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Luping’s RCI appointment comes under fire

 | August 13, 2012

The former state attorney-general was involved in a highly publicised corruption case in the 1980s, says Bersih Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: Former state attorney-general Herman Luping’s appointment to the Royal Commision of Inquiry (RCI) panel to look into Sabah’s illegal immigrant issue has come under fire from Bersih Sabah.

While lauding Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s announcement of the RCI, they said Luping’s credibility was questionable as he was involved in a highly publicised corruption case in the 1980s.

According to Bersih Sabah spokesman Andrew Ambrose, Luping was once accused of soliciting RM1 million from timber tycoon Victor Wong Chet Sing.

“While we welcome Najib’s announcement, we believe that the government is not sincere with appointments of panel members of the highest integrity.

“Luping was involved in a highly publicised corruption case in the 1980s during which he was accused of soliciting RM1 million from Wong on April 25, 1985.

“He was the state attorney-general at the time and a legal adviser of a political party.

“We find him not clean and of low intergrity. We demand that Luping be disqualified and immediately removed as a panel member,” Ambrose said, adding that appointing Luping was a blow to the government’s sincerity on the RCI.

Bersih, he said, also wanted to see a re-drafting of the terms of reference with immediate effect.

Najib recently announced that the RCI would be given six months to investigate Sabah’s illegal immigrant issue, a matter that has plagued the state for more than a decade

The RCI, Najib reportedly said, would look into whether the MyKads were lawfully given to immigrants, and if these people were added to Malaysia’s voter rolls.

Low integrity leaders

Besides Luping, others appointed to the panel were former Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon, former Sabah state secretary KY Mustafa and Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation deputy chairman, Henry Chin Poy Wu.

Said Ambrose: “Sabahans have been fooled for far too long by leaders of low integrity.

“It’s time the government came up with real solutions to keep the promises they have made to the people in the name of justice and fairness.

“Sabahans should not settle for less in the RCI terms of reference and therefore must exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of expression,” he said.

Bersih Sabah also wants more points incorporated into the terms of reference, including:

  • allowing amnesty and protection for witness who testify in court;
  • all culprits must be charged in court and made punishable by law; and
  • inclusion of international and impartial observers to the RCI to ensure better transparency because RCI involves investigations of foreigners granted citizenship.

“Bersih Sabah also urges the government to conduct a referendum to find out whether Sabahans are happy with the findings and conclusions of the RCI,” said Ambrose.

Meanwhile, another human rights group, Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), has also asked for a re-drafting of the terms of reference.

Proham said the current RCI’s terms did not not empower the commission to identify those responsible for the problems in the first place.

It also noted that the terms did not include making recommendations about what needed to be done with illegal immigrants who became Malaysian citizens even though they did not qualify as such.


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