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Abdullah should present a White Paper giving a full report exonerating Johari Baharum, Musa Hassan and Zulkifli Mat Noor from corruption and abuses of power as the first step of the government’s national integrity policy of “zero tolerance for corruption”

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should present a White Paper giving a full report exonerating the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Seri Johari Baharum, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor as the first step of the government’s national integrity policy of “zero tolerance for corruption”. 

Although Abdullah expressed relief on Saturday that both Musa and Zulkipli had been cleared of corruption by the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, he also made two remarks which were not in keeping with his pledge to lead a clean, incorruptible, open, accountable and transparent administration, viz: 

  • That these corruption allegations should  no longer be debated following the closure of investigations by the Attorney-General;

  • His retort when pressed for details of the investigation reports: “Don’t ask me about the contents of the investigations. That is not my job.”

As Prime Minister, Abdullah should realize that the final responsibility of a clean and incorruptible administration rests with him and not with the Attorney-General, and he has the duty and responsibility to satisfy himself about the integrity and incorruptibility of Musa and Zulkipli in view of the critically important posts they were entrusted with. 

Gani has ordered the ACA to close their investigations into Musa and Zulkipli. Was this at Gani’s own behest or was it on the directive of the Prime Minister, who would have been informed beforehand that the Attorney-General would be publicly clearing Musa and Zulkipli of corruption. 

If the latter why, and if the former, has Abdullah asked the Attorney-General why he had abused his powers in issuing such an order. 

As Attorney-General, Gani has the absolute discretionary power “to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah Court, a native court or a court-martial”. 

Where does Gani derive the power to order the ACA to stop corruption investigations? 

The Attorney-General is vested by the constitution with the discretionary power to decide that based on existing corruption investigations, there is no or insufficient evidence for him to institute criminal proceedings against Musa and Zulkipli but how could he direct the ACA to close their investigations and disregard any relevant evidence subsequently uncovered?  

This presupposes that the investigations into Musa and Zulkipli had been thorough, professional and comprehensive. 

Whistleblower and former Sabah ACA director Ramli Abdul Manan, who had lodged the corruption reports against Zulkipli, had made a most pertinent criticism when he described the Attorney-General of acting more like Zulkipli’s defence counsel than a public prosecutor and asked why the Attorney-General had not invoked Section 32 of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 to demand information about the assets of Zulkipli and his next of kin. 

Ramli also made the very important point that he was not recalled to counter check on the information on the assets of Zulkipli. 

Ramli had earlier said Gani should not make the decision about investigations into Zulkipli as “they had been close friends while serving in Sabah”. Was this why Gani also dismissed the 25 allegations of corruption against the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman, made by Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, one of which implicated Zulkipli? 

Did Gani as Public Prosecutor invoke Section 32 of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 to investigate into the assets of Musa and his next of kin? If not, how can Gani satisfy himself that there had been a full and professional probe? 

Furthermore, what is the outcome of investigations on the corruption allegations implicating Musa and top police officers with organised crime? 

The announcement of “All-Clean Verdict” (New Straits Times front-page headline) for Musa and Zulkipli since Friday should have given a great boost to the image of integrity and incorruptibility not only of the police force, the ACA but the entire administration. 

Unfortunately, the reverse has taken place, with more questions asked whether there is a “cover up” because of the lack of transparency about the corruption investigations. 

This is why Abdullah should present a White Paper giving a full report on the exoneration not only on Musa and Zulkipli, but also Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Johari Baharum who had been investigated in connection with RM5.5 million allegations, to convince Malaysians that these three investigations were fully independent, credible and professional and should be accepted as evidence of the administration’s commitment to a zero tolerance for corruption and not the reverse.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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