Advice to MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad to learn from Rahim Noor’s lesson and not to fall victim to hubris or “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” complex
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner, Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad has been in the eye of the storm in the last three days since issuing a very public ultimatum to the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, that he will face civil or criminal action if he refuses to make an open apology within 48 hours for his comments on the detention of Penang State Exco member Phee Boon Poh.
This is the first time in the 60-year Malaysian history where the head of a national agency had issued a public ultimatum to a Chief Minister, Mentri Besar or a Cabinet Minister that he should apologise within 48 or face civil or criminal action.
Clearly, Dzulkifli wants to act as prosecutor, jury and judge all at the same time.
If Dzulkifili’s unprecedented action is to mark the MACC’s coming-of-age to become an anti-corruption agency without fear or favour, like its counterpart in Hong Kong and Singapore operating in an environment where even Presidents and Prime Ministers can be impeached, prosecuted or toppled for corruption like in South Korea or Pakistan, it would be a welcome development.
But apparently, it is not so.
In actual fact, Dzulkifli’s public ultimatum to Guan Eng casts doubt on the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the MACC, as it raises the question whether the MACC is hand-in-glove with the Prime Minister or the top government leadership to persecute or discriminate against the Pakatan Harapan opposition while trying to give the impression of independence of action to fight corruption so long as it does not touch the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal or Malaysia’s new-found infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy.
I advise Dzukifli to learn from Rahim Noor’s lesson and not to fall victim to hubris or “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” complex.
Yesterday, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor said he had paid his dues with jail time and a fine over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye 18 years ago.
He said there was no need for PAS leaders to raise the matter of Anwar’s black eye as the incident was long past.
I agree that Rahim Noor had paid his dues on Anwar’s black eye with jail time and a fine, as well as ignominous end of his distinguished public service career as IGP, and it is rather churlish for anyone to raise the issue just to shut Rahim up when he spoke on matters of national import.
But the rise and fall of Rahim Noor should be a lesson for all public officers, who rose to the peak of their public careers.
Rahim was a very professional police officer who rose to the zenith of his career when appointed as Inspector-General of Police, but he allowed hubris and the “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” complex to cloud his judgement as to make the biggest mistake of his public career in the Anwar Ibrahim “black eye” incident.
Lord Acton’s axiom that “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely” must be a constant watchword for all top public officers if they are not to make the Rahim Noor mistake resulting in abuse and misuse of temporary power.
Dzukifli would profit on reflecting on Lord Acton’s axiom in the case of his public ultimatum to Guan Eng as he seems to be making the mistakes which fell Rahim Noor.
In this connection, Dzulkifli knows that the greatest Achilles’ heel of MACC under his stewardship is the MACC’s failure to rise up to the challenge posed by the 1MDB scandal.
In January 2016, the new Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali cleared Najib of any criminal wrongdoing in the case involving a donation from the Middle East, as well as that involving SRC International and said that the US$681 million in Najib’s personal bank accounts were a “personal donation from the Saudi royal family which was given to him without any consideration”. Dzukifli was Apandi’s right-hand man at the Attorney-General press conference clearing Najib.
Six months later, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed kleptocratic civil suits, which finally resulted in a 251-page litigation for the forfeiture of US$1.7 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from US$4.5 billion 1MDB money-laundering and embezzlement, and from Paragraphs 339 to 348 of the DOJ suit, it traced the money trail of the RM2.6 billion (or US$681 million) in Najib’s personal accounts establishing they were stolen 1MDB funds – the accounts, amounts and dates of the various transactions to show from where the monies came from before they were deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts, where the monies from Najib’s accounts went to, and the further destination of these monies ending up in the money-laundering for jewelleries, expensive art work and luxury properties.
The DOJ kleptocratic suits started in July 2016 proved that Apandi’s claim in January 2016 that the US681 million came from a “personal donation” from the Saudi royal family was untrue.
There is no doubt that if the target of the investigation had been Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Sabu or myself, this new evidence uncovered six months after the Attorney-General’s public disclosure of “no criminal wrongdoing” would be regarded as compelling ground to re-open investigations.
But such re-opening of investigation in the light of compelling new evidence over Najib’s RM2.6 billion donation and 1MDB scandal was not done whether by the Attorney-General or the MACC.
Can Dzulfifli explain the reason for such inaction?