The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced RM1 million contribution to the newly-established International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) in Vienna but this could not salvage or buy off the total lack of credibility of his “big speech” on fighting corruption at the launch of the sixth International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) Annual Conference and General Meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The launch of the international anti-corruption meeting yesterday must be the most uncomfortable programme Najib had to attend since becoming the Prime Minister 42 months ago – delivering a speech on a subject he himself does not believe in and knowing that it would be received with scorn and contempt, politely by the IAACA Conference delegates, but with derision and disdain outside the four walls of the IAACA Conference at the KLCC.
Surely Najib is not so naïve as not to realise that when he called attention to the “bigger picture” of graft and declared that the fight against corruption must go beyond political and public service borders, it is seen instantly as an excuse to justify the utter failure of his administration, the Government Transformation Programe and NKRA in combating corruption, which is amply borne out by Malaysia’s worst 60th ranking and lowest 4.3 score in the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.
Furthermore, when Najib said countries needed to instil a “natural abhorrence” of corruption in society, he is only provoking the question whether he could point out a single member of his Cabinet who is recognised by Malaysians as pre-eminent in the “natural abhorrence” of corruption?
If he could not name a single member of his Cabinet with a “natural abhorrence” of corruption, what about he himself? Does he qualify as a leader with a “natural abhorrence” of corruption?
If Najib has a “natural abhorrence” of corruption, he would not have demolished the credibility, integrity, professionalism and independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) just two weeks ago when he summarily dismissed allegations that Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had amassed billions in wealth with the public response: “There are all kinds of allegations, jangan kita layan”.
A Prime Minister who has a “natural abhorrence” of corruption would not have said “Jangan kita layan” but would have gone out of his way to demand and ensure that the nation’s anti-corruption body would conduct a thorough and comprehensive inquiry into the allegations in the ground-breaking and explosive report by the Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) which estimated the assets of Taib Mahmud’s family at US$21 billion (RM64 billion), with the wealth of Taib himself put at a whopping US$15 billion (RM46 billion) making him Malaysia’s richest man outstripping tycoon Robert Kuok who has US$12.5 billion.
In fact, a Prime Minister who has a “natural abhorrence” of corruption would have seriously considered the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear Malaysia’s name internationally, as the BMF report has made an even greater impact in international circles than in Malaysia – with the report released in Brussels to coincide with the visit by the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok to the European Commission last month.
The BMF report is the first that describes in detail the business activities and personal wealth of 20 members of the Taib family in Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States and other countries.
It estimated the combined net worth of 20 Taib family members at close to US$21 billion, spread over 400 companies around the globe – all built through their near complete political and economic control of Sarawak, which has been reduced from one of the richest to one of the poorest states in Malaysia over three decades.
As I said in my speech in Parliament on the 2013 Budget yesterday, the three VVIPs comprising the Sarawak Chief Minister, the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail – against whom serious allegations of corruption and abuses of power had been made publicly – represent the “test of the trio” as to whether there is a real political will in Malaysia to combat “Grand Corruption” by VVIPs.
Yesterday, I had called on the Prime Minister to give Parliament and nation updates of the actions being taken by MACC with regard to the various reports lodged against the “trio” with regard to corruption – in particular with regard to lawyer Zainal Abidin Ahmad’s recent book, “Tan Sri Gani Patail: Pemalsu, Penipu, Penjenayah (Fraud, Liar, Criminal)?”?
Would Najib demonstrate his “natural abhorrence” of corruption by appearing in person in Parliament to report on the “test of the trio” in the war against Grand Corruption – Taib Mahmud, Musa Aman and Gani Patail – and submit updates of inquiries into allegations of corruption and abuses of power against the trio?