Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 23rd August 2009:
The 42 MACC Panel members should hold emergency meetings to find solution to the MACC’s crisis of confidence where in less than eights months it is regarded as even worse than the previous ACA when it is supposed to be better than Hong Kong’s ICAC
The newly-created Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) could not have a more disastrous beginning.
Instead of fulfilling its promise to be even better than Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), in just a matter of months of its operation MACC s is now regarded by Malaysians as even worse than the previous Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) it replaced.
The 42 MACC Panel members of the five oversight committees are all distinguished and honourable Malaysians, but they seem to have forgotten why they have been appointed as custodians of public confidence in the MACC.
Before MACC deviate even further from its statutory objectives and the 42 MACC members stray away from the raison d’etre for their existence and appointments, they should recall the injunction bestowed on them at the official launching of the MACC and the five MACC oversight committees by the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a glittering ceremony at the Putra World Trade Centre on February 24, 2009 attended by about 2,000 guests including ministers, chief ministers, mentris besar, ambassadors as well as representatives from MACC counterparts from Fiji, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia.
It would be most tragic if the MACC and the 62 Panel members of the five MACC oversight committees have very short memory and can only remember the grand launching ceremony but lost sight of Abdullah’s message.
To refresh the memory of MACC officers, as well as the 62 Panel members of the five MACC oversight committees, let me remind them of what Abdullah said – the important message was that they must ensure “that the MACC does not end up as just pretty window-dressing of its predecessor, the Anti-Corruption Agency”.
Abdullah admitted: "The government realises that the perception of the ACA as not being independent, of being a toothless tiger, of practising selective enforcement, being late in taking action and not being professional in its investigations has damaged its image and credibility."
Abdullah said the MACC would raise the hopes and expectations of the public for a more effective and transparent anti-corruption enforcement body.
He said the MACC must be able to stand up to scrutiny and that the government's moves to improve the structure and capacity of the enforcement body would not necessarily guarantee its success.
He said: "Much of the success or failure of the MACC will be due to the conduct of its officers in carrying out their duties.
"While I have always stressed the importance of the MACC in carrying out its duties without fear or favour, it is also paramount for the MACC to be, and seen to be, fair and professional in all its dealings."
It was Abdullah’s hope that all the MaCC officers would always be beyond reproach, both in the professional as well as their personal capacities.
The MACC officers and the 42 Panel Members of the five MACC oversight committees should search their conscience why they have failed so miserably in their tasks when Abdullah’s launching ceremony in February was meant to mark "the beginning of a very important chapter in Malaysia's agenda to strengthen integrity and fight corruption".
As a result, MACC is now facing an even worse crisis of confidence than that ever faced by the ACA in its 41 years of existence from 1967 to 2008.
The 42 Panel members of the five MACC oversight committees should convene emergency meetings to address the MACC’s grave crisis of confidence, zeroing in particular on the following issues:
In his February speech, Abdullah specifically entrusted the 42 members of the five MACC advisory committees “to use their powers to uphold truth and justice and weed out corruption”.
Have the 42 MACC Panel members discharged their duties to the MACC and to the nation in the past few months?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor