K George writes to the Prime Minister, urging him to take just and appropriate action on the issues that have tarnished his 'Mr Clean' image. "Makethe battle against corruption your priority, make accountability your trademark, act justly and fairly without fear or favour and seal your leadership and restore your waning credibility," he urges.
Dear Prime Minister
In a recent article — “What’s with the predecessor and incumbent?” (Harakah, 16–31 July 2006) — I commented that during the past 32 months of your premiership, you missed several opportunities to seal your leadership. I concluded by urging you to make use of the remaining two years positively in order to restore your credibility before the next general election due not later than the beginning of 2009.
That said, let me highlight some of the issues that must receive your attention. In fairness to you, Mr Prime Minister, let me place on record my appreciation for your decision to set up the IPCMC. I have no doubt that it will ultimately enhance the prestige and credibility of the police force.
Your cabinet also did not waste any time in withdrawing the controversial guidebook for university students. You deserve to be saluted for your government’s decision to review all the obnoxious provisions in the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA). Our university students are the future leaders of our nation. They should not be spoon-fed or treated as semi-slaves. Give them the freedom they deserve to think, to value their freedom and respect democracy and human rights like all other adults in Malaysia. Based on my study of the nefarious 1974 UUCA, I am convinced that there was a sinister motive behind it to control the thinking process of our students and turn them into zombies.
As for the proposed sports centre in Brickendonbury, London, I strongly urge you to seek the opinion of Tan Sri B.C. Sekhar, who is familiar with the background and the objectives of the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) before you make a final decision. We must not deviate from our original intentions in setting up this centre and the serene environment conducive to research must not be disturbed or disrupted.
Your government’s decision to amend the Penal Code (PC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) with a view to making them more rational deserves to be commended. Introducing community service as a form of punishment for offences committed by youths between the ages of 18 and 21 must be welcomed. In fact, sending youths to prison should not be an option as far as possible. Prison is not a suitable place for reform and indeed may expose the youths to hardcore criminals and deviant sexual tendencies. Furthermore, the remand period as proposed will now depend on the seriousness of the crime and strip searches would only be allowed for three categories of offences.
Let us join Bar council Chairman Yeo Yang Poh in congratulating the government for introducing such progressive changes.
The list of issues below is, of course, not comprehensive. They have been gathered from the limited resources available to me.
• Ear squats in the nude
This was a highly publicised incident nationally and internationally. A woman was stripped naked and asked to perform ‘ear squats’ by our police personnel and this was filmed by someone using a cell-phone. A copy of it was sent to a parliamentarian and it was viewed by several MPs. It was a 71-second “show”. All the viewers came to the same conclusion that the victim was a Chinese national. Mr Prime Minister you were attending the Commonwealth leaders conference in Malta at that time. To avoid a possible rift between China and Malaysia, you rightly directed the Home Minister to go to China and express regret to the Chinese autho-rities. This action confirmed that the victim of the ear squat incident was a Chinese national.
When you returned from Malta a royal commission was set up to investigate the episode and mollify public outrage. The Minister went to China because you must have been misled into believing that the victim was a Chinese national. Even at that time, the police personnel involved in the ugly incident refused to disclose to you that the woman concerned was not a Chinese national. At the end of the day, the royal commission’s findings revealed the race and the religion of the victim: a local Malay woman. The deliberate refusal to disclose the identity of the victim caused shame to you as the PM of Malaysia and discredited the entire nation. The people have the right to know what crime that woman had committed to deserve such an ugly and humiliating punishment. What action did you as PM take against the police personnel involved in this “hide-and-seek” game — or did you decide to “close one eye”, in which case it is unforgivable?
• Petition Submitted by a group of MAIKA Holding Bhd shareholders
After the charging of Tan Sri Eric Chia and Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, a group of Indians submitted a memorandum requesting you to investigate and resolve the misappropriation of 9 million Telekom shares given to MAIKA by the government to rescue MAIKA shareholders from huge losses suffered by the company.
Everybody knows the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is in possession of all the facts. If you direct the ACA to reopen the case, we would probably arrive at the truth as to how 9 million shares given to Maika shrank to 1 million shares. It would also show how thousands of poor Indian Maika shareholders unjustly lost out on an opportunity to recoup some of the life-savings they lost in their Maika investments.
• Trial of Tan Sri Eric Chia
The amount involved is not just RM76 million — it is believed to be very much more than that. It was Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who initiated the independent audit of Perwaja Steel in his capacity as Finance Minister which unearthed the massive corruption and fraud in Perwaja. Anwar, subsequently made a report to the police. It is therefore only proper and just that Anwar who made the police report and Mahathir, who appointed Eric Chia, be called as witnesses to shed some light on this scandal. Will your government be bold enough to have these witnesses appear in court to get to the bottom of the scandal?
• 18 high-profile corruption cases
Just after Eric Chia was charged, it was Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, the then Law Minister, who told the press that the ACA had been investigating corruption cases involving 18 high-profile indi-viduals. On 28 May 2004, the retiring ACA Director General informed the press that a report on the 18 cases had been submitted to the Attorney General (AG).
Normally the ACA chief would say it is up to the AG to decide on the prosecution but he did not say so in this instance. Instead, he stated that the AG is expected to proceed with the prosecution soon. It is now more than 25 months and the AG has been sitting on the report. Why, Mr Prime Minister?
In the meantime, there has been loose talk and widespread rumours as to who these high-profile individuals are. Rumour has it that certain senior politicians could be among the 18 implicated.
• Investigation of a federal deputy minister from Sarawak
In January 2005, the director of the Sarawak ACA was suddenly transferred to Selangor. Before the officer left for Selangor, he told the press that he was in the midst of investigating one of the five federal deputy ministers from Sarawak for corruption. It was indeed an unusual statement which led to much speculation and guessing as to why the ACA director was transferred. Was it to put a lid on the investigation, many wondered!
I don’t want to make any comment on this. Instead, I leave it to you, Sir, to handle it with integrity and transparency, which you have promised us will be the hallmark of your government.
• The wealth of your son and son-in-law
A few weeks before you became the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, there was a report that your son was a millionaire with considerable assets. There was also speculation that your son-in-law was similarly wealthy.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy. But many people wonder how they became so rich in such a short time and perhaps it may be in their own interest — because they are closely associated with you — to provide information as to how they came by this wealth so quickly.
• The Jasin MP and the “close one-eye” saga
The Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Jasin has now confessed that he was the businessman who requested the Customs officer to “close one eye”.
The matter has already been referred to the ACA. Now the MP has disclosed certain alleged startling malpractices in the customs department in disposing of confiscated luxury vehicles to wealthy cronies at ridiculous prices. Please Mr Prime Minister, ensure that the “close-one-eye” file is not “closed” with the remark “no further action”.
• Approved Permits (APs)
It was Tun Dr. Mahathir who highlighted the questionable manner in which Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz had been dishing out thousands of Approved Permits. Since then, she has faced numerous questions and criticisms by various sources. Her reaction was neither convincing nor appropriate.
Rafidah was already on record in having illegally dished out millions of shares — her son-in-law 5.7 million; Megat Junid’s son 14.8 million; Mahathir’s son 1.5 million; Anwar’s brother 1.5 million; Hamid Omar’s son 5.2 million. (Source: Hansard). It happened, as you know during Mahathir’s premiership. The ACA after their investigation had apparently concluded that there was a prima facie case against Malaysia’s “Iron Lady”. But, nothing more happened. Will the ACA tell the people what is the latest position of their investigation regarding the APs ?
• Lack of transparency and accountability in Petronas
It must be recognised by all concerned that petrol, gas, tin mines and gold mines are Nature’s gift to the people. Petronas is duty bound to submit its detailed statement of accounts to Parliament and to the people and not just the summarized audited version. Mr Prime Minister, you must move the necessary amendments to the Petronas Act so that the detailed accounts will be tabled in Parliament in keeping with transparency and accountability. Billions of ringgit revenue is involved and the people have a right to know the full details of income and expenditure.
Finally, Mr Prime Minister, you have set in motion certain reforms as mentioned in the introduction of this article. You must see through these reforms. The people expect much from you and that’s the reason why they gave you such a massive mandate unprecedented in our political history. Make the battle against corruption your priority, make accountability your trademark, act justly and fairly without fear or favour and seal your leadership and restore your waning credibility.
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