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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 1st October 2009: 

As there is no statute of limitation for corruption offences, will the Attorney-General charge Isa in court for the corruption of money politics in Umno for which he had been suspended for three years as Umno member?

When he was announced as the Barisan Nasional candidate for Bagan Pinang by-election on Tuesday, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad declared that he did not “commit a crime, but had violated the party elections’ code of ethics” in addressing the issue of his qualification and credibility as a candidate on account of his money politics in Umno which caused him to be suspended as an Umno for three years.

This is a fallacious argument and it does not speak highly of the commitment of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Cabinet Ministers and leaders of the Barisan Nasional parties whether Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC or the Sabah and Sarawak parties that no one finds anything wrong with such an argument or prepared to make a stand of principle.

Technically Isa had not committed any crime, as he had not been convicted, in fact, not even charged in court for corruption arising from Umno money politics which led to his three-year party suspension.

But was this because money politics in Umno was a mere party infraction and not a criminal offence of corruption, or was it just another example of the double-standards of the Attorney-General and the anti-corruption agency failing to uphold the law without fear or favour, regardless of status, wealth or position?

As far back as in 2003, the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the law portfolio, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim had called on Umno to allow the Anti-Corruption Agency to investigate its leaders alleged to be involved in money politics as it fell within the definition of “corruption” under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

Clearly, it was not because the law was inadequate to charge Umno leaders guilty of money politics for corruption, but because neither the Anti-Corruption Agency at the time nor the Attorney-General was free, independent and professional enough to carry out their duties in accordance with the law and the Constitution.

In an interview with the New Sunday Times on January 25, 2009, the Chief Commissioner of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdah declared categorically that money politics is corruption within the purview of the MACC.

This I what he said in a Q and A of his interview:

Q: Do you see any difference between money politics and corruption?

A: When you pay people to vote for you, that is corruption. People call it money politics but not us. Under the law, anybody who sells or buys votes is guilty of corruption, so we go on that basis.

Q: Is the MACC focused on cleaning up Umno?

A: Not just Umno, please be clear about that. We will take action against any political party involved in corruption. It seems that way only because it is now Umno season. The party itself asked us for help.

Q: Why then are we hearing about corruption only in Umno?

A: Others do not report. They get the money and keep their mouths shut. Umno members on the other hand are factional and report against each other.

As there is no statute of limitation for corruption offences, will the Attorney-General charge Isa in court for the corruption of money politics in Umno for which he had been suspended for three years as Umno member?

What is the stand of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as well as the leaders of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other Barisan Nasional parties on this question?

Malaysians are shocked that the latest Umno Minister who had come to the defence of Isa’s candidature is Hishammuddin, who uses the logic of “good guilt, bad guilt” like “good cops, bad cops” to justify and legitimize the selection of Isa as the Barisan Nasional candidate for Bagan Pinang by-election, ending with the conclusion that Isa is “good guilty” as distinct from “bad guilty”.

Just like his other outrageous statements since becoming Home Minister in the past six months, like his initial defence of the Shah Alam cowhead protest sacrilege or his sadness at the death of terrorist and mass murderer Noordin Md Top at not having the opportunity to “rehabilitate” him, Hishammuddin is continuing to alienate more public support like his earlier keris-wielding days as Umno Youth leader.

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



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