Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Selangor DAP Anniversary Dinner held at Hokkien Huay Kuan Hall, Klang on Friday, 2nd July 1993 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls on the Prime Minister to ensure that Malaysia plays a full part in the ‘Asian uprising against corrupt politics’ by launching a nation-wide anti-corruption campaign
The collapse of the Japanese Government and the prospect of the first real change in Tokyo’s leadership in 38 years have been described as symptomatic of a broader Asian uprising against corrupt politics.
In South Korea, the first civilian president in three decades, Kim Young-sam, is waging a clean-up of awesome proportions and some 3,000 Government officials, businessman and politicians have been fired, reprimanded or jailed on bribery charges.
In Taiwan, a new “sunshine law” had just been enacted requiring all Government officials and legislators from the president downwards to reveal their personal wealth.
Demands for clean politics and the rooting out of corruption in public life have also become significant forces in Thailand and the Philippines.
It is important that Malaysia should not be left behind in this ‘Asian uprising against corrupt politics’, for corruption in public life have become very widespread and is probably most rampant in the nation’s history.
It is open secret that the Anti-Corruption Agency not have the power or authority to take action against those in high political places, and the best example is the inability of the ACA to take action whether in the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal involving the MIC President and Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, DAtuk Seri S.Samy Vellu or the excessive wealth or the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik.
In fact, there is a relaxation in the high standards set for political leaders with regard to their public integrity, and this is best illustrated by the shocking statement by the Penang Chief Minister, Dr.Koh Tsu Koon in the Penang State Assembly that the Penang State Government did not mind if accusations were made against it about abuses of power and corruption.
Although Tsu Koon made this statement in order to defend the Penang Deputy Chief Minister, Dr.Ibrahim Saad, who had been accused of being a 10 per cent Penang State Executive Councillor and conflict-of-interest in various companies in a book ‘Anwar Ibrahim-antara Nawaitu dan Pesta Boria’ by Yahaya Ismail, it represented a shocking drop in the standards of public integrity of Barisan Nasional leaders.
I had said in the Penang State Assembly that Dr.Ibrahim Saad has only two options to clear his name: either to have a Committee of Inquiry to investigate into the allegations or to take legal action against Yahaya Ismail for defamation. I also said that the Penang ChiMinister must also be concerned about the allegations against Dr.Ibrahim Saad as it affected the reputation of the State Government as well.
This is where Tsu Koon made the shocking statement that the Penang State Government did not mind if allegations of abuses of power and corruption were made against it.
Malaysia appears to be going against trend in Asia and the world to clean up politics and this unhealthy process must be reversed.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, should ensure that Malaysia plays a full part in the ‘Asian uprising against corrupt politics’ by launching a nation-wide anti-corruption campaign in Malaysia, which should comprise the following elements.
1. Requiring all politicians from the Prime Minister downwards to publicly declare their assets;
2. Enactment of an entirely new Anti-Corruption Act in the coming meeting of Parliament which begins on July 19 to give full powers for the fight against corruption;
3. Elevation of the status of Anti-Corruption Agency to take it out of the Prime Minister’s Department and make it answerable only to Parliament;
4. Establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on Corruption which should be headed by the opposition to monitor and supervise the Anti-Corruption Agency;
5. Full investigation into all government leaders who have excessive wealth, beginning with the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik.
The Prime Minister should provide the leadership to the anti-corruption campaign in Malaysia so that corruption does not become accepted as a Malaysian way of life, where come to believe that there is a price for everything.
Recently, a syndicate in Penang was arrested for offering datukships and other Penang state awards for sale. It is clear that without strong political backing, nobody could offer any state awards for sale.
The question is whether the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers from the various Barisan Nasional component parties are prepared to give full support for such an anti-corruption campaign in Malaysia, even if it means that some of their own political leaders may be removed from office or even jailed.