Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 26th May 2010:
Despite feverish attempts to refurbish the image of MACC on many fronts in recent days, it has not been able to improve one jot of public confidence as it has not been able to demonstrate that it is really independent and not the Umno/BN catspaw as in the past 17 months
The New Straits Times today carried the screaming front-page headline: “MACC steps in – probe under way into Sime Darby’s losses” but nobody is impressed, not least when less than a week earlier the MACC Deputy Commissisoner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdul said the commission will let Sime Darby complete its internal investigation first.
Shukri said: “If Sime Darby doesn’t have the experience on how to pinpoint corruption, they can ask for MACC’s help.”
He said MACC will open an investigation file into the financial affairs of the conglomerate GLC if any element of corruption is suspected in its massive billion-ringgit losses in its third quarter results.
What happened in the past week? Did Sime Darby ask for MACC’s help or did MACC discover “element of corruption” in the massive billion-ringgit losses in Sime Darby’s third-quarter?
Or is MACC just thirsting for cheap publicity and front-page headlines hoping to impress the Malaysian public with publicity stunts rather than professionalism and concrete results?
If billion-ringgit corporate losses are themselves justification for the MACC to open an investigation file, has MACC opened any investigation file into the mega-losses of the Bakun dam project – as it is reported to have incurred total cost overruns of RM1.7 billion?
And what about all the other billion-ringgit government, GLC or corporate losses?
I am not against MACC initiating investigations into the mega losses of Sime Darby with its history of some RM3.5 billion write-offs to date, but the Malaysian public are tired of all the MACC displays of “lighting and thunder but no rain” - purportedly to go after “big fishes” and mega-scandals but ending up completely empty-handed.
This MACC escapade is the latest MACC effort on many fronts in recent days to refurbish its image, but public confidence in it had not increased one jot as it has not been able to prove that it could be really independent and cease to be the Umno/BN catspaw as in its first 17 months of existence.
For instance, the MACC claims that it is prepared to record private investigator P. Balasubramian’s statement in connection with the C4 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu and that it was the private investigator who had been the cause of the delays have been rubbished by Balasubramaniam’s lawyers.
In the process, Shukri’s earlier statement that MACC would meet Balasubramaniam "anywhere he felt appropriate" and not only at Malaysian embassies abroad was exposed and debunked.
Now that MACC has been offered an all-expenses paid – flights and accommodation – trip to interview and record Balasubramian’s statement in London from July 3 to 12, MACC cannot continue with their “tai chi” game as this will be another critical test of its independence, professionalism and integrity.
It is indeed sad and pathetic that the MACC and the several supervising committees did not realise how ridiculous they were in their proposals to rebrand MACC to win public confidence when the MACC was itself a purported attempt to rebrand its predecessor, the Anti-Corruption Agency, and to start off on a completely new page in terms of public confidence.
As it turned out, the MACC is even worse than ACA in terms of public confidence in its independence, professionalism and integrity – highlighted by the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC headquarters and the MACC record of declaring war on Pakatan Rakyat instead of declaring war on corruption!
The suggestions by the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board must take the cake in exposing the dismal failures of the MACC after 17 months.
The Board has proposed that the Federal Constitution be amended to create an Anti-Corruption Service Commission for the appointment, confirmation and promotion of the members of the anti-graft body and that the MACC Chief Commissioner should be accorded a position equivalent to the inspector-general of police.
At a time when public confidence in the efficiency, independence, impartiality, professionalism and integrity of major national institutions are at the lowest point – in particular for the offices of Inspector-General of Police and even the Chief Justice – the Board’s proposals have only highlighted the disease afflicting the key national institutions without prescribing the proper remedies.
But the biggest blow to the pretensions of independence, professionalism and integrity of MACC had been delivered by none other than former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who had openly admitted that “vote-buying” had been prevalent during UMNO’s triennial elections, accusing “practically everyone” elected into the UMNO supreme council of using such means.
Mahathir said: “So you can say that Umno central committee is actually made up of corrupt people.”
What has MACC got to say and do about Mahathir’s admissions?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor