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Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity to be asked on Tuesday to review the “on/off/on/off” hearing of ACA chief Zulkipli and whistleblower Ramli in view of latest development – “no issue of sub judice in ACA” assurance by Ramli’s counsel
(Parliament, Saturday) : The Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) will be asked on Tuesday to review the “on/off/on/off hearing of Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor and whistleblower/former ACA Sabah director Mohamed Ramli Abdul Manan.
This follows the latest development where Ramli’s counsel, M. Manoharan, had given assurance that the issue of sub judice at the PSCI hearings for Zulkipli and Ramli does not arise as the serious allegations of corruption against Zulkipli has no bearing on Ramli’s civil suits against the ACA chief. The civil suit involved non-payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities.
As for the corruption trial of former minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, both Zulkipli and Ramli are not material witnesses.
Furthermore, the Ramli civil suit could take years to be decided while the Kasitah trial is still in the prosecution stage.
As the PSCI is meeting in Parliament on Tuesday in its continuing inquiry into the Sabah Project I/C scandal, I will raise the letter from Ramli’s counsel and his request for an early date for a hearing for deliberation and decision.
There is now even more compelling reasons why the PSCI should neither flinch nor hesitate from holding hearings for Zulkipli and Ramli if the Select Committee is to remain true to its terms of reference to uphold and promote national integrity.
The past one month were one of the darkest periods not only in the 40-month Abdullah premiership, but probably in the 50-year history of the nation, for accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance as the nation and the world watched in agony at the collapse of public trust among Malaysians in the ACA in particular and the government in general, with one corruption scandal following swiftly after another:
As if this trio of serious corruption allegations aimed at the very inner sanctum of government are not enough, there is now another serious corruption allegation to create a quartet – the police report lodged by Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah deputy chairman Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan against Zulkipli as one of the 25 serious corruption allegations against Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, that the ACA chief had been bribed to stop investigations into complaints of abuses of power and corruption against the Sabah Chief Minister.
The Yang di Pertuan Agong in his Royal Address when opening the current session of Parliament on Monday had exhorted “all members of the civil service and all levels of society” to support the campaign to eliminate corruption and abuse of power.
The PSCI, entrusted with the specific task of promoting national integrity, must be in the very vanguard instead of being at the rear to boldly, doggedly and creatively restore public confidence in the integrity of government at a time when the country is facing its worst corruption crisis in 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.
For the first time in its 40-year history, public doubts and skepticism about the ACA have now extended to its very core purpose, heart and soul of ACA on its integrity and incorruptibility – with the ACA Director-General himself alleged to be guilty of corruption.
On Monday, the Prime Minister had urged Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) members to perform "something extraordinary" to bring back the glory days of parliamentarians in line with the country's 50th anniversary celebrations this year.
There is considerable skepticism as to what this “something extraordinary” BNBBC MPs are capable of. One test will be whether Barisan Nasional MPs on the PSCI can agree to the holding of immediate hearings for Zulkipli and Ramli in the larger national interests to uphold integrity.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman