Call on MACC to re-open investigations why 18 “high-profile” cases had escaped corruption charges after the first 100 days of the Abdullah premiership and the hundreds of other “big fishes” who have escaped in past eight years

Despite increased budget, powers, manpower and resources than its predecessor, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is a great letdown as it has failed to be even a pale shadow of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – failing to net a single “big fish” in its three-and-a-half years of operation.

The MACC continues to play politics to serve its political masters in the Barisan Nasional government, as for instance, its recent focus on re-opening old investigations into PKR leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali.

I call on the MACC to re-open investigations why 18 “high profile” cases had escaped corruption charges after the first 100 days of the Abdullah premiership in February 2004 and the hundreds of other “big fishes” who have escaped the dragnet in the past eight years.

In February 2004, Tun Abdullah Badawi had marked his first 100 days as the fourth Prime Minister with two very high-profile corruption arrests – former Perwaja Steel managing director Tan Sri Eric Chia and the then Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.

Eric Chia was arrested and charged on February 10, 2004 and Kasitah on February 12, 2004. On February 13, 2004, the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim announced in Jelebu on behalf of the Abdullah administration that at least another 18 high-profile corruption cases were with various authorities awaiting further action.

It was immediately reported at the time that several Cabinet Ministers sent word to Abdullah to “go slow” in the campaign against “high-profile” corruption.

In the event, both Eric Chia and Kasitah won acquittals in their corruption charges, but the “another 18 high-profile corruption cases” who were about to be arrested and charged with corruption just disappeared into thin air.

What happened to these 18 “high-profile” corruption cases, as the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general at the time, Datuk Zulkipli Mat Noor had confirmed in May that the ACA had submitted the results of its investigations into the 18 “high profile cases” to the Attorney-General for prosecution based on ACA findings.

If MACC and the various MACC supervisory committees like the MACC operations evaluation panel are serious about fighting corruption, especially “grand corruption” involving high-profile personalities whether in politics or government, they should give priority to re-open investigations why 18 “high-profile” cases had escaped corruption charges after the first 100 days of the Abdullah premiership and the hundreds of other “ big fishes” who have escaped the dragnet in past eight years.

Recently, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and the head of the government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) Datuk Seri Idris Jala admitted that it was toughest to battle public perception of corruption in the country.

Idris cannot be more wrong. It is not a question of perception but a fact – that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s campaign to eradicate corruption is one of his biggest failures, particularly the campaign to fight “grand corruption” involving high-profile personalities in politics and government.

There has not been a single “high profile” corruption arrest since the formation of the MACC in January 2009, although there had been many “high-profile” victims of MACC like the tragic cases of Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbaini. Beng Hock’s third death anniversary will be in a month’s time.

This is why Malaysia is losing out in the battle against corruption, not only when compared to the two previous Prime Ministers Tun Abdullah and Tun Mahathir in the past 17 years as reflected by Malaysia’s worst Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking of No. 60 and lowest-ever CPI score of 4.3 for the year 2011, but also when compared to anti-corruption efforts in other countries in Asia and the region, whether China, Indonesia or even the Philippines.

  1. #1 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 15 June 2012 - 5:32 pm

    And dont forget to ask Mr Clean aka sleepyhead how lynas managed to land on our shore.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Friday, 15 June 2012 - 6:13 pm

    It is a well known fact that the MACC is an institution expert at protecting high-profile figures who have committed corruption.

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Friday, 15 June 2012 - 11:56 pm

    GOD aka Gani Patail said ‘No, NFA’. And they all lived happily ever after.

    p/s are the Tun and Tun in the 18 ?

  4. #4 by bennylohstocks on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 1:17 am

  5. #5 by k1980 on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 8:12 am

    Election Mystery in Malaysia
    Written by Our Correspondent (Asia Sentinel)
    FRIDAY, 15 JUNE 2012

    Let the fun begin!
    Polls keep receding into the future, with analysts talking about hung parliament

    There is growing speculation in Kuala Lumpur that the country might have to deal with a so-called hung parliament, in which no major party has an absolute majority of seats, following national elections expected to be called before the end of the year.

    That would be a drastic comedown from the decades prior to 2008, when the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition broke the Barisan Nasional’s two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time since the country’s independence in 1963, and it would open the parliament to chaos. Intensive horse-trading would take place, in which both sides would resort to pouring money to secure the loyalty of the minority parties and lure members away from the other party, reminiscent of what followed the 2008 opposition victory in Perak state, after which Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak induced three opposition lawmakers to change sides and took the state away from the opposition.

    Currently the Barisan controls 137 seats, the Pakatan Rakyat 75, and two minor parties, Parti Sosialis Malaysia and the Sabah Progressive Party holding two. There are seven independent members.

    When the election will be held remains open to question, with the date continuing to recede since speculation started last year. The polls had been rumored for June, then July. That seems unlikely as Parliament remains in session until the end of this month, although it could be adjourned if the Prime Minister decides to do so.

    But Puasa, the Malaysian version of Ramadan, begins July 20 and runs through Aug. 19 and is followed by the hajj, when devout Muslims visit Mecca, and other religious events. Some analysts believe the polls could be in September, although the budget is to be presented to the parliament on Sept. 28 and it is widely believed Najib will hold up the dissolution of parliament until after he announces a budget that would deliver benefits to the electorate. In the 2012 budget, Najib poured out a cornucopia of goodies, including salary increases for the country’s 1.3 million civil servants – mostly ethnic Malays, UMNO”s core constituency as well as a RM500 (US$162) one-off cash benefit for households earning less than RM3000 (US$974) per month – also aimed at poor, rural Malays and Indians, totalling RM1.8 billion (US$583 million).

    Nonetheless, “The feedback they get is bad,” said a source with ties to the government in Kuala Lumpur. “Special Branch, Umno, the Information Ministry, military intelligence – all show slim majorities. So they are worried.”

    In a May report written in conjunction with the Centre for Strategic Engagement JP Morgan Chase called the election the country’s key market risk, with a market rally if the Barisan retains or improves on its current 137 parliamentary seats. If the Barisan were to win fewer than 122 seats or if Pakatan Rakyat were to pull off a victory, the outcome would be negative.

    The implications are worrisome to the business community and investment. One of the casualties, at least in the short term, appears to be the long-stalled Lynas Advanced Materials Plant rare earth processing facility in Gebing in Kuantan State, which is increasingly frustrating the Australia-based parent company Lynas Corp Ltd. However, the plant has become an emotive issue, with some voters saying they are worried that radioactive waste from the plant could contaminate the environment. The opposition, particularly the Democratic Action Party, has had a field day with the issue, holding rallies all across the country to publicize it. Lynas is suing the Save Malaysia Stop Lynas organization and several media organizations for defamation over what the company terms false and misleading statements.

    Lynas is now awaiting approval of the processing plant by a Parliamentary Select Committee to be headed by the Higher Education Minister which is due to meet next week. The decision is almost certainly out of the hands of anybody but the prime minister, however.

    On Friday, the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Maximus Ongkili, rejected an appeal by a a local group against the plant’s temporary operating license, but imposed two new restrictions on the company, ordering it to formulate plan to immobilize radioactive elements in the plant’s waste and to come up with a response plan on dust control.

    The company said it expects to process up to 22,000 metric tons of rare earths annually, roughly 20 percent of the world market. Its biggest customer is expected to Japan.

    So far, according to a Sydney-based spokesman for Lynas, the company has sunk between A$600 million and A$800 million into the Lynas Advance Materials Plant and employs 400 Malaysians with nothing to do but wait for the shipment of ore to be processed from the company’s mine operations in Mount Weld in western Australia. An UMNO source said the company is bleeding vast amounts of money into the operation, which has been underway for years. Malaysia was so eager for the investment that it granted a 12-year tax holiday.

    “If you think about it in the context of the first approval in 2008, since then it has been through a number of checks, independent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the temporary operating license was awarded at the beginning of this year. Lynas has passed every test. It has been one excuse after another. It is justifiable that we are getting a little impatient,” the spokesman said. “Lynas has spent a significant amount of money, we are very committed to Malaysia but we can’t do anything without the license. It is ready to go, Lynas’s point of view is that we have invested in invested in good faith, we have been through everything that needs to be done.”

    “There is nervousness on all sides,” said the head of a think tank in Kuala Lumpur. “What’s interesting is that lots of other parties are starting to come out, clans, associations, trying to scramble because they see the lack of Chinese leadership in the (ruling coalition) Malaysian Chinese Association. There has been talk of a hung parliament.”

    A win by the Pakatan Rakyat, led by Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, would at best lead to policy changes and breed uncertainty for at least nine to 12 months, JP Morgan believes, advising investors to sell and saying the policy impact would be felt across industries such as utilities, construction, gaming and transportation.

    However, sources say in Kuala Lumpur, Parti Keadilan is riven with factions and disorganized, with Anwar constantly harried by lawsuits and various attacks on the part of UMNO figures. He has most recently been accused by a former Bank Negara official who charged Anwar had maintained 20 master accounts totaling RM3 billion in 1999. Anwar has denied the allegations.

    One of the most worrisome concerns is the increasing polarization of the races. The latest Merdeka poll showed a slight decline in approval for Najib, down from 69 percent to 65 percent. The poll was taken after the latest Bersih electoral reform rally. But while his personal popularity remains relatively high, there are some very worrisome features to the poll. Some 74 percent of Malays approve of Najib’s performance, but only 35 percent of Chinese and 14 percent of Indians. Only 48 percent are happy with the government, with 42 percent either dissatisfied or outright angry. Only 17 percent of Chinese are positive towards the government, while the percentage of ethnic Malays approving has risen from 64 percent to 67 percent.

    The opposition’s record in running the four states it captured in the 2008 election has been described as spotty, with Lim Guan Eng, the chief minister in Penang, given high marks. The record of the administration in Selangor, the biggest prize for the Pakatan Rakyat, is spotty at best. The two states controlled by PAS have benefitted from the fact that have benefited from the fact that PAS has had experience governing after previous elections.

  6. #6 by negarawan on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 8:40 am

    How can MACC be effective when MACC itself reports to UMNO and is corrupted? Under UMNO, MACC is rendered completely useless and is merely a political tool used by UMNO to persecute opposition parties.

  7. #7 by gofortruth on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 8:46 am

    MACC has confirmed itself to be a tool for BN. Just promise the voters to shut this bloody useless department down and start a truly independent & effective corruption busting department when Pakatan is in charge.


  8. #8 by undertaker888 on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 9:18 am

    Macc is using selective fishing nets to catch their fishes. Those fishes like TUN-a, and their own kind MACC-kerel usually will slip thru the nets.

    But fishes like Soon Hock and Sardines will fly off thru the windows.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 9:29 am

    18? IF we get just one good one of similar class as NFC, it would already be enough to bring down UMNO-Perkasa/BN..

    I say it would be better to look into Defense contracts that are on-going – just get one out of the many and PR would win Putrajaya slam dunk..We already know we are heading the way of Greece given the budget situation – we can already guarantee higher taxes and pay more for services very quickly after GE – i.e., voting BN really is voting Barang Naik this time…

  10. #10 by Taxidriver on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 10:05 am

    Bro Lim, please don’t compare HK with Bolehland. One is apple and the other is orange. They have different laws. Bolehland Laws emphasize more on democratic principles and humanity. To ensure that corrupt leaders do not end up like Gaddaffi or Mubarak, the UMNO B ship is a safe haven for them: a place where they can run to and enjoy immunity. We cannot blame the MACC. If it really goes after the big fish, the history of Bolehland could have been different today. And, without a doubt, not even one cabinet minister will be sitting in Putrajaya. Former PMs and CMs would have become non -Malays and non-Malaysians but instead, Keralan, Indon, Bugis, Pakistani, Arab, Syrian, Kuwaiti, Afghan, Tunisian…………

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 10:53 am

    Challenging MCC why no attention to 18 high profile cases may help score political brownie points against an incumbent govt that hypocritically touts its commitment to fight corruption – but this is nowhere near to fixing an endemic problem. Here the social cancer is endemic and institutionalized, a thing of mindset helped by feudal culture where the 18 high profile cases are but a tip of an iceberg! Basically corruption stems from human weakness for unfair gain. The way in politics to address it is to leverage on the other human weakness of envy – tell the masses how the people they voted in and the bureaucracy under them swindle the people hard earned tax monies. Then leverage again on incumbent’s desire to stay in power by counterbalancing that against the threat of making them lose power by losing votes when sufficient number of people know of the political elites’ abuse of power and corruption to boot them out by the electoral process (if not more radical ways).

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 11:10 am

    Continuing from preceding post under moderation: the way (which is necessarily slow and take eons to happen) is to change our people’s collective mindset to make them abhor corruption. For that to happen the education must be good, but here we’re still struggling with whether to have more English. The other is to make them respect the rights of others whether individual or the wider group/society they are part of. This again is difficult because we have constitutionally sanctioned ethnocentric policies of one race being favoured over the rest that constructs a mindset of one group being more entitled than the other and therefore one group being more entitled to collect rent whilst the others work without respect for principle meritocracy….So this becomes a problem because corruption cannot be addressed just at macro level by MACC, law process etc – where at higher level there is no political will but plenty of lip service to address this problem- when at micro level the mindset of the average citizen is predisposed to this precept of unfair gain whether as an entitlement or as a clever response to an opportunity whenever it presents itself to take it!

  13. #13 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 11:11 am

    The problem of corruption here then is self feeding and perpetuating – the moment people think this problem cannot be fixed they will adapt to it on principle that if one can’t beat them one joins them! It is ironical that the antipathy against corruption is just about the only main unifying theme that could unite a people divided by race religion creed different levels of opportunities etc. We’re still after 50 years of independence struggling to be a united nation – unite the nation first by taking away the divisive elements that divide us before thinking of fighting corruption (a universal phenomenon varying only in degree of pervasiveness), much more using the common antipathy and abhorrence against corruption as just about the only uniting factor.

  14. #14 by Loh on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 6:55 pm

    New corrupt cases are being created everyday and said to be legal just because the PM announced it. Why is Penang port privatized? Is it because Penang port is running at a loss due to mismanagement? If it is the management staff that matters, why does not the government choose the right people to do the job? Is it because it is not economical to run the port; of so how can the private sector overcome it? If running the the port has to be privatized, why is it that only one private person got it through negotiation?

    Penang state government offered to run the Penang port but the request was rejected. Najib preferred to award Penang port to Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary rather than to Penang so that the profit from the port accrues to one person rather than the residents of Penang. Thus Najib chose to make one person very rich. When there was no competitor the award could be biased against the government, and Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary can possibly give kick-backs in due course. The smell of corruption is strong.

    Najib announced that is also selling GLCs to qualified Malays. Why should money that are guaranteed earnings of GLCs be transferred to private persons? Najib claims that it would increase the share Malays ownership in equity capital. If that is legal then he can have a more convenient approach. He can use Petronas funds to buy stocks and distribute them to Malays, or his relatives.

  15. #15 by monsterball on Saturday, 16 June 2012 - 9:17 pm

    Najib is saying Anwar is the biggest liar bragging will take over PutraJaya in Sept 2008.
    Najib cannot differentiate a liar and one that simply trust dirty politicians too much.
    Since then….Anwar have grown to be wiser….and yet Najib used that grandfather story to label Anwar…a liar.
    He never say the 30 politicians were sent to Taiwan for a holiday….and one by one bought back by him.

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