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Mahathir should now promote a culture of accountability, transparency and integrity by agreeing to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity on Ramli�s charges that the former Prime Minister was behind the move to  �cold-storage� the former Sabah ACA director for investigating former Minister Kasitah Gaddam

Media Statement     
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Thursday) : Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday denied allegations that he was behind the move to �cold storage� former Sabah Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director Mohd Ramli Abdul Manan for investigating a minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.


In an earlier interview with Malaysiakini, Ramli said he believed that it was the former premier who ordered him to be transferred out of Sabah and was put in �cold storage� at the ACA headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for investigating allegations of corruption involving former land and co-operative development minister Kasitah Gaddam.


He said he moved out of his post as Sabah ACA chief soon after he and his team of 15 officers had completed the probe on Kasitah Gaddam.


This is from Ramli�s interview with Malaysiakini:


Q. Was the ACA happy with the investigation?

They were not happy because a lot of political figures and a government company were involved.

What happened after you finished your investigation?

We file it to the ACA headquarters.

Who gave the orders to move you out of Sabah?

I think (it was ex-Prime Minister Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) because when I ask them (ACA officers), they said it was orders from high up. That was in 2000.

A few Sabah ministers went to see Mahathir but I have no proof (of that). I asked �why are you all treating me like this�, and they said orders from the top. Who else? And they were afraid to put me in an important position (after that). Why were they afraid?


Q. Like (ACA chief) Zulkipli (Mat Noor), attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail is also from Sabah.

That was what I told the police officer (who was investigating the Zulkipli case). Gani Patail should not be involved in the (Zulkipli) case because they (Abdul Gani and Zulkipli) are quite close.

Both were recruited by Mahathir. At that time, Gani Patail was the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) and Zul was the Special Branch chief in Sabah.

It was reported recently that Zulkipli's term would expire this month. Do you think they'll forget about it after he steps down?


Do you still have friends in ACA now that you have become �persona non grata�?

I don�t know. I don't care about the ACA because I felt let down. They should back me up as I was doing my job. When they pulled me out of Sabah, ACA officers, directors or the DG (director-general) should have backed me up because I didn�t do anything wrong - I was just doing my job.

You (ACA officers) must tell the chief, �You can�t penalise your officers who are performing their job.� I'm particularly sore with the senior officers. The junior officers can't do much, but then the DG (director-general) or deputy DG should have backed me up. After all, I was doing my job in Sabah.

When you were in ACA, was the agency independent?


They have to get Mahathir's permission first. That's why Kasitah Gaddam's case took so many years (before the ex-minister was charged). If Mahathir was around, Kasitah would have been discharged.

This should not be the case because (Abdul Gani) as the AG should look at the evidence. If there is evidence, they should act on it. The decision must be based on the evidence. If the evidence is sufficient, (and the AG can) prove that there is a prima facie case, you cannot withhold consent.


In his response yesterday, Mahahitr described Ramli�s claims as �baseless� and asked Ramli to �Show evidence that I have done this�.


It is noteworthy that Mahathir�s reaction to the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) report that Malaysia was perceived to be more corrupt than the previous year in its annual Asia Corruption Survey 2007 was that �it showed that efforts to reduce corruption had failed�.


While corruption has worsened in the past three years under the Abdullah premiership, as evidenced by the seven-placing drop from No. 37 to 44 in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from 2003 to 2006, Mahathir cannot disclaim responsibility for corruption surfacing as a grave national scourge for the first time in his country during his 22-year administration � as testified by the 14-placing drop in Malaysia�s TI CPI from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 when he stepped down as Prime Minister.


For this reason, Mahathir must bear responsibility for the breakdown in good governance in general and the ethics and culture of integrity in particular in in the country since the eighties.


Mahathir should now promote a culture of accountability, transparency and integrity by agreeing to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity on Ramli�s charges that the former Prime Minister was behind the move to  �cold-storage� the former Sabah ACA director for investigating former Minister Kasitah Gaddam.


By doing so, Mahathir will be setting a good example requiring top government leaders, past and present, to account for their good governance practices or the lack thereof � including the appearance of the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Johari Baharom over the serious corruption allegations and scandal of �Freedom For Sale� under the Emergency Ordinance.


With the ACA Director-General Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Nor and Ramli appearing before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity  (PSCI) next Thursday over the serious corruption allegations of the latter against the former, and Mahathir�s preparedness to appear before the PSCI, there may finally be a redeeming feature in the present gloomy scenario of worsening corruption if the stage is set for Johari as well as other high-profile personalities to appear before the PSCI to underline the general acceptance of the national importance and priority that must be given to accountability, transparency and integrity.



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

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