“Free fall of institutions” – can PSCI prove Tun Hanif wrong?

The longest-serving former Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, in his Sunday Star column “Point of View” today dealt the serious corruption allegations which had been made against the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Zulkipli Mat Noor by former top ACA officer and “whistleblower” Mohamad Ramli Manan in July last year.

Entitled “Panta Rei — It’s inexorable”, Hanif wrote:

If we recall the reported course of events in the ACA director-general’s case, an ACA director had reported by letter to the IGP on July 4 last year against his DG and another, asking the IGP to treat the letter as a first information report. It is reported that he had also sent copies of the letter to the AG, among others…

In this particular case, there was no apparent useful response from the police or the others from July 4, 2006, to perhaps early March 2007. It would be interesting to know why. This inordinate delay could have been the cause of the complainant reporting to Parliament’s Select Committee on Integrity and Corruption. To the credit of the PSC, it acted expeditiously to make known that it would convene an enquiry into the allegations on March 12 by calling both complainant, the ACA director-general, as well as the previous IGP to clarify the situation. This was a far-reaching decision that could have made an enormous impact on the current battle against malfeasance and injustice.

The action of the PSC has served notice that proper redress must be given to a citizen’s grievances and that Parliament would hold the public services to account. In one fell stroke it had brought the tipping point closer.

No doubt the PSC itself has no punitive power: it doesn’t need it. It can act like the US Grand Jury; its ventilation of the problem by its grilling power will shine the light on the human or procedural weaknesses in the public services or on the malice or unreasonableness of the complainant. It can also provide other institutions with the cause and evidence to force the necessary remedial action.

But alas, the Select Committee chairman is reported to have called off its March 12 session because of the latest developments in the case, including the investigations by the police and the AG. So, we won’t know for a while, if ever, what action the police and the AG had taken in the seven over months since the report was first lodged.

I was hoping to end this column by proclaiming the PSC’s original move as proactive boldness on the part of Parliament to prevent our institutions from its perceived voluntary free fall, but the calling off of the case has put paid to that.

Despite some minor errors, such as wrongly stating that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) had also called the “previous IGP”, i.e. Tan Sri Bakri Musa, Hanif had given expression to the hope by Malaysians that the PSCI would act with originality, creativity and “pro-active boldness” on behalf of Parliament “to prevent our institutions from its perceived free-fall”.

The PSCI, when its meets at Parliament Committee Room Two tomorrow at 9.30 am to review its earlier decision whether to call and hear Zulkipli and Ramli, should not disappoint the former IGP and Malaysians who expect it to rise to the national challenge to help the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to honour his pledge to uphold integrity and fight corruption in the serious allegations against the ACA chief.

At present, Abdullah is hampered by institutional obstacles and has not been able to deliver his pledge to make anti-corruption the top agenda of his administration.

Malaysians have lost faith in the ACA, not only because of its ineffectiveness or impotence as a “paper tiger” against the high and mighty but what is unprecedented in the past 40 years – over its integrity and incorruptibility, when the ACA director-general himself is the subject of serious corruption allegations.

The ACA is faced with a great crisis of confidence in 40 years and the nation the greatest crisis of integrity in 50 years of nationhood, which ordinary Malaysians are fully aware of (including former IGP Hanif) – except the authorities, whether the Prime Minister, the ACA or the Police, pretending that such a double crises do not exist.

The PSCI must step into the void to save the day for the nation, quoting Hanif Omar, ” to prevent our institutions from a voluntary free fall” and restore national and international confidence in the integrity of our institutions.

  1. #1 by WFH on Sunday, 11 March 2007 - 3:35 pm

    Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, wearing his MP hat, should resign as Chairman of the PSCI, if what he did to unilaterally call off the meeting was a sign of manipulation of and subservience to the Executive (as many already believe), ie the unseen hands of the PM AAB in interfering in a Parliamentary Select Committee’s scheduled meeting. But then any resignation suggested of him here pre-supposes that he has the backbone to stick to principles of honesty, sincerity and integrity, which he has just shown to lack.

    We remember that Shahrir resigned as BBC Chairman on principle when he faced opposition from his BN MP colleagues.

    I like that last para – “….. free fall…… in the integrity of our institutions”.

    Also can be taken as a rallying call for the Mat Rempits when they go over the North Pole soon. They are just being consistent in continuing to carry out the free-falling agenda of their UMNO Youth parent body UMNO.

  2. #2 by kiki on Sunday, 11 March 2007 - 8:45 pm

    no one have the gut to open the pandora box,
    only a total reform and change government
    will save this land, for our future kins.

  3. #3 by shortie kiasu on Sunday, 11 March 2007 - 9:26 pm

    Sometimes people just wonder a PSC headed by a government crony can achieve anything at all other than a tool to be manipulated by the government.

    In this case of PSCI, people already witnessed another case of fli-flop of policy and unilateral decision made by the PSCI head without due consideration of procedure and rules.

  4. #4 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 11 March 2007 - 10:11 pm

    Ramli may have an axe to grind against his superior Zulkipli during his years of service with the ACA. But that is irrelevant. We should not be looking at the accuser as much as we should be looking at his accusations.

    More importantly, it is not only about one man’s abuse of power and corruption but there are institutional issues which are more difficult to solve. The latter makes an investigation by the police unsuitable if not difficult. The Police whose duty is to investigate crimes like murder, kidnapping etc will find investigating institutional corruption at high places an almost impossible task because it has to put up with political roadblocks etc.

    Here is a man nominated to the powerful position as head of the ACA and, amidst protests because of his controversial record whilst he was in the Police, was allowed to continue. Obviously there is a flaw in the system – not just any flaw but one nurtured by the culture of corruption. How did he come to be nominated above the heads of others whose unblemished records make them more suitable candidates? What sort of criteria was used and whether the vetting process that we now have is flawed. This makes it a matter suitable for investigation by the Parliamentary Select Committees. Though it has no police or judicial powers, the testimonies given by witnesses are given under oath and under threat of perjury.

    Why are they afraid to let the PSCI have jurisdiction over the matter – if not for the consequences that will follow. Once the genie is let out of the bottle, it would be difficult if not impossible to put it back.

    In the final analyses Zulkipli is expendable if it is to save a few other careers. But it is likely to destroy more careers than the few it saves.

  5. #5 by Open Air on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 12:52 am


    PM is just another dodo.

    He lacks intuitive instinct to do his job.

    What needs to be done he won’t do,

    What needs to be paid attention to he couldn’t care less.

    However when it comes to unimportant trivial issues – he is numero UNO.

    Crooks are fearless when they have the support from the top. It is a good bet PM is clueless about this.

    It is also good if he can CUT THE CRAP about being a father to everyone else.


  6. #6 by mandela on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 1:19 am

    What open air said is perfectly right.

    The PM is not just a dodo, he is probably the laziest PM Malaysia ever produced.

    Look at his cabinet, basically the cabinet is TDM’s cabinet. As a PM, he shud form his own cabinet, but this guy is too lazy to make major changes!

    Our lazy PM is not only lazy, he is good at lip-service too.

    By the way, go ask him how many books have he read after becoming PM? How can he be a smart and efficient PM if he is not reading books at all?

    Though Tun is bad, at least Tun reads all kinds of books, even now!

  7. #7 by sean on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 1:41 am

    Well i would’t say that he is damn lazy..BUT what i can say is that he is A CHAP WITHOUT A QUALITY OF A PM at all.First and foremost…….i think he is a weak leader and are struggling to stand on its two feet within its own party.So…i guess its not that he is that lazy as to retain most of the old guards..but its more of being too cautious and not to weaken his position even further.So..there may be a tradeoff somewhere in between.So……..imagine if he wins the next GE with landslide results…….you can be sure most old guards will already be enjoying life elsewhere and the worst thing is that with such absolute power after that……..i guess worst thing will be expected in bolehland in terms of corruption, unfairness and warlordrism will rule above all else.God bless our country.

  8. #8 by Bigjoe on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 8:31 am

    This PM has proven time and again, he is no agent of change. He is a civil servant and a care-taker. The problem is Malaysian and particularly the Malay voters are generous to a fault with their leaders. The get upset about sacking a (deleted) leader like Anwar but not about corruption and the poor performance. It seems sensationalism is the only way to capture the imagination and move them not real substantive arguments. It gives real credence that the Malays are feudalistic. I think its more about holding on to tradition and the feudalism is incidental.

    The funny thing is that the non-bumiputra community finds comfort in intellectual arguments of the elite bumiputras. Why? There is no cause for it. It changes nothing even if they are substantially right. That is why when the likes of KJ and Hissamuddin and Haniff makes logical argument, I say forget it. Its not material. Unless the argument appeal to the traditional emotive of the Malays, its just for show.

    There is really only one cure for corruption and reform in this country and that is nothing short of a disaster, otherwise, its not in the leadership.

  9. #9 by Libra2 on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 10:19 am

    “..when the likes of KJ and Hissamuddin and Haniff makes logical argument…”
    I cannot remember an instance when KJ made an intellectual argument. He speeches are made to pander to the gullibility of the rural Malay masses while displaying his arrogance and pomposity.

  10. #10 by mendela on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 11:01 am

    Whatever things this PM does, he never is full-hearted.

    Even my many Japanese friends witnessed and realized his many weaknesses too. Remember he talked about making Malaysia a bio-phamaciautical Hub many months ago. To the Japaneses, he was just doing lip-service, nothing concrete. He did it in order to make people “feel good” only! Talking big only!

  11. #11 by Godfather on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 11:20 am

    Yes, AAB’s reputation in international circles has never been stellar, and he is only known for frivolous talk – and golf. I said at the outset of his tenure that this is the Jimmy Carter of Malaysian politics, but many of you (Kit included) saw him as the agent of change after so much of the abuse under TDM.

    The country is headed for a free-fall, but those who are enshrined in their positions of power and abuse their positions for personal wealth, will never admit it.

  12. #12 by dawsheng on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 11:49 am

    Tun Hanif’s comment came a little bit too late, the free falling was already done. What do Tun expect? Both Zulkifli and Johari to come clean and resign? Well, impossible! So how to prevent a free fall of institution when things already got out of hand? Ask the PM to step down, or else it will not be just the institution, but everything else in this country.

  13. #13 by madmix on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 12:11 pm

    Undertable payments have become a culture in this country. I am not talking about the peanuts paid to traffic officers. I do not think it is possible to secure a major construction project without money paid to the right people. I have many friend and relatives in this industry. Even engineering consultants have to pay to secure government jobs.
    If Zul and Jo are investigated, a lot of dirt will be unearthed and I do not think that will be allowed to happen. Anyway who is going to investigate them? The investigators are probably not that clean themselves.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Monday, 12 March 2007 - 4:31 pm

    YB Kit,

    Congratulations for successfully standing your ground and persuading the BN majority Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity (PSCI) by 8-3 decision to override and reverse Chairperson Bernard Dompok’s earlier decision to call off PSCI’s hearing of Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) chief Zulkipli Mat Noor and whistleblower Mohamad Ramli Manan – http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/64404

    Institutions around may fall but – “Panta rei” (everything changes) – with you in PSCI, one still stands.

    Thanks for standing up for what is right.

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