Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 21st January 2009: 

Can Najib emulate Obama to embody change?  

Can Datuk Seri Najib Razak emulate Barack Obama to embody change and inspire Malaysians with the same hope of a “dream come true” as Obama has been able to evoke from the American people as witnessed in the inauguration of the 44th United States President yesterday?

This is the natural question to ask following Najib’s acknowledgement that Obama won election as the first African American president of the United States because he pushed for and embodied change.

Can Najib’s warning that Umno and Barisan Nasional must change or perish in the next general election be taken seriously, when he had just spearheaded the Barisan Nasional’s Kuala Terengganu “buy-election” campaign where money politics and electoral corruption had reigned supreme?

It is no exaggeration to say that the newly-formed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC, slated as the cornerstone of the “change” promised by the outgoing Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had been the greatest casualty in the Kuala Terengganu “buy-election”.

Who could believe that the MACC could become a second ICAC (Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption) in its fearless and successful campaign against corruption, without fear or favour, when MACC dared not even send a special team to curb and prosecute corrupt practices in the Kuala Terengganu by-election?

What credibility could MACC have when it was forced to delay charging a former Barisan Nasional state assembly representative in Selangor for corruption so as not to affect the outcome of the Kuala Terengganu by-election, as reported by Malaysiakini three days before the by-election polling?

Immediately after the by-election, MACC sprang into action to convince Malaysians of its prowess, announcing that a senior Perak Umno official and two others would be charged for money politics in UMNO – involving sums of money ranging from RM200 to RM300!

Instead of impressing Malaysians, the MACC will immediately become a laughing-stock if all it could do is to continue to fry ‘ikan bilis’ while the ‘ikan yus” of corrupt practices whether in the Umno party elections or the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election remain scot-free!

It is reported today that the Umno disciplinary board has yet to submit 900 reports of alleged money politics during the recent Umno divisional and branch meetings to the MACC.

All such reports which concern corruption should be referred directly to MACC for action and not be sieved and filtered by the Umno disciplinary board which had never been known for its independence, impartiality or professionalism.

If Najib is to emulate Obama and embody change, then let him stand up and express his shock and outrage at the most disappointing start of the MACC to become an effective and fearless anti-corruption agency like Hong Kong’s ICAC in its first three weeks of operation from January 1 and to declare his full support to the MACC to act against corrupt practices both in the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election and Umno party elections.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor