Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap exhibition at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Friday, 29th January 2010 at 1 pm:
Call on Najib to immediately abolish the practice of support letters for contracts to demonstrate his commitment to zero tolerance for corruption
When I visited the Lab Open Day of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) in Sunway on 18th December last year, I raised the question about the government¡¯s seriousness and commitment to declare an all-out war against corruption and asked why nobody in government, starting from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had ever talked about ¡°zero tolerance for corruption¡±, and this question remains as valid today as seven weeks ago.
It is no use the GTP lab on ¡°fighting corruption¡± referring to ¡°zero tolerance for corruption¡± when nobody in government, from the Prime Minister downwards is prepared to embrace it.
The GTP Roadmap makes grandiloquent statements and proposals about fighting corruption but the political will to implement them are sorely lacking.
It proposes the gradual reduction of the ¡°practice of support letters, which are used to exert undue influence on civil servants to circumvent standard policies and processes in obtaining contracts¡±.
¡°Often, these interventions do not necessarily originate from politicians themselves, but from vested individuals who use the support letters as leverage to negotiate with the Government.
We cannot accept its rationale that ¡°it is difficult to change this practice overnight¡±, which is a question of whether there is the political will to make and implement the decision as not in line with the commitment to a ¡°zero tolerance for corruption¡±.
I call on Najib to immediately abolish the practice of support letters for contracts to demonstrate his commitment to a policy of ¡°zero tolerance for corruption¡± and to announce that all contracts would be awarded by open tender which would obviate the need for any support letters ¨C a major cause for corruption.
The GTP Roadmap makes grandiloquent statements about tackling the scourge of ¡°grand corruption¡± by politicians and senior civil servants, but its abysmal record of prosecution and conviction of political ¡°sharks¡± as compared to ¡°ikan bilis¡± for corruption does not inspire any confidence.
What credibility is there about GTP Roadmap proposal to address the problem of political funding, when there is thunderous silence about the serious allegation in Barry Wain¡¯s ¡°Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times¡± about the mysterious funding of the Umno headquarters, the Putra World Trade Centre?
Wain had alleged that the PWTC was partly financed by the taxpayers, as the government ¡°persuaded¡± state-owned banks to forgive a large chunk of the loans to finance the project.
Wain quoted former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin as saying that the banks had written off at least RM140 million in accumulated interests.
He referred to a confidential accountants¡¯ report commissioned by Umno in 1985, which tagged PWTC at RM360 million, and stated that the sum was financed by loans of RM199.5 million from state-owned Bank Bumiputera Malaysia Bhd and RM64.9 million from Malayan Banking Bhd as they were then known.
Additionally, the accountants¡¯ report states that as of March 1986, the Umno appointed company to construct the building, Khidmat Bersatu Sdn. Bhd, had only paid RM51,570 in interest.
If the funding of UMNO headquarters remains a mysterious, with no government having the political will to get to the truth to the serious allegation that Malaysian taxpayers had partly financed it, who will believe that the GTP Roadmap can clean up the problem of political funding to curb ¡°grand corruption¡± in Malaysia?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor