ACA: deal with corruption cases without political fear or favour

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary and Parliamentary Candidate for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Ulu Yam Bahru, Ulu Selangor Parliamentary Constituency, on 19th April 1969 at 10p.m.:

DAP wants the present toothless Anti-Corruption Agency to be given untrammeled powers to deal with corruption cases without political fear or favour

The Anti-Corruption Agency was set up by the Alliance Government in anticipation of the general elections campaign of opposition in Malaysian public life.

However, the ACA is a toothless organization without real powers to deal with corruption cases involving high Alliance leaders. The DAP wants the Anti-Corruption Agency to have untrammeled powers to deal with every corruption case, without political fear or favour.

The Anti-Corruption Agency should be an independent department, and not part of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It should only be answerable to Parliament, so that no politician or Minister could exert pressure or influence over it, like the Audit Department for instance, which is answerable only to Parliament.

Unless the Alliance government arms the Anti-Corruption Agency with genuine powers, no one will believe that the Alliance government is sincere in wanting to stamp out corruption.

We have always read of ‘ikan bilis’ being fried in court for taking 20 cents or $2 bribes, but we have still to see the big sharks, the big-time operators, who deal with tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in corrupt deals, being caught and convicted.

My personal contact with the Anti-Corruption Agency has not helped to allay my misgivings that the Anti-Corruption Agency is toothless and just an Alliance propaganda stunt.

Last month, I asked the Director of Anti-Corruption Agency, Inche Harun bin Hashim, to investigate as to whether Mr. Khaw Kai Boh was for three years, from 1963 – 1965, serving both as a director of a private firm, Metalex (M) Co., while he was at the same time a Minister of His Majesty’s Government. I also announced that my information was based on the Registry of Company Records.

Within an hour of my press conference calling for such an investigation, Inche Harun bin Hashim announced that my accusation was ‘unfounded’, although neither he nor his Agency did the most elementary thing: to check the Registry of Company Records.

The second case involved my call for an inquiry into the reservation from open balloting of 15 hawker pitches at Jalan Petaling in Kuala Lumpur during the Chinese New Year Season. It is believed that those 15 best hawker pitches were sold at prices ranging from $500 to $600, which means someone might have raked in a handsome profit of about $10,000.
The Anti-Corruption Agency this time took about one month to complete its investigations, but found that there was no corruption involved, although the Agency admitted that the 15 hawker pitches were reserved from open balloting. The Agency also claimed that this practice of reservation of hawker sites was going on for about 18 years.

Does it mean that a corrupt practice, just because it had been in practice for 18 years, cease to be a corrupt practice? And what is there to stop the authorities concerned from increasing the number of hawker pitches to be reserved from 15 to 50?

Again, in this case, the ACA’s investigations were very slip-shod and unsatisfactory. The only explanation is that MCA leaders were involved in the allocation and reservation of hawker sites, including Mr. Lew Sip Hon, the Parliamentary Candidate for Bungsar for Alliance.

The Anti-Corruption Agency now claims that it has started investigations into my latest complaint: that $10,000 grant to Pay Nam Chinese Primary School in Pantai Belimbing, Malacca, which was announced in the press on March 2, 1964 (before the 1964 general elections) as having been given out to the school by Tun Tan Siew Sin, had not been actually given out. What has happened to the $10,000? Has someone pocketed it?

I hope the ACA can redeem its image this time, in the handling of investigations into this complaint, and prove that it is capable of instituting thorough and independent investigations, without Ministerial and Alliance pressure and influence.