Taib has delivered a coup de grace to Najib’s pretensions of elevating “fighting corruption” as top agenda of his transformation programme when Taib is not only mightier than MACC but also the Prime Minister

The photograph of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak flamboyantly signing the Transparency International-Malaysia (TIM) “Election Integrity Pledge” on February 20 flanked by UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders, with the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the bete’ noire of international anti-corruption campaigns, glaring malevolently from the back and the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek in a somnabulant pose, will go down as one of the most unforgettable pics of the 13th General Elections.

This is because nobody, including the TIM President Paul Low, seated importantly on Najib’s left and who could not suppress a cynical sneer, really believed Najib and his Umno/BN Ministers and colleagues have even an ounce of sincerity in wanting to eradicate grand corruption and gross abuses of power in the country.

It was just a meaningless public relations exercise scripted by Najib’s political consultants and image-builders to score political points in the 13GE, destroying in the process all credibility and legitimacy of TIM’s Election Integrity Pledge.

How can Najib for instance convince Malaysians that he is now a “convert” in the fight against corruption and abuses of power when Malaysia in the past four years is most corrupt in the nation’s 56-year history when compared to the previous five Prime Ministers, whether Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir or Tun Abdullah – as testified by the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) since 1995 well as by the perceptions of all Malaysians down the 56 years of the nation’s history.

In fact, Najib proceeded to violate one item after another of the TI-M Election Integrity Pledge (EIP) before the ink of his signature was dry, chalking quite a catalogue of violations in the 44 days since his signature of the TI-M Election Integrity Pledge which made a total mockery of the four principles of the TI-M EIP, viz:

  • Truth, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability, including not accepting or giving bribes or being involved in corrupt practices in any way;
  • Upholding and giving priority to the interests of the rakyat as a whole;
  • Good governance and transparency; and
  • Compliance with all the applicable laws and regulations of Malaysia.

Is Najib prepared to have a public debate as to whether his as well as the UMNO/BN endorsement of TI-M EIP is most insincere, hypocritical, opportunistic and a travesty of the truth?

All these issues and concerns have been brought to the fore with the outburst yesterday by Taib against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), declaring:

“They don’t deserve my cooperation because they have been naughty… and they have not been honest.”

It was reported that the MACC launched a probe after an environmental activist group Global Witness released a video documentary alleging the state Barisan Nasional chief to have received millions of ringgit in kickbacks over land deals that have denuded the Borneo state.

In the video, the Sarawak people were also called naughty for occupying state land. But for Taib, the MACC is the naughty one now.

“Let them victimise me… I am not scared,” said Taib, expressing no fear over the investigations.

The ball is now in Najib’s court. Is MACC going to back down or will Najib direct MACC to proceed to open full investigations, or even better, establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into all the corruption allegations which have been made against Taib and his family.

The establishment of a RCI is one of the decisions which a caretaker government should not take after the dissolution of Parliament, but there can always be exceptions if all political parties, particularly the Pakatan Rakyat, gives consent.

I believe I can speak on behalf of Pakatan Rakyat on this matter and say that PR will fully agree even during this period of the caretaker government to establish a RCI into all the allegations of corruption against Taib and his family, subject to the terms of reference and composition of the RCI being agreed upon by both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Otherwise, Taib would have delivered a coup de grace to Najib’s pretensions of elevating “fighting corruption” as the top agenda of his transformation programme when Taib is not only mightier than MACC but also the Prime Minister.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur