Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 2nd February 2010:
MACC will not have a year to redeem itself as its public image may plunge to an even lower depth in a matter of days if rumours on the grapevine are proven right that Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid would be arrested and charged for alleged “cow and car” corruption
In an interview with Sin Chew Daily yesterday, the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammed was refreshingly frank when he admitted that the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16 last year had caused the MACC image and credibility to fall to the lowest point ever but he hoped to lead the commission out of the bottom and restore public confidence and acceptance.
This is a far cry from his predecessor, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan who could be so insensitive as to publicly declare: “Teoh Beng Hock’s case is nothing. It is a very small case” – a height of folly and irresponsibility which cut short his brief but ignominious tenure as the first MACC Chief Commissioner.
Abu Kassim has asked for a year to reverse the bad impression the MACC has made on the public so that he could convince Malaysians that the new anti-corruption body is “independent, transparent and professional”.
MACC will not have a year to redeem itself as its public image may plunge to an even lower depth in a matter of days if rumours on the grapevine are proven right that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim would be arrested and charged for alleged “cow and car” corruption.
Members of Parliament and Malaysians were promised when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2008 Bill was debated in Parliament in December 2008 that the MACC was going to become another ICAC (Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption) respected world-wide for its uncompromising and no-nonsense commitment against corruption without fear or favour for position, status or influence.
However, in less than two months of its establishment on 1.1.2009, the MACC became a joke. Instead of building public confidence in its journey to become another ICAC, feared and respected by all, it was quickly reduced into a “Malaysian Agency for Cows and Car” for the Barisan Nasional government to victimize Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
The chief culprit was none other than the first MACC Chief Commissioner who publicly declared in February last year that the MACC had “good and strong evidence” of corruption against the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar over the car and cows controversy - destroying all MACC claim to credibility for being independent, professional and uninfluenced by the dictates of its political masters.
Can Abu Kassim imagine the firestorm of condemnation if the rumours on the grapevine are proven right and Khalid is arrested and charged for alleged “Cows and Car” corruption, proving beyond a shadow of doubt that the MACC continues to be the catspaw of Umno/BN political agenda to declare war on Pakatan Rakyat instead of declaring war against corruption regardless of from whatever quarter?
It is now a year since the former MACC Chief Commissioner publicly declared Khalid guilty of corruption – over “cows and car” episodes – and awaiting the fiat of the Attorney-General to prosecute.
Is Abu Kassim going to execute the fiat to arrest and prosecute Khalid?
Talk on the grapevine is that the arrest and prosecution of Khalid for alleged “cows and car” corruption is part of the larger Umno/BN grand strategy of a pincer attack on the Pakatan Rakyat involving fomenting implosion inside Pakatan Rakyat parties while launching and intensifying individual assaults against Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz, DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh, Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and other Pakatan Rakyat MPs and leaders through abuse of national institutions and instruments like the police and the MACC.
There is even a timeline to achieve maximum impact and results for this pincer attack on the Pakatan Rakyat parties –the Chinese New Year Feb. 14 – 28, 2010!
There can be no reason, excuse or justification for the MACC continue to be UMNO/BN catspaw to hang the cloud of a “Cows and Car” arrest and prosecution over the head of the Selangor Mentri Besar for a whole year.
If Abu Kassim is serious and wants to rise from the bottom of the pit to start the arduous process to restore public confidence in the independence, transparency and professionalism, let Abu Kassim state without any equivocation the status of the MACC case against Khalid over the “Cows and Car” corruption allegation.
In his interview with Sin Chew, Abu Kassim admitted that the death of Teoh Beng Hock had destroyed the MACC’s image, saying:
“If time can turn back, I hope to return to the day when the Teoh Beng Hock incident took place, so that we could rectify everything and never let it happen.”
Although Abu Kassim had gone further than his predecessor in admitting that as Teoh fell from the MACC building and died when he was in MACC custody, “the MACC cannot absolve itself of blame”, this is no recompense to Teoh’s family who had gone through hell in the past six months over the loss of their loved one.
What gesture is forthcoming from Abu Kassim as MACC Chief Commissioner in the light of such an admission of responsibility if not yet guilt for Teoh’s unnecessary death at the MACC premises in Shah Alam last July?
However, what is Abu Kassim’s explanation for the police report lodged by MACC officer Raub Ghani against Thai forensic pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand falsely accusing her of divulging details of the second post mortem conducted on Teoh Beng Hock?
This is not the action of a MACC belatedly prepared to accept responsibility if not guilt for Teoh’s death and want the whole truth about the mysterious death to be revealed!
Although the Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas rejected the Teoh family application to commit Raub for contempt, Abu Kassim must still nonetheless account for Raub’s action.
Was Raub acting with full authority and mandate of MACC when he lodged the false police report against Pornthip?
If Raub was acting in his personal capacity misusing the name of MACC, what disciplinary action is Abu Kassim taking against Raub?
Is Abu Kassim prepared to discipline and suspend Raub for acting in a manner bringing the MACC into greater public opprobrium?
Will Abu Kassim apologise for Raub’s action?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor