By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday , January 20th, 1994:
Mahathir should clarity and apologise for his remark on me over television news yesterday as I had never been charged and convicted for corruption
The Prime Minister , Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mahamed , should clarity and apologise for his remark on me over television news yesterday , as I had never been charged and convicted for corruption.
Dr. Mahathir made reference to me when he elaborated on his statement the day before that the Kota Kinabalu High Court decision on the Sabah Chief Minister , Datuk Seri Jospeh Pairin Kitingan was probably a message meant to be conveyed to the Fedaral Government and that the Federal Government would have to study it in order to understand what was the message being conveyed.
He told the press yesterday that the Government would have to consider whether it should charge leaders of the opposition for corruption in future in view of the RM1800 fine imposed on Pairin by the Kota Kinabalu Hih Court after he was found guilty of corruption in abusing his position as Chief Minister to award a shophouse project worth RM 1.48 million to a company belonging to his brother-in-law.
As a result of the Rm 1800 fine , Pairin has not been disqualified as assemblymen , MP and Chief Minister – as he would be if he had been fined RM 2,000.
Dr Mahathir said:” We want to know where we went wrong . Id the mistake in the formulation of the law or is it in the prosecution ? Or perhaps we should not bring a case involving a leader of an opposition party to court?”
Dr. Mahathir then mentioned that the case against Pairin was the second one better after a similar on involving me.
The Millions of Malaysian viewers watching television news last night would get the impression that I had been previously charged and convicted of corruption , and that I had escaped disqualified as Parliamentary Opposition Leader , “member: of Parliament and State Assemblyman because I was fined less than RM2000.
Dr. Mahathir owes me a public apology and clarification over television as I had never been charged or convicted i=of corruption although I had been brought to court several times , including being twice detained under the Internal Security act without trail.
Dr. Mahathir was probably referring to my conviction under the Official Secrets act in 1978 over my revelations in connection with the purchase of four Swedish –made SPICA-M fast strike crafts by the Royal Malaysian Navvy , where the Federal Court reduced the RM 15000 fines for five charges imposed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court (RM 5000 for the first charge , RM1000 on the second charge and RM 3000 for the third , forth and fifth charges) to RM 65000 ( RM 15000 for the first cgarges , RM 1000 for the second and third charges , and RM 1500 for fourth and fifth charges).
From his reference and remark yesterday , it is clear thar Dr, Mahathir is still very inhappy that I had not been disqualified as Parliamentary Opposition Leader , MP and assemblyman in 1978 over the Official Secrets Act Charges.
This was why the Official Secrets Act was subsequently amended to impose a mandatory one-year jail sentence for any offence under the Act , regardless of the gravity of triviality of the charge , and also regardless of whether the disclosure was in the public interest in order to expose corruption , criminal breac of trust or abuses of power , making the Official Secrets act the most draconian Law in the world.
Is Dr. Mahathir similarly tinkering with the idea of proposing amendments to the law to impose a mandatory one-year jail sentence for any Opposition leader charged and convicted of corruption , regardless of the nature of the offence , so that political opposition leaders could be disqualified as MP s and Assemblymen?
DAP proposes an All-Party Commission headed by Anwar Ibrahim to strengthen anti-corruption laws in the country
I welcome Dr. Mahathir ‘s announcement that the government will study various aspects of laws preventing corruption and identify possible weaknesses in the present system.
Such a study of corruption laws must be comprehensive and must be a genuine attempt to deal with all the weaknesses of the anti-corruption laws.
Dr. Mahathir should realize that the government scandal under the present anti – corruption laws is the immunity of Barisan Nasional leaders holding high political office in Federal and State Government from prosecution for corruption – despite clear evidence of corruption such as accumulation of extraordinary wealth totally disproportionate to one ‘s known sources of income.
DAP offers full co-operation to the Government in the review of the anti – corruption laws in the country , and we propose that an All-party commission should be set up to review anti – corruption laws , which should include introducing laws to elevate the Anti – corruption agency into an independent Anti – Corruption Commission answerable only to Parliament and with enhanced powers to stamp out corruption.
Such an All-party Commision to strengthen anti corruption laws can be headed by the Deputy Prime Minister , Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Dr. Mahathir can assured of full support from the country if he is prepared to lead a national campaign to declare corruption as the public enemy No1 and in particular to enact a Malaysian version of the Sunshine Law requiring all top political and government leaders to publicly declare their assets.
However , if Dr. Mahathir is only concerned at present as to how to ensure that Opposition leaders charged with corruption could be disqualified from elective office , whether as MPs and Assemblymen , then the Federal Government has got a completely distorted sense of priorties.