ready to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee on March 12 with detailed evidence against the serious corruption allegations made against him, declaring: “I have the confidence and courage to face the problem because I believe in God and only a person with guilt needs to be afraid.”
Ramli in his interview with the New Straits Times (2.3.07) “vowed to tell all” to the Select Committee, declaring: “There is nothing to hide. I will be there.”
I had forewarned in my blog (2.3.07) that Zulkipli and Ramli should honour their public undertaking “to tell all” to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity “as any refusal or reluctance by anyone of them to do so will immediately be an adverse reflection on his credibility and integrity”.
I do not know the real reason why Bernard cancelled the invitation to Zulkipli and Ramli to appear before the PSCI as I do not accept the two reasons he had given.
I can only guess that the only reason would be one or both of the duo had refused to attend as I cannot see how the PSCI could abdicate from its responsibility to hear from both of them if the duo are fully prepared and committed to appear before the Select Committee to speak the whole truth with both claiming that they have nothing to hide.
This is why both Zulkipli and Ramli should voluntarily attend the PSCI meeting in Parliament on Monday to honour their public undertaking of their preparedness to appear and tell all about the serious corruption allegations in the ACA, as the PSCI on Monday would have to entertain their views and submissions as otherwise the Select Committee would be guilty of gross dereliction of duties and abdication of responsibilities.
The PSCI should not interfere with the police investigations into Zulkipli or Ramli’s legal suit, but the PSCI’s responsibility to Parliament and the nation to address integrity challenges facing the country cannot be hampered or stymied by any quarter or baseless excuses.
The PSCI would be completely failing in its duty if it is utterly indifferent or unconcerned about the greatest crisis of integrity facing the country, when the very integrity of the ACA has come under national and international question with the ACA director-general himself alleged to be guilty of corruption.
The admission by the ACA deputy director-general Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan that ACA image, credibility and staff morale had suffered a blow by the serious corruption allegations against Zulkipli is a mere understatement.
The ACA is in fact facing its greatest crisis of confidence in its 40-year history. In the past 39 years, the ACA had been regarded as a “paper tiger”, with only power to go after the “ikan bilis” but not after the “ikan yu’s”even in the Abdullah administration as proven by the disappearance of the 18 “big fishes” which had escaped into the “high seas”.
A fundamental line has now been crossed by the ACA, when public doubts and skepticism are no more confined to its effectiveness or impotence to deal with the “high-profile”corrupt despite the worsening corruption problem in the country as reflected by the 21-place drop from No. 23 to No. 44 in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in the past 12 years from 1995 to 2006.
For the first time in its 40-year history, public doubts and skepticism about the ACA have now extended to its very core purpose, the heart and soul of ACA on its integrity and incorruptibility.
On Monday, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) President Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam announced the findings of the inaugural Malaysian Transparency Perception Survey 2007, that the five government agencies with perceived lowest integrity and transparency (or deemed most corrupt) among the public are the police (56 per cent), Road Transport Department (25 per cent), Customs and Excise (19 per cent), Public Works (7 per cent) and Land Office (6 per cent).
The answer may be very different if the survey had been conducted now, with ACA probably featuring fairly prominently among the government agencies regarded by the public as lacking in integrity and transparency.
This is a development which the PSCI must view with gravity and a sense of urgency, which has nothing to do either with police investigations into Zulkifli or Ramli’s legal suits against his former boss and other government agencies as it concerns the very credibility, legitimacy and integrity of the ACA, the government and the National Integrity Plan.
When Malaysians have lost faith in the ACA, not because of its ineffectiveness or impotence as a “paper tiger” but over its integrity and incorruptibility, the PSCI must rise to the occasion to address such a grave crisis of confidence in integrity facing the country in half-a-century of nationhood. Otherwise, the 50th National Day Golden Jubilee anniversary celebrations would be rendered quite empty meaningless.
This is the challenge facing the PSCI on Monday.
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