MACC will not have a year to redeem itself as its public image may plunge to an even lower depth next few days

In an interview with Sin Chew Daily yesterday, the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammed was refreshingly frank when he admitted that the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16 last year had caused the MACC image and credibility to fall to the lowest point ever but he hoped to lead the commission out of the bottom and restore public confidence and acceptance.

This is a far cry from his predecessor, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan who could be so insensitive as to publicly declare: “Teoh Beng Hock’s case is nothing. It is a very small case” – a height of folly and irresponsibility which cut short his brief but ignominious tenure as the first MACC Chief Commissioner.

Abu Kassim has asked for a year to reverse the bad impression the MACC has made on the public so that he could convince Malaysians that the new anti-corruption body is “independent, transparent and professional”.

MACC will not have a year to redeem itself as its public image may plunge to an even lower depth in a matter of days if rumours on the grapevine are proven right that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim would be arrested and charged for alleged “cow and car” corruption.

Members of Parliament and Malaysians were promised when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2008 Bill was debated in Parliament in December 2008 that the MACC was going to become another ICAC (Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption) respected world-wide for its uncompromising and no-nonsense commitment against corruption without fear or favour for position, status or influence.

However, in less than two months of its establishment on 1.1.2009, the MACC became a joke. Instead of building public confidence in its journey to become another ICAC, feared and respected by all, it was quickly reduced into a “Malaysian Agency for Cows and Car” for the Barisan Nasional government to victimize Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

The chief culprit was none other than the first MACC Chief Commissioner who publicly declared in February last year that the MACC had “good and strong evidence” of corruption against the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar over the car and cows controversy – destroying all MACC claim to credibility for being independent, professional and uninfluenced by the dictates of its political masters.

Can Abu Kassim imagine the firestorm of condemnation if the rumours on the grapevine are proven right and Khalid is arrested and charged for alleged “Cows and Car” corruption, proving beyond a shadow of doubt that the MACC continues to be the catspaw of Umno/BN political agenda to declare war on Pakatan Rakyat instead of declaring war against corruption regardless of from whatever quarter?

It is now a year since the former MACC Chief Commissioner publicly declared Khalid guilty of corruption – over “cows and car” episodes – and awaiting the fiat of the Attorney-General to prosecute.

Is Abu Kassim going to execute the fiat to arrest and prosecute Khalid?

Talk on the grapevine is that the arrest and prosecution of Khalid for alleged “cows and car” corruption is part of the larger Umno/BN grand strategy of a pincer attack on the Pakatan Rakyat involving fomenting implosion inside Pakatan Rakyat parties while launching and intensifying individual assaults against Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz, DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh, Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and other Pakatan Rakyat MPs and leaders through abuse of national institutions and instruments like the police and the MACC.

There is even a timeline to achieve maximum impact and results for this pincer attack on the Pakatan Rakyat parties – the Chinese New Year Feb. 14 – 28, 2010!

There can be no reason, excuse or justification for the MACC continue to be UMNO/BN catspaw to hang the cloud of a “Cows and Car” arrest and prosecution over the head of the Selangor Mentri Besar for a whole year.

If Abu Kassim is serious and wants to rise from the bottom of the pit to start the arduous process to restore public confidence in the independence, transparency and professionalism, let Abu Kassim state without any equivocation the status of the MACC case against Khalid over the “Cows and Car” corruption allegation.

In his interview with Sin Chew, Abu Kassim admitted that the death of Teoh Beng Hock had destroyed the MACC’s image, saying:

“If time can turn back, I hope to return to the day when the Teoh Beng Hock incident took place, so that we could rectify everything and never let it happen.”

Although Abu Kassim had gone further than his predecessor in admitting that as Teoh fell from the MACC building and died when he was in MACC custody, “the MACC cannot absolve itself of blame”, this is no recompense to Teoh’s family who had gone through hell in the past six months over the loss of their loved one.

What gesture is forthcoming from Abu Kassim as MACC Chief Commissioner in the light of such an admission of responsibility if not yet guilt for Teoh’s unnecessary death at the MACC premises in Shah Alam last July?

However, what is Abu Kassim’s explanation for the police report lodged by MACC officer Raub Ghani against Thai forensic pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand falsely accusing her of divulging details of the second post mortem conducted on Teoh Beng Hock?

This is not the action of a MACC belatedly prepared to accept responsibility if not guilt for Teoh’s death and want the whole truth about the mysterious death to be revealed!

Although the Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas rejected the Teoh family application to commit Raub for contempt, Abu Kassim must still nonetheless account for Raub’s action.

Was Raub acting with full authority and mandate of MACC when he lodged the false police report against Pornthip?

If Raub was acting in his personal capacity misusing the name of MACC, what disciplinary action is Abu Kassim taking against Raub?

Is Abu Kassim prepared to discipline and suspend Raub for acting in a manner bringing the MACC into greater public opprobrium?

Will Abu Kassim apologise for Raub’s action?

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 1:39 pm

    D mysterious death of TBH had caused MACC HQ 2 migrate 2 a different building
    Suicide? Murder?

  2. #2 by cheng on on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 1:46 pm

    RM7,500,000 for 1,000 pieces of uniform or, RM7,500 per uniform, What says you, MACC?? Don’t devalue RM to Philippines Peso (abt 1/13th of RM) value or lower value, please !

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 2:00 pm

    Did you know there is another MACC – Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedian..I kid you not.

    The question is can Abu Kassim be able to stop his organisation from being compared as similar to the other. Malaysian Association of Corrupt Comedian…

  4. #4 by Godfather on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 2:16 pm

    No chance of any redemption. The word on the street is that this institution is beyond repair.

  5. #5 by Motorist on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 2:58 pm

    If the apple is rotten to the core, how can it be salvaged?

    The civil service is suppose to be the administrative branch of the civil Government, thus is not suppose to be beholden to any ruling party. Civil service is independent of the ruling party & does it’s job according to the independent standing order. Politicians are only “seat warmers” but its the civil servants who are really in control (ala Yes Minister TV comedy series).

    Sadly for 25+ yrs UMNO has been nurturing a civil service that is beholden to UMNO. Civil servants enter the service as juniors and by pleding undying loyalty to UMNO & mouthing the right slogans, will have now risen into a senior positions. Thus from chief secretary, mid managerial levels down to junior clerical staffs, all are beholden to UMNO.

    Do they dare risk the rice bowl by rocking the boat, even if principally they know what they are doing is wrong?

    The good are far few in between and they keep quiet, diligently doing the job to the best of their ability. Hopes of fast track promotion is nil as they dont mouth the UMNO slogans nor show undying loyalty to the party.

    So much for an independent Civil service that follows standing order and not beholden to the ruling party.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 3:04 pm

    If I were Abu Kassim, I would quit and take no instruction from errant political masters.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 3:12 pm

    The problem with MACC ‘s image (compounded by TBH’s death) is that it seen a ‘catspaw’ of the govt/ruling party, forgiving the whales/sharks and going after only the ikan bilis, cows and cars…..

    The problem goes far beyond the new MACC chief. For example he may want to seek accountability from certain people pursuant to Lingam’s RCI’s recommendations but legislatively the MACC Act vests that discretion with the Public prosecutor of AG’s chambers. The AG himself is part of government and beholden, like MACC chief for their positions to the PM. So institutionally, constitutionally and legislative, they have to wear different hats, one supposedly independent in their work and the other accountability to PM as head of govt. And its difficult to wear different hats without feeling pressure of conflicts. Of course there is always an option to resign but who serving the system would, esp when anyone taking over will enjoy the perks and power of position without solving an iota of the corruption problem as well!

    Ultimately the will of MACC or its chief to tackle corruption is proportionate to the extent of the will of the head of govt. ie the numero ono (PM) and his poltical philosophy!

    Indonesia’s independent Corruption Eradication Commission, known as the KPK, has won some praises for its successful prosecution of several politicians and high-ranking government officials. The KPK has institutionally a greater measure of independence as it has the authority to take over cases that have stalled with the police or state prosecutor’s office; its chairman is currently selected by parliament; it has its own special Court of Corruption. The Indonesian AG (Mazurki) also has a part to play in the prosecutions. But the AG was handpicked by President Susilo Bambang. So is the case of Singapore’s chief of anti corruption agency (ICAC) and her AG – handpicked by Singapore premier.

    So the ultimate arbiter is still the top brass (President & PMs) who determines who gets appointed anti corruption chief, police chief, chief prosecutor and cheif judge, and whether he has political will to address corruption independently, which again depends on extent his own position is determinable by the party’s ethos as well as the immediate party stalwarts committed to eradicating or having vested interest in protecting corruption.

    Pressuring the anti corruption chief for more genuine efforts to improve image scratches but the surface rather than address the root of this social and economic disease. MACC sending its staff to courses like Emotional Spiritual Quotient is also scratching the surface.

    Coming back to even the Indonesia’s KPK’s case. Even here notwithstanding Susilo Bambang’s so called commitment the forces of corruption strike back (maybe payback time) as state prosecutors demand the death penalty for the former head of the national anti-graft agency, Antasari Azhar, and two other men accused of ordering the murder of wealthy businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnen.

  8. #8 by dagen on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 3:26 pm

    “I’ll kill you.” Yeah. Thats a common expression, indeed. Not that the person who utters such words always harbours an actual intent to see the death of the chap at the receiving end of the threat. It is a usual statement of anger – a way of expression. No more than that. In fact it takes a whole load more before a really annoyed/angry person takes the next step – i.e. to put words into action. So I suppose beng hock must have driven those macc clowns crazy (by not yeilding to their illegal demands) for them actually to take the final step to “kill him” (my guess alright!). Those clowns must have thought that that would surely resolve the matter for them. For a while it did, I suppose. But beng hock decided to return – to haunt them. They moved. Yes. For some peace and quiet. But didnt they realise that beng hock does not now stay put even now. He moves about too. Hey, he is a local. And he knows his way about town. In short, he will still come after you, macc clowns, and will continue to haunt you people.

  9. #9 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 4:20 pm

    old MACC-don’t-know had a farm e i e i O
    On that farm they kill witnesses e i e i o
    With a jab jab here and a poke poke there
    Here a slap, there a poke
    Everywhere blue black marks eieio

    Old MACC-donald had a farm eieio
    And on that farm they had some umno dogs eieio
    With a snoop snoop here and sniff sniff there
    Here’s nik, there’s khalid
    Go investigate- e i e i o

    Old MACC-donald had a farm eieio
    And on that farm they had some corrupted turkeys eieio
    With a gobble gobble money here and gobble money there
    Here masuk there makan
    Everywhere a sham eieio

    Old MACC-donald had a farm eieio
    And on that farm they persecute PR cows eieio
    With a cow cow here and cars cars there
    Here’s the cake, there’s guan eng
    Everywhere a wayang kulit EIEIO

  10. #10 by Syeikhs85 on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 9:00 pm

    Congratulation and salute to the new MACC Chief Commissioner, Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed for his frankness in admitting that the mysterious death of DAP aide TBH at the MACC Office at Shah Alam had caused MACC’s image and credibility to fall. However, Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed is there to lead the MACC back to as an agency respectable, credible, professional and supported by all in the fight of corruption.

    When this Chief Commissioner ask for a year to restore confidence of the public on MACC. He seems frank, honest and vitalized. He seems to have a good plan to restore back public confidence. I am sure being an experienced and seasoned ‘manager’ both in the civil service and corporate, Datuk Abu Kassim is credible to succeed but only if the public at large and the media support his actions in eradicating corruption.

    Now, let’s examine why the image of MACC had taken a back seat since the year before. It’s due to one tragic incident which everyone including MACC do not like. However, MACC have to face the fact TBH is destined to end his life at the building where MACC was occupying. I don’t intend to comment or blame anyone on the demise of TBH, let the inquest decide later. Anyway, surely GOD and TBH knows the actual tragic happening of TBH’s demise. No one should make speculations but many have decided otherwise. Even the politicians has politicized the issue. MACC has no way or avenue to defend. Whatever they try to say seems falling to deaf ears of the public due to the TBH case being always highlighted in all other issues. Politicians seems will never want to end the TBH issue because they can use it for their advantage especially the PR in Selangor.

    Observation showed that MACC was blamed as being selective in corruption investigation but all walks of life failed to realize that the people in power surrounding PR too being involved in corrupt practices. This was proven when Hussein Ahmad was arrested for his involvement in corruption in the sand case. Everyone blamed the MACC to be doing selective investigation but protecting the actual culprit. Now, one of the commentator in this column trying to hold the MACC by the neck to protect Selangor MB and other PR politician in Selangor by propagandizing that MACC will make a move to arrest the former for cow and car case thus further detoriating it’s image. Rationalize, what about if the former actually have committed an offense of corruption. We must allow the MACC to bring to trial all culprits without fear or favour so as to warn all others the consequences of involvement in corrupt practices not withstanding their position and power.

    The PR supporters seems to make selective comments against the MACC as opposed to their own stand on it. When the MACC do not bring to trial any member of the BN it is blamed to be selective but when the commission move to investigate any member of PR will be blasted as playing to the instructions of certain Ministers in a plot to bring down the PR rule in the State of Selangor. If we want the commission to function as an independent, transparent and professional anti corruption agency to save the country from ‘falling to the knee’ then must allow the commission to function without any fear or favour even if one’s sibling being investigated for any form of corruption.

    Many intelectuals has potrayed the MACC being ineffective for it’s action in only investigating small (ikan bilis) and not the big (jerung) fishes but this so called intellectuals has failed to elaborate that amount of gratification in not the matter in question but the practice of corruption matters. Hence, anyone who is alleged to be involved in corruption whether being a ‘tiny’ or ‘big’ figure must be investigated and if there is sufficient evidence then must be prosecuted. MACC too must not persecute but prosecute all culprits be it cows and cars case or palace and Disneyland case. The AG who is responsible for prosecution of criminal cases including corruption must stand up to tell the public the findings of all corruption investigations cases scrutinized by the chambers. It’s not professional for the AG to be numb and watch the MACC being blasted or blamed for not their wrong doings but for the failure of the AG’s Chambers professional action.

    I sincerely think Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed should move forward in eradicating corruption not fall out to the demands of certain quarters to resign from the helm. Corruption must be brought down and eradicated. Vote only for individuals with high integrity, accountability and transparency in ‘managing’ the country or any state for the matter. Evacuate those individuals in position who are corrupt. Love the nation, make it a warm place to live not only for us but the future generation.

  11. #11 by storm62 on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 9:54 pm

    from what i gather from the ex-prison wardens, i think “Botak Chin” is more respected than this MACC of Malaysia…even though he is dead long time ago.

    so, MACC is nothing even compared to the dead.

  12. #12 by johnnypok on Wednesday, 3 February 2010 - 5:31 am

    MACC is eroding like a dead fish, and will have to be discarded before the deadly virus infects and destroy the whole nation. There is no cure for bad gene. It takes many generations plus good education, to produce good genes.

  13. #13 by monsterball on Wednesday, 3 February 2010 - 7:52 am

    New MACC chief can do his best…to redeem MACC image ad reputation…but the killing of Tan Beng Hock…cannot be allowed to be forgotten or be satisfied with scapegoats….taking the Mongolian model murder case.
    It is time…the real killers must be charged…and that is impossible for MACC new chief to do…unless he is totally sincere..and brave.

  14. #14 by Chai Lee Khoo on Wednesday, 3 February 2010 - 9:28 am

    I had gone thru the Sin Chew Daily article thoroughly. There are lengthy of policies and strategies introduced by Abu Kassim to gain back public’s confidence and support against MACC. He does have brilliant ideas and strategies to achieve the so-called aspiration by the end of 2010. I feel that he could make a difference in the ways of fighting corruption in this country. We should give him our support in order to encourage him to act without fear or favour. I pity Abu because he was appointed as a chief commissioner during a tough and difficult time.

    Rationally, I think whatever anger or dissatisfaction transpired against the MACC should be soothed. It is a time for us to go forward with a new mind-set and consideration. In fact, whatever accusation and criticism that we make against the MACC, at the end of the day the public would certainly go to the MACC as a last resort to get helps. There are 1,800 MACC personnel like us that eager to work and contribute to the society. We should encourage and support them to work harder so that our life would be more prosperous.

    We do agree that TBH’s death destroys the image and reputation of the MACC. This incident would certainly not only create the negative perception but also blaze the anger amongst the society. What had happened was already happened. We feel sad and sympathy to TBH family. The Government had also taken necessary action by setting up the inquest. Let the process run smoothly and independently.

  15. #15 by Jamal Malik on Wednesday, 3 February 2010 - 1:53 pm

    Syeikhs85 on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 – 9:00 pm –
    Very simple for MACC to gain credibility.
    Ask Khir Toyo to explain how he managed to get so much money to build a huge mansion ? Appoint an external and independent party to work side by side and oversee investigative work carried by out MACC.

    Sorry – MACC just cannot be trusted to work alone. Too much excess baggage with UMNO leaning over its shoulder.

  16. #16 by alwaysfair on Wednesday, 3 February 2010 - 11:10 pm

    Dear Uncle Lim,

    I just cannot understand how the chinese can stay in Barisan Neraka after what happened to TBH. Are they not afraid what will be the future for their children? Don’t they want to rebel against tyranny and injustice? You are right to call them the living dead because they have ceased to function as any decent human being. They have sold their birthrights for some temporary benefits.

    By the way anyone who doesn’t toe the line will be cast-away and anyone who fight them will be treated like Anwar so this one will be no different. Too few like RPK and Anwar that is why the power crazy are going beserk and out of control.

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