KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Kit Siang sprang a surprise today by speaking up for Isa Samad who is under investigation for alleged corruption.
Lim criticised the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for humiliating Isa by forcing him to wear the orange-coloured MACC lock-up uniform.
But, in the same blog post, the Gelang Patah MP questioned the logic of allowing Isa to continue as acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission or SPAD.
The DAP parliamentary leader asked Prime Minister Najib Razak why he was keeping Isa in the post despite current and previous allegations of corruption against him.
Lim said it was “wrong, improper, unconstitutional and most humiliating and demeaning” to force Isa Samad to wear the orange-coloured MACC lock-up uniform when he was brought to court for remand proceedings.
Saying this breached a detainee’s fundamental liberty under the Federal Constitution, he called on the MACC to immediately cease this practice, especially so as a member of the MACC advisory board, Mohd Noor Abdullah, a former Court of Appeal judge, had said a detainee’s fundamental liberty included being presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Lim urged Mohd Noor to act on this and halt the practice.
He also wanted to know, as the MACC was going around arresting public officers for abuse of power, whether MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad and top MACC officers would be “arrested and investigated for abuse of power in unlawfully requiring individuals arrested to facilitate graft investigations to wear orange lock-up uniforms in court in remand proceedings”.
He said it was regrettable that the MACC had taken a “stubborn and obdurate position”, insisting that it had “the right to abuse its powers” by ignoring fundamental liberties guaranteed in the constitution and challenging those who did not agree to get a clear-cut judicial pronouncement from the courts.
“It is such hubris which are behind the rampant abuses of power in the country. Can the MACC Advisory Board halt such MACC hubris and abuses of power?”
Lim then went on to say that Isa should not continue to hold the post of SPAD acting chairman.
He criticised Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri for saying Isa would stay in the post as he had yet to be charged with any crime, and in the process “rubbishing her earlier statement that an interim chairman for SPAD will be appointed following Isa’s arrest”.
“Is Nancy aware that her announcement is the biggest blow to MACC’s campaign to promote zero tolerance for corruption in all sectors of the public service?”
Lim went on to provide details of why Isa was arrested by the MACC and the probe into Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), which was headed by Isa until his resignation on June 19.
He asked if Najib had had no prior knowledge about the corruption and abuse of power in the purchase of two hotels by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC), the investment arm of Felda focusing mainly on real estate, hospitality and the oil and gas sectors.
“Was the prime minister completely in the dark and unable to check the corruption and abuses of power in the purchase of these two hotels?
But these are not the only questions about integrity as far as Isa is concerned, for Isa was suspended for six years from Umno in June 2005 after the Umno disciplinary board found him guilty of seven corruption charges of money politics.”
Lim went on to list out the charges that had been levelled against Isa by the Umno disciplinary committee, all of which were about money – up to RM1,000 per person – allegedly being given to Umno delegates to buy votes at the 2004 Umno general assembly.
Lim said: “The previous head of MACC had publicly declared that money politics is corruption and within the purview of the MACC.
As there is no statute of limitation for corruption offences, is MACC going to initiate investigations against Isa for these corruption charges in Umno?”
He noted that Isa had told the press in June that he had accepted the appointment to be SPAD acting chairman merely because Najib had wanted him there.
Lim called on Najib to confirm whether it was true that despite Isa’s past background of alleged “corruption and money politics in Umno and his recent arrest and remand by MACC for the two corruption cases involving the purchase of the hotels in London and Kuching, it is still his decision and wish that Isa should remain as SPAD acting chairman, and if so, why?”